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A $15 minimum wage means higher menu prices at restaurant chains, including Waffle House, Potbelly, and Texas Roadhouse

A meal at Waffle House may be more expensive if minimum wage legislation passes.
Hollis Johnson

Chain CEOs say that higher minimum wages — across the US or on a state level — could mean higher menu prices. 
Kura Sushi, The Cheesecake Factory, and Texas Roadhouse have all raised menu prices in response to local minimum wage legislation. 
“Ultimately in any business, the customer pays for everything,” Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer said. “We don’t have any other source of revenue other than the customer.”
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Restaurant CEOs are admitting their businesses can handle a higher minimum wage. But, they warn, it also could mean rising menu prices. “Ultimately in any business, the customer pays for everything,” Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer told Business Insider. “We don’t have any other source of revenue other than the customer. So, we have to be careful how we treat our customers and we don’t stick it to them with giant price increases.”Read more: Waffle House reveals why it will never shut down indoor dining again unless it’s forced to, as the CEO takes a stand against lockdownsEhmer said that, as states raise minimum wages, Waffle House is prepared to deal with a $15 federal minimum wage. However, he said he hopes that a federal wage hike comes in stages, so that the chain does not have to send menu prices skyrocketing. The federal minimum wage is in the spotlight following the election of Joe Biden. Biden campaigned on the promise of a $15 minimum wage. While the divided government will make it more difficult for the president-elect to pass regulation around higher pay on a federal level, states passing their own legislation are making minimum wage an increasingly hot topic of conversation. Potbelly’s chief financial officer Steven Cirulis recently told the Wall Street Journal the sandwich chain would consider raising menu prices in the long term. Higher federal minimum wage would “certainly” impact Potbelly, Cirulis said. Raising menu prices is, at this point, a tried-and-true response to minimum wage regulation for many restaurant chains. Executives at Kura Sushi, The Cheesecake Factory, and Texas Roadhouse all said in recent calls with investors that, when states and cities raised minimum wage, the chains responded by raising menu prices. “I would say there is a short-term shock,” Texas Roadhouse CEO Wayne Taylor told investors in late October. “And then long term, there’s an adjustment, both on our side and the guest side.”Read the original article on Business Insider


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