In-N-Out raises California menu prices in response to new minimum wage

In-N-Out Burger patrons might have noticed a slight price increase for their favorite items, like the Double-Double or Animal Style fries.

The California-based burger chain confirmed to KTVU that it has raised menu prices across the Golden State. The company hiked prices the same day the state's fast-food minimum wage law took effect.

"On April 1st, we raised our prices incrementally to accompany a pay raise for all of the Associates working in our California restaurants. The price increase was also necessary to maintain our quality standards," the company said in a statement.


In-N-Out president fought to keep prices down amid California minimum wage hike

The owner of the famed In-N-Out burger chain says she fought to keep costs down in California as legislation bumping up the minimum wage took effect.

The starting wage for In-N-Out restaurant employees is $22 to $23 an hour based on the location, which is a few dollars over the $20 minimum wage mandated by the new law.

Pittsburg resident Chris Hachlica said he eats at In-N-Out every other week.

"The price increase? I understand because the economy's kind of bad. Food's going up, all type of stuff," he said.

While customers are eating some of the costs to pay employees better, the price hike comes after In-N-Out heiress and President Lynsi Snyder said in an April interview with Today that she fought to keep prices down as the new law took effect.

"I was sitting in VP meetings going toe-to-toe saying, ‘We can’t raise the prices that much, we can’t,'" Snyder said," adding that she felt "an obligation to look out for our customer."

"I've always heard that In-N-Out treats their employees well, that's definitely part of their branding so we're definitely down to support that," said Alameda resident Elizabeth Birmingham. "Especially in the Bay Area where cost of living is so high."

Beyond the minimum wage increase, businesses and consumers alike are feeling the effects of inflation, with the prices of goods and services going up, forcing both to dig deeper into their pockets.

"Especially coming from Georgia, California prices are a little big higher," said Khalil Coleman, who just moved to Oakland two weeks ago. "But when I came to In-N-Out and I was spending $20 on a meal, it's definitely something that I did not expect at all."

Coleman purchased two meals Tuesday afternoon.

For Hachlica, the pricing is all relative.

For example, a double-double meal at the In-N-Out in San Francisco is the most expensive in the Bay Area, at $13.63. The same meal in Alameda costs just under $12. Diners pay slightly less at the San Jose or Pittsburg locations.

"It's not bad, it's what it is. As long as they don't go over $20, I'm fine with it."

Still, inflation remains stubbornly high, as the Federal Reserve is set to release its latest policy statement Wednesday. Unfortunately for consumers, the Fed is widely expected to keep rates steady.

"It's not just the price of eggs, it's bread, it's cheese, it's milk, ‘cause I have a 1-year-old child, that we need to buy, so the prices in general are definitely a lot higher and it’s noticeable," added Coleman.

Earlier this year, Wall Street predicted three rate cuts in 2024, but some economists are scaling back that number to two. Again, the snapshot of U.S. inflation will be released Wednesday morning.