California Fast-Food Restaurant Shuts Down Unexpectedly Following $20 Minimum Wage Increase

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Foster’s Freeze in Lemoore, California, has unexpectedly shut down just days after California implemented a minimum wage increase for fast food workers. This move has left many employees without a job and little to no prior notice.

Shock Among Workers


Employees at Foster’s Freeze were taken aback by the sudden closure of their workplace. Despite the new bill that raised minimum wages for fast food workers to $20, the employees at this location did not benefit from the wage increase.

No Prior Notice Given


Monica Navarro, the Assistant General Manager, confirmed that the workers received no prior notice about the closure. The discovery was made when they found the locks changed and a group text message later confirmed the closure.

Initial Disbelief


Former employee Jason Boado and others initially thought the closure announcement was a joke. It was only when they gathered to collect their final paychecks that the reality set in.

Stress on the Owner

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Navarro, who planned to work at Foster’s Freeze until her graduation from Fresno State University, indicated that the owner had previously expressed concerns about the financial strain caused by the wage increase.

Optimism Among Employees


Despite the looming challenges, there was a shared belief among the employees that they would be able to overcome the difficulties. Discussions about raising prices were also part of their strategy to cope with the wage increase.

A Plea for Kindness


Navarro urged the public to show kindness to fast-food workers who might face layoffs or have to work shorter shifts due to the wage increase. She highlighted the broader impact on the community, including layoffs and the adoption of food delivery apps.

Owner’s Reasons for Closure

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Loren Wright, the owner of Foster’s Freeze, explicitly cited the $20 minimum wage legislation as the primary reason for shutting down the restaurant, pointing out the unsustainable increase in wages over the past decade.

Aftermath of Wage Increase


Navarro shared insights from discussions with former co-workers, noting that many felt it would have been better to maintain previous wage levels rather than face job losses and reduced working hours.

Criticism of the Wage Policy

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Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh criticized the approach of increasing living costs through higher wages, suggesting that it made California less affordable for families.

Impact on Small Businesses

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State Senator Kelly Seyarto argued that the legislation harms small businesses, hindering their ability to grow and provide more job opportunities, thereby exacerbating inflation issues in California.

More Business Closures

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Following the wage increase, Mod Pizza closed five locations in California. While the exact reasons were not disclosed, there is speculation that these closures were also related to the wage hike.

Broader Industry Reactions

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The owner of 21 McDonald’s franchises expressed inability to sufficiently raise prices to meet the new wage demands. Similarly, El Pollo Loco considered automation, reflecting a trend of operational changes across the industry.



The closure of Foster’s Freeze and other businesses following the minimum wage increase in California highlights the complex implications of such policies on employees, business owners, and the broader economic landscape.

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.