Will $30 replace $15 as the target for minimum-wage increases?

Restaurant Rewind: A proposal to require $30 an hour for some foodservice employees is already scheduled for consideration by Los Angeles County officials next month. Is it a fluke or an omen? The past provides some clues.

Restaurateurs greeted the initial demands for a $15 minimum wage with disbelief and ridicule. Now the industry is facing proposals to set a floor of $30 an hour for some employees.

Is it déjà vu all over again? Will that level of pay become the new wage target for organized labor and politicians, the way $15 has been for years? Or is the demand for a $30 wage merely a test to see how high the pay floor can be lifted?

This week’s episode of Restaurant Rewind looks for clues in a recollection of how a $15 wage became the standard ask when increases in a minimum wage are being considered. How did a pay level more than double the federal rate become a norm?

Download the episode and join me as we retrace that course. You’ll find Restaurant Rewind wherever you usually get your podcasts.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Reaction to Wendy's dynamic pricing test reveals its risks

The Bottom Line: The burger chain mentioned last week that it would test the pricing strategy sometime next year. Consumers frustrated with prices reacted swiftly.


Why the Burgerim settlement exposes flaws in franchise oversight

The Bottom Line: The federal government allowed the chain’s founder to avoid major penalties by simply paying $1,000. What’s the point of regulation in the first place?


Why the Smashed Jack sparked record-smashing demand at Jack in the Box

Behind the Menu: The chain’s newest menu addition aims to break the mold on what a fast-food burger can be, and customers are buying in.


More from our partners