Burger King witnessed what was claimed as the largest protest by low-wage workers in the history of United States on Wednesday, April 15. But despite the approximated number of 60,000 workers coming together for the “Fight for $15” campaign, Burger King founder David Edgerton said in an interview with Time that the success of the movement will kill the dollar menu at Burger King and McDonald’s.
“What’s going to happen, really, is you’re going to see less and less of the quick and dirty kind of places,” said Edgerton. “You’re not going to be able to run these places [paying workers] $15 an hour or whatever it will be.”
Burger King, among other fast food chains, compensates its employees at around $9 an hour—the average wage rate in the fast food industry. In a report released by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United on their website, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that restaurant workers like those in Burger King occupy eight of the ten lowest-paid occupations in the U.S. These workers live at a poverty rate of 20.9 percent of the total workforce and that nearly half of their families are enrolled in one or more public-assistance programs to sustain themselves.
Edgerton rebuts that raising the wages at Burger King will come with consequences—and that includes bloated prices for Burger King burgers. The Burger “King” said this as an initiative to “educate” the workers about the situation of corporate industralists.
“You’re not going to get these dollar hamburgers anymore that both Burger King and McDonald’s had…I see a lot of $10 hamburgers arriving on the scene,” he added. “I’d certainly try to get them into a situation where they can be educated about the total picture,” he said. “They’re in there thinking we’re just screwing them on the price and blah blah blah and making all kinds of money.”
However, it is increasingly hard to believe the Burger King founder who established the burger giant with James McLamore in 1954.
In June 2013, a Daniel Schwartz became CEO of Burger King and in a Bloomberg report, he was noted to make $700,000 per year, excluding cash bonuses and allowance. In another article by the Chicago Tribune, a study on the effects of minimum wage across state borders by economist Michael Reich and fellow researchers Arindrajit Dube and T. William Lester found that boosting the minimum wage by 10 percent only translates to an overall increase of 1 percent in company costs. And in fact, the study suggests that a better wage means a greater staffing stability, which cuts costs in the long run.
Edgerton believes that Burger King workers might see increases in their wages as a result of the “Fight for $15” demonstrations but $15 an hour is setting it overboard.
“They’re not really going to get $15, but they’ll set [the goal] high enough that there won’t be any doubt about $13 or $12,” Edgerton said. “That’s a wild figure, whoever got that thing going.”
The “Fight for $15” protests in over 200 cities across U.S. have already produced results with McDonald’s paying $1 dollar more than the local minimum wage starting July 1. But Burger King employees are not yet seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, especially with the Burger King founder rather stubborn about it.
Do you think the Burger King dollar items will go extinct if Burger King starts to compensate its employees better? Let us hear your thoughts below.