California’s minimum wage is set to increase again in January
The Sacramento Bee 12/3
In 2021, California’s minimum wage will be $14 an hour. That brings it one step closer toward an end goal of $15 an hour for all employers statewide by 2023.
L.A. mayor announces $800 stipends for food service workers
Los Angeles Times 12/2
Los Angeles will offer a one-time $800 stipend to employees who work in food service industries, including restaurants, breweries and food stands, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday.
Restaurant Work Is Always Brutal. Under the Pandemic, It’s Hell.
Jacobin Magazine 12/1
Working in a restaurant has always been tough. But servers say that the pandemic has created new problems and intensified old ones. Unsafe health conditions, meager tips from vindictive customers, and sexual harassment are now the norm under coronavirus.
Food Industry Policy
L.A. County must show evidence for outdoor dining ban, judge orders
Los Angeles Times 12/2
A judge on Wednesday ordered Los Angeles County public health officials to show scientific evidence justifying the outdoor dining ban imposed last week amid soaring coronavirus cases. Outdoor dining had offered a lifeline for struggling restaurants during the pandemic. The California Restaurant Assn. sued to stop the ban, with a downtown L.A. restaurant, Engine Co. No. 28, filing a similar suit.
Chipotle Plots Drive-Thru Only Restaurants as Digital Soars
QSR Magazine 12/2
All those fast-food brands building drive-thru locations without dining rooms? Chipotle is on the verge of becoming one, too. It’s plotting a “Chipotlane”-only venue in Kansas City, Niccol said. While not stunning and something the brand hinted at before, it speaks to a larger plan.
San Francisco restaurants brace for more restrictions
San Francisco city officials are hinting at more possible rollback announcements in the coming days, as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue rising. While outdoor dining is still allowed in the state’s current purple tier guidelines, many restaurants are bracing for the possibility of pausing outdoor dining.
On the Side
Japanese Fruit Sandwiches Are the East Bay’s Newest Not-Too-Sweet Treat
Eater SF 12/2
Eventually, Sundo will carry a full slate of savory milk bread sandwiches, including an egg salad sandwich and a chicken katsu sandwich. But Ono says he wanted to start with the fruit sandwiches in part because they’re not very well known in the U.S., despite being a Japanese convenience store staple.
Napa Valley Fine Dining Vets to Open Korean-Influenced Restaurant in LA’s Arts District
Eater LA 12/2
Two of the Bay Area’s most prominent chefs have relocated to Los Angeles, with plans to open a casual restaurant and marketplace together in the heart of the Arts District this spring. Katianna Hong and partner John Hong both come from the world of the Restaurant at Meadowood, the three-Michelin-starred fine dining Napa Valley restaurant that burned in a fire this fall, and now they’ve taken over the former Bon Temps space around the corner from Bestia.
LA’s Ghost Kitchens Aren’t An Illusion — But Beware Of Phantom Branding
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ghost kitchens have another advantage. Because they were never designed for dine-in service, they haven’t been subjected to L.A. County’s stop, start, stop rollercoaster of public health restrictions.