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Dunkin’ Brands CEO takes N.Y. regulators to task over wage-hike proposal

Dunkin’ Brands CEO Nigel Travis slammed N.Y. regulators over a recommendation to increase fast-food workers’ wages to $15 an hour, a move the company said could lead to higher menu prices. 

On a call with investors Thursday to discuss Dunkin Brands’ second-quarter earnings, Travis said the company is “deeply disappointed that the government chose to skirt the legislative process by appointing a wage board, which did not even include a representative from our industry.” 

The New York wage board, which Wednesday recommended a phased-in increase of the state’s minimum wage to $15 for fast-food chains with more than 30 locations, will make its case to the state labor commissioner, Mario Musolino, after a 15-day public-comment period.

Though fast-food workers say the increase would bring them closer to a so-called “living wage,” chain restaurant operators are anxious about how increased labor costs would cut into their profits and constrain their operations, concerns that Travis echoed Thursday.

“Our franchisees and in fact other company franchisees were denied a chance to fairly express their concerns so that the state could make an informed decision on this topic,” he said. “The regulation also targets franchise businesses and does not acknowledge that just because our franchisees share a common brand, they themselves are small business people to whom every increase in business expenses can have an impact.”

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