As Workers Celebrate L.A.’s $12 Minimum Wage, Businesses Brace for Impact

Jesus Matias, an employee for nine years, prepares dishes at Nickel Diner in downtown Los Angeles in an undated photo. The diner's owners worry about the impact of a $12 minimum wage. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

More than half a million Angelenos stand to get a raise this weekend, making the city the latest testing ground in the drive to boost incomes of bottom-rung workers.

Some businesses, facing a labor crunch, didn’t even wait for the new, $12 minimum wage to officially kick in.

Josh Loeb started doling out pay bumps among the 400 employees of his six mostly upscale restaurants about a month ago. He paid for it by inching up prices at those Santa Monica haunts, adding a dollar to an organic chicken, and 50 cents to a sandwich or salad.

“It’s got to come from somewhere,” said Loeb.

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