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Published On: Fri, Jul 10th, 2015

Chipotle responds to San Francisco minimum wage hike with higher prices

In San Francisco, where the minimum wage was recently raised, the popular Chipotle responded by raising prices, causing confusion among the supporters of the wage hike.

With beef prices souring, a rise in wages will result in either less labor being employed, lower profit margins or price increases to consumers — Chipotle chose the latter.

The American Enterprise Institute points out: that “…the company implemented price increases in half of the surveyed markets this week—San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Orlando. In most markets, the price increases have been limited to beef and average about 4% on barbacoa and steak, toward the lower end of management’s expectation for a 4% to 6% price increase on beef.”

But wait, it’s not the beef in California, it’s much worse as the report that that “San Francisco, however, saw across-the-board price increases averaging over 10%, including 10% increases on chicken, carnitas (pork), sofritas (tofu), and vegetarian entrees along with a 14% increase on steak and barbacoa. We believe the outsized San Francisco price hike was likely because of increased minimum wages (which rose by 14% from $10.74 per hour to $12.25 on May 1) as well as scheduled minimum wage increases in future years (to $13 next year, $14 in 2017, and $15 in 2018).”

Forbes has summarized a “guide to the finances of the fast food industry”: 30% goes on wages, 30% of revenues goes on ingredients and the other 40% is everything els (rent, advertising, capital costs and profits.

“So, if we by legislative fiat raise the price of one of those inputs then something, somewhere, has to give. Those profit margins are already pretty thin and so they’re not going to be where that extra cost comes from. More than that, if we reduce the returns to capital in a particular line of business then less capital will be invested in that line of business in the future. This means fewer jobs in that line of business: This is one of the ways that a rise in the minimum wage destroys jobs. Fewer will be created in the future than would have been in the absence of the rise in the minimum wage,” Forbes explains.

The Forbes writer then shoots down one argument was the wage increase supporters:

“…head off at the pass one of the more insane points that people try to make. That if the workers at Chipotle are now making more money then they’ll spend more at Chipotle, and the company’s profits will rise! This doesn’t even pass the basic math test, let alone any economic one. For note above the split in revenues. About 30% of revenue is spent upon labor. The other 70% is spent upon other things, including that 30% or so on food ingredients. So, if Chipotle raises wages by $100 (just as an example) and all of those wages are then spent in the same store, it is impossible for profits to rise. Think about it for a moment: the wage bill has just gone up by $100. Revenues have just gone up by $100. But the food bill has also gone up by $30. So, the increase in costs is $130 (even in the very best, best, case) while revenues have gone up by $100. This is known to the cognoscenti as a loss, not an increase in profit.”

photo TaxRebate.org.uk

photo TaxRebate.org.uk

 

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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