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Fast food workers in San Diego, across California see minimum wage rise to $20 per hour

State minimum wage for fast food employees -- AB 1228 -- in effect as of April 1
McDonald’s Employee Jumped Out The Drive-Thru Window To Save Choking Customer
Posted at 7:42 AM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 14:35:16-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A new minimum wage took effect Monday for fast food workers in San Diego County and across California, with employees going from making nearly $16 an hour to $20 an hour.

Gov. Newsom signed AB 1228, which was negotiated at a 25% increase with the help of the Fast Food Council, into law in September 2023.

There are over 500,000 fast workers in California, and in the San Diego area, there almost 50,000 of those employees, according to a 2022 Bureau of Labor statistics report.

Under the new law, quick-service restaurants like McDonalds and fast-casual operators like Chipotle are included.

However, if those restaurants are inside a grocery store, they're exempt. Bakeries are also exempt from the state law.

The law does not apply to food trucks because they're considered small businesses.

Jack in the Box employee Paula Silva told ABC 10News how the wage increase would potentially affect her workload by increasing her front line responsibilities. She's also heard the potential of no longer earning overtime.

Silva said she's grateful for the pay increase, but she's not sure if she'll feel a difference with inflation.

"I don't think it's going to be extra money because things are going up," Silva said. "The groceries are going up; the rent is going up."

ABC 10news reached out to a number of fast food chains in California for comment.

Representatives for both Chipotle and Jack in the Box stated that with the pay wage increase they will need to slightly increase the prices for some of their menu items.

So how do the customer's feel about the potential of their go-to menu items costs going up?

Rinaldo Roque, a McDonald's customer, said he has friends who works at McDonald's and he knows they're struggling with money.

Roque said he thinks the price increases, with the fast food employee's minimum wage increasing, is reasonable.

"Well it goes high, but not too bad," Roque said. "Maybe a dollar or 50-cents, that's no problem."

Gilbert Ray is another McDonald's customer and said he frequents it every day for his coffee and breakfast. Ray goes for the '2 for 1' deals, but said he's still noticing the prices are already going up.

"We're going to have to change a little bit of what we eat," Ray said. "We're on a fixed income. McDonald's on Paradise Valley Rd's 'Senior' decaf coffee costs a dollar. The Mcdonalds in National City $1.59 and their apple pie it's a $1.99. It's $2.19 in the others."

Visit for a breakdown of the new fast food minimum wage law.