Celebrity chef Robert Irvine apparently doesn’t have an optimistic outlook on the new minimum wage law in California. According to Irvine, the problem will have a negative impact in many other states besides California alone.

At Least 20% Loss Of Businesses

Robert Irvine discussed the minimum wage law that was enforced in California during a recent interview with Fox News Digital. He is making the prediction that “we’re going to lose about 20-plus percent of our small, mom-and-pop business” as a result of the new legislation.

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He also believes that the overall impact of the new law will extend far beyond the California state line. Irvine indicated that “what California has actually done is going to enable other states to do the same thing.”

77% Increase In Service Requests

The ripple effect has already manifested in various ways. However, those within the food and beverage industry are acutely aware of the changes.

Source: Facebook/GRUBBRR

For example, the restaurant tech outfitter GRUBBRR has apparently experienced a 77% increase in service requests since the statewide minimum wage hike was enacted earlier this month.

Problems Across The Country 

Irvine voiced his beliefs that the negative impact of the new law “is a broadband-spectrum problem that’s across the country, not just California.”  In his statement he is suggesting that other states could follow California’s lead.

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This could essentially open the floodgates that could lead to similar economic pressures throughout the United States, according to Irvine.  The “Restaurant: Impossible” host stated that the new law has “opened the gateways to other states to raise that minimum wage.”

Restaurant Upgrades 

Irvine, who is an investor in GRUBBRR, has recently been involved with the launch of the company’s “Restaurant Revamp” campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to provide digital makeovers to restaurants in need.

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According to Irvine, these technological upgrades could play a crucial role in the prevention of closures in the restaurant industry. These enhancements may also help prevent or significantly reduce the number of employees that are being laid off. 

New Minimum Wage Law 

Robert Irvine clarified his remarks by showing his support for employees that were receiving insufficient pay for all their hard work. He stated that he believes “that everybody should be able to make a livable wage,” which has “been tough.”

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However, Irvine expressed that the new law for wages “comes at a really bad time.” He went on to say that the timing is bad since “the inflation is very high” and “food costs are very high.”

Fast Food Chains Are ‘Turning To Technology’ To Offset Humans

The celebrity investor discussed how technology is playing a significant role in assisting restaurants with the hopes that it will save them from the immediate impact of the new minimum wage law. For instance, he stated that “fast food chains” are now “turning to technology to offset that human being.”

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Irvine specifically referenced Yum! Brands and McDonald’s as examples to support his point.

Out Of Business 

Irvine said, “increase of wage plus the food cost is putting small, mom-and-pop operators out of business.” He explained that this was simply “because they cannot afford $20 an hour” or even “$27 an hour in some places” as a minimum wage.

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The expense doesn’t include the money that is needed to recruit, hire, and train new employees added to the company payroll. It also does not include the funds that are invested for trying to retain the other employees.  


Reportedly, McDonald’s initiated the development of its development platform in 2016, utilizing AWS infrastructure.The company utilized cloud-based solutions to manage and transform the standard customer experience with limited human intervention.

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For example, McDonald’s started to use self-service kiosks and digital menu boards to enhance the customer experience. 

Tech-Focused Restaurants 

Robert Irvine revealed his plan to launch new tech-focused restaurants in other states. However, he emphasized that it would not take away any more jobs from the average worker in the United States.

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The technology would be used as a way to enhance the customer service instead of replacing it. 

Opportunities To Drive Efficiency

The CFO of McDonald’s, Ian Borden talked about the technological advancements and overall strategy during a past earnings call. Borden said that the company was “going to continue to invest in the areas where we think we have strategic opportunities to drive greater efficiency.”

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Borden went on to explain that a lot of work would be spearheaded by the Global Business Services organization. He added that it was currently “driving these transformation efforts in areas like HR, finance,” and technology.

Save In Labor Costs Due 

Robert Irvine went on to explain that his tech strategy would save him in labor expenses. Irvine said he would take the human employee and “to a better use somewhere else.”

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He expressed that the strategy is “not firing the person.” Instead it would shift focus to “reallocating the labor to work in a better format” for him and the business overall.

Making More Money

Irvine discussed that tech-focused strategy would give the opportunity to allow them to start “making more money” as restaurant owners. He also underscored the long-term benefits of this kind of approach.

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For instance, owners would be able to “pay more money” to their staff members. By doing so, it would “keep them happy in the jobs” that owners want them to do without “wasting their time.”

Technology Is Not Going Away

Robert Irvine strongly expressed the necessity to embrace and adapt to technology in today’s digital age – especially when it comes to restaurants and other business owners. He said “technology is not going away” and that it is “only getting better.”

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For those that are still resistant about embracing technology, he said that “you really must focus” and “figure out what your operation needs.” 

44% Of Quick-Service Restaurants Will Adopt Technology In 2024

Irvine made an estimate that 44% of quick-service restaurants throughout the nation will adopt technology by the end of 2024.

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Doing so will give these restaurants the ability to enhance the overall efficiency of their operation. In addition, Irvine believes that it will also increase profitability.