Newsom’s Restaurant Pays $16 an Hour Despite Law Crippling Fast Food Chains with $20 Minimum Wage

Newsom’s Restaurant Pays $16 an Hour Despite Law Crippling Fast Food Chains with $20 Minimum Wage

Hasn’t California Gov. Gavin Newsom had enough problems with restaurants to exercise some caution around the issue of eateries?

You may remember, back in the heyday of California’s brutal COVID-19 lockdown regime — where most indoor dining was shut down and patrons were forced, by law, to wear masks at almost all times and remain in small groups — Newsom was photographed maskless and mingling at a large birthday party at a Michelin-starred restaurant called the French Laundry.

These images should have ended Newsom’s political career, but this is California, he’s a Democrat and all can be forgiven if that’s the case:

Well, now all is forgotten — if perhaps not forgiven, if you’re a restauranteur. As you may know, Newsom is not-so-quietly prepping himself for a 2028 run at the White House and he’s planning to use the Golden State as a model for what he’ll do to America.

America got a taste of this, somewhat literally, this week, when a new law took effect that raised the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 an hour.

According to KGO-TV in San Francisco, thousands of pizza delivery drivers are being laid off across the state as Assembly Bill 1228 comes into effect, thanks to two major Pizza Hut franchisees cutting costs.

Mod Pizza — which the New York Post notes is oft referred to as “the Chipotle of pizza” due to its hipster reputation — abruptly closed five of its locations in California before the law took effect.

“It just kind of seemed like the right timing, two weeks before all of the fast food locations in California got that increase that we closed,” one of the workers who was let go told KMPH-TV.

“[We didn’t hear] from corporate directly, but I do have a feeling it had to do with the $20 an hour increase, seeing as they knew it was coming,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the Post reported, chains such as Burger King and In-N-Out warned customers to expect higher prices thanks to the mandated wage hike.

However, this only applies to fast food restaurants — not, say, high-end restaurants and wineries owned by posh individuals like, oh, say, Gavin Newsom. But surely those employees are making over $20 an hour already, right?

Yet again, Newsom is leading by anti-example, according to the Post.

“PlumpJack Cafe in Olympic Valley — which is among a group of eateries owned by a company Newsom founded in 1992 — is hiring a part-time busser who ‘will aim to assist the food server … to ensure guest satisfaction during all aspects of the dining experience,’ according to a ZipRecruiter posting,” the outlet reported on Thursday.

“The job listing states the salary for the busser is $16 an hour plus tips.”


Now, of course, you could argue that the busser is going to be taking home more in tips than your average Burger King employee, despite the fact we’re prompted to tip workers at pretty much every eating establishment these days no matter what the service consists of.

However, someone who is bussing tables at PlumpJack is probably going to be a much more experienced food-industry worker than, say, your average Pizza Hut delivery guy or cashier. Considering the labor market remains tight and fast food work is among the least skilled sectors in the labor market, one assumes the qualifications include 1) showing up in uniform and 2) not stealing from the till.

Meanwhile, the ZipRecruiter description of the $16-an-hour PlumpJack Cafe busser job lists “ESSENTIAL DUTIES” (all caps) that include:

• To extend a courteous, friendly, and professional greeting to guests as they arrive, and to thank them as they depart.
• To ensure, as directed, with room set-up and breakdown, including setting and decorating tables; folding napkins; preparing condiments; filling salt, pepper, and sugar containers; and breaking down and storing tables and chairs.
• To keep all water glasses filled at all times (ice water and iced tea).
• To clear tables from all debris with crummer.
• To perform other tasks, including cross-training, as directed.

Required competencies?

• Strong sense of urgency with an ability to meet deadlines with minimal supervision.
• Excellent organizational skills and ability to handle multiple tasks.
• Maintain a neat & clean appearance in compliance with the company appearance standards.

Compare this with the essential duties of the Burger King cashier. It’s, uh, just a little more complicated.

Plus, while I understand that Newsom isn’t exactly involved in the day-to-day operation of PlumpJack Cafe — he put it into a blind trust after he was elected governor in 2018, along with all of the other holdings in the PlumpJack Group — wouldn’t someone at the restaurant have noticed the optics of this and the fact that the guy who owns a massive share in this signed a bill into law that mandated a $20 minimum wage for fast food workers and wants to run for president in 2028?

Did they also forget about the French Laundry incident, too? Putting your restaurant into a blind trust doesn’t mean putting it into a dimwit trust, after all. This couldn’t have been better orchestrated had the people running the blind trust been selected by the California GOP.

But then, I doubt Newsom much cares. He is emblematic of the California elite: a man who doesn’t have to care about jobs being slashed or prices at fast food joints getting hiked because he doesn’t work or eat there.

He does, however, govern the people who do. And, in another four years, he’s going to want to govern the other 49 states along with it.

If l’affaire French Laundry didn’t tell you Gavin Newsom isn’t the man for the job, this latest affront surely should.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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