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Los Angeles Big Macs still cheaper than Nebraska’s after $20 minimum wage

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Kenneth Schrupp

(The Center Square) - As California’s $20 per hour fast food minimum wage entered effect  April 1, a Big Mac in West Los Angeles is still cheaper for now than in Nebraska, where corn fields wave just steps away and the minimum wage is $12 per hour.

The new minimum wage law applies to hundreds of thousands of workers at California fast food chains with 60 or more locations nationwide. Major fast food companies such as Chipotle and McDonald’s have already raised their prices, while California Pizza Hut laid off 1,200 workers in response to the wage hike. California operators are also set to adopt more automation to make up for wage costs.

“The SEIU’s wage hike is a wrecking ball that will destroy California’s restaurant industry. Workers who find themselves with fewer shifts or out of a job entirely can thank the union for yet another harmful policy,” Center for Union Facts communications director Charlyce Bozzello said in a statement.

However, when The Center Square visited McDonald’s in West Los Angeles and Nebraska April 1 to compare prices, they still found West Los Angeles’ McDonald’s was cheaper than Nebraska’s, and still had more human service workers. Nebraska’s store already had adopted an artificial-intelligence system for taking drive-thru orders, while Los Angeles’ was still taking drive-thru orders via human.

On the a la carte menu, Los Angeles Big Macs cost $5.19, while Nebraska’s cost $5.99. Los Angeles 6-piece chicken nugget Happy Meals cost $5.59, medium fries cost $3.59, and medium drinks cost $1.49, while Nebraska’s were $4.49, $3.89, and $1.39 respectively.

The Los Angeles McDonald’s cashier confirmed that prices had already been increased before the April 1 minimum wage starting date. Nebraska’s minimum wage, meanwhile, is only $12 per hour.