Let's Fix This Country

Fast Food’s Profit & Loss

How the minimum wage translates

Anthony Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee's and others, provides some data to work with in this Wall Street Journal op-ed. His typical franchised restaurant employs 25 people and earns about $100,000 a year in pretax profit—about 8% of the restaurant’s $1.2 million annual sales. To the 24 employees other than the manager, he attributes 75% of the profit — about $3,125 an employee. If minimum-wage crew members working 25 hours a week received a 40% raise, they would earn an additional $3,705 a year. That is $580 more than what the employee contributes to the restaurant’s profits.

First, let's point out that the $3,125 works out to be 52 weeks; no one gets time off, apparently. At minimum wage Mr.Puzder's part-timers make $9,425 a year. At a 40% increase (to $10.15 an hour) that would become $13,195. One can only hope that they have second or third jobs. Even at full-time they'd only earn $21,200.

These are unlivable wage rates that force people into public assistance. So what Mr. Puzder is really telling us is that we're fooling ourselves to think cheap food is a bargain, because we're paying the rest of its true and hidden cost to the government.

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