Written by Ashton Snyder on
 June 11, 2024

Blaze Pizza Moves HQ to Atlanta Amid Minimum Wage Debate

Blaze Pizza is relocating its headquarters from Pasadena, California, to Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Daily Mail, the relocation is part of a broader business exodus from California and aims to reduce costs and avoid high state taxes.

The move is expected to significantly reduce Blaze Pizza's corporate tax rate by more than a third. Blaze Pizza, which operates 330 restaurants in 38 states and six countries, sees this relocation as a catalyst for future development.

CEO Beto Guajardo confirmed the shift, highlighting hopes for greater expansion. "Moving our corporate headquarters to Atlanta will help us drive our next wave of growth," he remarked.

California Sees Business Exodus Due to Wage Law

The move aligns Blaze Pizza with other companies fleeing California's rising operational costs and minimum wage laws. Neutrogena, QuickFee, Oak View Group, and Unical Aviation have already exited Southern California.

California’s $20-an-hour minimum wage, which took effect on April 1, has hit fast-food chains hard. Due to increased labor costs, roughly 10,000 jobs have been cut across chains like Pizza Hut and Burger King.

Blaze Pizza’s 7,500 restaurant-level employees remain unaffected by the headquarters move. However, a select few of the 60 corporate staff have been offered relocation opportunities.

Impact on Local Businesses and Workforce

California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) has criticized Governor Gavin Newsom’s minimum wage hike. Tom Manzo, CABIA president and founder, noted that businesses are resorting to price increases, job cuts, or outright moving out of the state.

The financial strain has even led some businesses to bankruptcy, such as Mexican Rubio's Coastal Grill, which filed for Chapter 11 and shut down 48 California locations. Manzo commented, "You can only raise prices so much. People are not going to pay $20 for a Big Mac."

Governor Defends Wage Increase Amid Criticism

When signing the law in September, Newsom stated it brings fairer wages and better work conditions for fast food workers. However, critics argue it will lead to increased automation and job cuts.

Harsh Ghai, a Burger King franchisee, announced plans to install digital kiosks in all his California locations to mitigate the effects of the wage hike. He operates 140 restaurants along the West Coast.

California’s standard minimum wage of $16 an hour became effective in January. The national minimum wage remains significantly lower at $7.25 an hour.

Controversy and Future Trends

Manzo highlighted various negative business impacts under the new wage law. He suggested businesses may sell, halt expansions in California, or shut down entirely. Governor Newsom, however, stands firm on the benefits of wage law, believing it will enhance worker conditions and wages overall. The divide remains stark as the state continues to see businesses exit.

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About Ashton Snyder

Independent conservative news without a leftist agenda.
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