AB 1228 comes after a year of pushback from restaurant lobbying groups over the FAST Recovery Act. The Save Local Restaurants Coalition, which consisted of the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was formed to fight the FAST Act. The group gathered large amounts of donations from major fast-food corporations like Yum Brands, In-N-Out, Chipotle, and Chick-fil-A. A large part of the language of AB 1228 reflects what was proposed in the coalition’s Save Local Restaurants Act.
The compromise that created the new law was praised by David Huerta, the President of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) California and SEIU USWW, as well as the President and CEO of the International Franchise Association, Matt Haller, who responded in a press release that “commonsense has prevailed.”
While many in the fast-food industry are happy that the law will finally go through, the reactions on Governor Newsom’s X, formerly known as Twitter, page were much more mixed. Many worry that the law will push fast-food restaurants to become more automated and expensive. “This will inadvertently lead to job reductions in the fast food sector,” claimed one critic. “More robo-coffees and touch-to-order machines.” Another said, “Californians will also now pay the most money for fast food in the nation and will have the most employees replaced by robots.”