Pizza Hut restaurants in California could lay off thousands as minimum wage law goes into effect

Chipotle and McDonald's have also addressed changes in operating costs.

December 28, 2023, 4:00 PM

With the minimum wage in California increasing to $20 an hour for fast food workers in 2024, some Pizza Hut franchisees say they're preparing to eliminate jobs as well as delivery options for customers.

As first reported by ABC News Los Angeles station KABC, two major Pizza Hut franchisees with restaurants in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties are planning layoffs that would impact 1,200 workers.

PHOTO: A Pizza Hut store is seen on Nov. 1, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
A Pizza Hut store is seen on Nov. 1, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images, FILE

The mass layoffs would also reportedly impact another 800 workers at Pizza Hut locations in Sacramento, Central California, Southern Oregon, and the Reno-Tahoe area, according to KABC.

The cuts would eliminate the franchisees' delivery services for customers in those locations, they said. Customers will instead have to rely on services like Uber Eats or DoorDash.

"Pizza Hut is aware of the recent changes to delivery services at certain franchise restaurants in California," a company spokesperson said Thursday. "Our franchisees independently own and operate their restaurants in accordance with local market dynamics and comply with all federal, state, and local regulations, while continuing to provide quality service and food to our customers via carryout and delivery."

The chain, which is owned by Yum! Brands, said access to delivery would continue to be available via the Pizza Hut mobile app, website and phone ordering.

Other fast food companies including KFC and Taco Bell did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

PHOTO: In this June 29, 2018 file photo, a Pizza Hut delivery driver is seen in Shreveport, La.
In this June 29, 2018 file photo, a Pizza Hut delivery driver is seen in Shreveport, La.
Shannon O'hara/Getty Images for Pizza Hut, FILE

The wage legislation, AB 1228, which was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in late September, is the catalyst for this decision by operators, the franchisees say.

The new law goes into effect in April and will boost minimum wage to $20 per hour for fast food workers, $4 more than the state minimum wage of $16 that will be effective Jan. 1.

Other fast food companies, including McDonald's and Chipotle, previously said the new law would impact the respective chains' operating costs and could potentially change menu pricing for customers.

Although a decision has not been made official, Chipotle CEO Jack Hartung said on a November earnings call that the pricing at the popular fast-casual Mexican restaurant would have to change "to take care of the dollar cost" and cover the new margins.

"We are definitely going to pass this on. We just haven't made a final decision as to what level yet," he said.

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