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Man Blames California's New $20 Wage Law For Empty Taco Bell, Netizens Disagree

In a TikTok video, the man claimed that the manager echoed his concerns.
Image Source: TikTok | @the_realefrainthetroll
Image Source: TikTok | @the_realefrainthetroll

With California’s new law, the minimum wage for fast food workers has been raised to $20 and the tip credit system has been removed as well. While critics of the law long argued that it will have negative consequences for workers, a man on TikTok has claimed to found evidence of it.

Filming an empty Taco Bell location, the man named Efrain blamed the new law which has forced restaurants to increase prices. However, several viewers disagreed with the man’s opinion which led to a debate in the comments section.

The video shows around an empty Taco Bell with no customers. The text overlay on the video says “20 dollar hr aftermath in California”. 

Image Source: TikTok | @the_realefrainthetroll
Image Source: TikTok | @the_realefrainthetroll

He goes on to say, “This is how it looks, see? No people here. This is what California has come to. A $20 an hour job for fast food equals nobody’s gonna be wanting to pay these high prices,” claiming that the menu price hikes are the reason behind the Taco Bell being empty.

However, a number of viewers did not agree with Efrain’s reasoning. One of the ex-employees of Taco Bell (@kari) pointed out that it is normal for Taco Bell restaurants to be empty during that time of the day. To this, Efrain replied that it was 5 pm which he claimed should be busy but another user further disagreed saying that the only people who eat at 5 pm are the people living in the facility.

Image Source: TikTok | @the_realefrainthetroll
Image Source: TikTok | @the_realefrainthetroll

Meanwhile, another user (@joey) pointed out that the restaurant may be empty as most customers choose to take their order through the drive-thru, “They’re in the [drive-thru]. Taco Bell dining room has been empty since the 90s,” said the user. To this another user (echosmom714) added that the dining rooms were empty even before the wage law went into effect, suggesting that the wage increase is not to blame.

Image Source: TikTok | @the_realefrainthetroll
Image Source: TikTok | @the_realefrainthetroll

In a follow-up video, Efrain claimed to have spoken to the manager of Taco Bell. He said that the manager had echoed his concerns saying that employees are getting hours cut and there are fewer customers are now dining in. “This is a liberal situation. Not OK guys. The manager said the same thing,” Efrain says in the video.

The new law, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom requires fast-food chains with 60 or more locations to pay their workers a minimum wage of $20 an hour, which is $4 up from the state’s minimum wage for other industries. The law has led to California’s 553,000 fast food becoming the highest-paid fast food workers. However, critics have argued that it has increased pressure on restaurants that are already struggling with high costs and inflation.


According to a report published by The Wall Street Journal, multiple businesses have indicated plans to axe hundreds of jobs and cut back hours to cut back on costs. Restaurants are also freezing hiring, the report shows. While Fast Food chains like Pizza Hut have already cut hundreds of jobs, several chains have increased prices by nearly $2, a survey from The New York Post found.