United States

California’s Minimum Wage Forces 55 Years Old Arby’s Roast Beef Shutdown In Hollywood

Arby's Roast Beef in Hollywood, California, has closed due to the state's $20-an-hour minimum wage law. The closure is the latest in a series of restaurant shutdowns.

Arby's Roast Beef drive thru Photo: X

A family-owned Arby's Roast Beef on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, a staple for 55 years, has closed its doors. The closure is a result of California’s recently enacted $20-an-hour minimum wage law as the final "nail in the coffin."

The restaurant's iconic cowboy hat sign read, “Farewell Hollywood. TY for 55 great years.”

Located near Bronson Avenue, the restaurant officially closed on Saturday.

“With inflation, food costs have gone way up, and the $20-an-hour minimum wage has been the nail in the coffin,” Gary Husch, general manager of the Arby's location, told the Los Angeles Times. Husch is the son-in-law of 91-year-old Marilyn Leviton, who opened the Arby's franchise at 5920 Sunset Boulevard in January 1969.

On Friday, Arby's workers arriving for their shift were informed that they were being let go. A handwritten sign in the window reads “Permanently Closed,” and plywood has been used to board up the restaurant.

“I’m awfully sorry that it came to this. I think we did a good job for 55 years,” Leviton told KTLA-TV.

The closure of this Arby's is the latest in a series of restaurant shutdowns following the state's minimum wage increase for fast food workers from $16 to $20 an hour. Earlier this month, famous taco chain Rubio’s Coastal Grill closed dozens of locations across California, citing the rising cost of doing business in the state, and subsequently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Fosters Freeze also shuttered a location near Fresno due to the inability to afford the higher wages.

Leviton's Arby's had been struggling in recent years. “I think it was the pandemic that did us in,” she said. “I really feel we would have closed during the pandemic if it weren’t for the federal loans.” Husch added, “A lot of the offices around this area are empty now, and we’re just not getting the same foot traffic we did before.”

Since the wage law took effect, visits to chains such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King have decreased, according to analytics firm Placer.ai. Many popular chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Chipotle, and Starbucks, have had to hike menu prices, some by as much as 8%.

The new law also mandates a steep 25% pay raise for managers at fast food restaurants, increasing the minimum annual salary from $66,560 to $83,200. At Raising Cane’s, general managers can now see their annual pay reach $174,000 through bonuses based on their location’s sales and profit.