Chef Andrew Gruel Criticizes Democratic Politician’s Proposal for $50 Minimum Wage

Co-Founder and Executive Chef of Slapfish restaurant Andrew Gruel at the Huntington Beach location, Calif., on June 7, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Andrew Gruel has expressed his disapproval of Rep. Barbara Lee’s suggestion to raise the federal minimum wage to $50 per hour, stating it would “completely decimate every single business in the state of California.”

During a debate for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s vacant seat in the Senate, Lee, a former mayor of Oakland, defended her proposal, citing her experience running a small business for 11 years and claimed to have created “hundreds of jobs.”

Gruel criticized Lee’s proposal, stating it would lead to the closure of every restaurant overnight. He questioned why a $50 minimum wage hadn’t been implemented for government jobs, suggesting it’s because they can’t afford it. He proposed cutting payroll taxes instead to put more money in workers’ pockets.

Gruel, who owns several California-based restaurants, reiterated his concerns on Fox News, accusing Lee of seeking votes through her proposal and predicting it would inflate the economy and eliminate independent businesses, likening it to “communism-lite.”

He also highlighted the challenges of doing business in California, citing increased crime rates and high tax rates, likening it to “gambling in a haunted casino.”

California recently raised its minimum wage to $20 per hour for fast-food employees, with Governor Gavin Newsom emphasizing it gives workers a “stronger seat at the table.”

Lee’s proposal of a $50 minimum wage is significantly higher than the current national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Other politicians, like Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter, have suggested minimum wages ranging from $20 to $25 per hour.

Republican candidate Steve Garvey opposed further increases, arguing it would raise costs for consumers. Gruel agreed, explaining the substantial impact on restaurant costs and prices if the minimum wage were doubled.

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