California businesses band together to ‘demand real answers’ on blue state’s high costs

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The voices of some can be louder than one, which is why a California-based McDonald’s franchise owner and his industry colleagues are joining together to sound off on the state’s high costs.

“We need more answers in the business community, particularly the family-owned business community. And that’s why a group of like-minded owners got together to launch an organization dedicated to protecting the equity and the solvency of our enterprises in California,” Scott Rodrick said on “Fox & Friends” Friday.

“Its primary focus is to represent a unified voice to elected officials, to share our business aspirations and also our concerns with elected officials,” he continued, “so that we can demand real answers to the issues that challenge our business every day.”

Rodrick is a board member of the California Alliance of Family Owned Businesses, an organization fighting for the success of owner-operators who believe their business models define communities and provide work benefits like education and ESL classes, tuition assistance and career guidance.

BUSINESS OWNERS FEAR THEY WON’T SURVIVE ANOTHER BIDEN TERM: ‘WE’RE ALL STRUGGLING’

The recent inflation report for April showed that since President Biden took office, the cost of eating out at restaurants is up nearly 22%. However, fast-food has been hit particularly hard, with prices dramatically rising at the most popular restaurant chains beginning even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Big Mac sandwich at McDonald’s, for example, cost $3.99 in 2019. Now, that price has more than doubled to $8.29, according to Fast Food Menu Prices, an online tracker.

“They notice when the price of a Big Mac goes up, when the price of a cup of coffee rises by a quarter on their every morning breakfast routine to work. So I’m obviously very conscious of this moment. McDonald’s has stood for tremendous value over decades. It’s been a key driver of my success in the fast food space,” Rodrick reacted.

“But I also recognize that my customers’ appetite for price increases is not limitless,” he added. “And across the industry, it is obvious that inflation across the country has impacted the frequency of Americans who dine out, and when they do, how much they want to spend in my restaurants.”

Gone too are the days of the $5 Footlong at Subway. A BLT Footlong that cost $5.50 in 2019 now costs customers $8.49 in 2024, though prices can vary by location. Additionally, Chipotle’s beloved chicken burrito that cost $6.50 in 2019 now runs customers $10.70.

Fast-food executives have pointed to rising wages and increased costs for ingredients as factors driving up the prices on their menus – and in the Golden State, specifically, the recent $20 minimum wage mandate.

“That was a key driver. But there’s a bunch of other inflation drivers that have challenged the running of my family owned franchise,” Rodrick said.

“And of course, just like a customer experiences walking out of a grocery store, looking at their basket of goods and wondering, ‘Wow, that was expensive,’ my cost of eggs and potatoes and dairy, you name it, they’ve skyrocketed as well.”

READ MORE FROM FOX BUSINESS

FOX Business’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.

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