Hollywood Arby’s closed in protest of California’s $20 minimum wage

Arby’s Roast Beef, a family-owned joint that has stood on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard for 55 years, is closing its doors, citing California’s recently passed $20-an-hour minimum wage law as the final “nail in the coffin.”

The fast food joint’s iconic cowboy hat sign was captured by Fox 11’s SkyFox cameras on Tuesday, reading, “Goodbye Hollywood. Thanks for 55 great years.”

The restaurant, located near Bronson Avenue, closed on Saturday, according to local reports.

The Arby’s at 5920 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood is closing after 55 years in business. Getty Images

“With inflation, food costs have gone up a lot and a $20-an-hour minimum wage is like the nail in the coffin,” said Gary Hush, general manager of the Arby’s location, told the Los Angeles Times.

Hush is the son-in-law of Marilyn Levitan, 91, who opened the Arby’s franchise at 5920 Sunset Blvd. in January 1969, six months before the moon landing.

But on Friday, Arby’s workers who arrived for their shifts were told they were being let go.

There’s a handwritten sign on the window that says “Permanently Closed,” and plywood has been used to block off the restaurant.

“I’m very sad that it has come to this. I think we did a good job for 55 years,” Levitan told KTLA-TV,

It’s the latest restaurant to close since the state raised the minimum wage for fast food workers from $16 an hour to $20 an hour on April 1.

The owner said California’s new $20-an-hour minimum wage law is the “final nail in the coffin.” KTLA 5 News

Popular taco chain Rubio’s Coastal Grill closed dozens of stores in California earlier this month as the cost of doing business in the state rose. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a few days later.

Another fast-food chain, Foster’s Freeze, recently closed one of its stores near Fresno after the franchise owner said he was no longer able to pay workers higher wages.

Leviton’s Arby’s — which features the chain’s famous slogan “We Got the Meats” — has struggled in recent years.

“I think the pandemic devastated us,” he said.

Arby’s has seen a decrease in foot traffic since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Getty Images

“I really think we would have been closed during the pandemic [if it weren’t] for federal debt.”

“A lot of the offices around this area are now vacant, and there’s not the same traffic that there used to be,” Hush said.

Since this law came into effect, the number of visitors to shops like McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King has decreased. According to analytics firm Placer.ai.

Popular chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Chipotle and Starbucks have also had to raise menu prices, some by as much as 8%.

Friday was the last day that the Arby’s on Sunset Boulevard served customers. KTLA 5 News
Arby’s employees were told they were laid off when they showed up for work Friday. KTLA 5 News

In-N-Out Burger, one of California’s most beloved fast food chains, has raised the price of its Double-Double burger combo to $11.44 in Los Angeles County — that’s 76 cents more than last year.

The controversial new law also provides a 25% pay rise for fast food restaurant managers – raising the minimum annual salary from $66,560 to $83,200.

General managers at Raising Cane’s, a popular chicken chain in the state, can now earn annual salaries reaching up to $174,000 through bonuses based on their location’s sales and profits.


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