December 05, 2022

California Voters Put the FAST Act on Hold to Have Their Say

National Restaurant Association expands focus to prevent similar laws from impacting industry nationwide
Washington, D.C. – California voters have spoken, and they want to see the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Act) on a ballot. The Save Local Restaurants Coalition, led by the National Restaurant Association, International Franchise Association (IFA), and The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has gathered enough signatures for a referendum on the November 2024 ballot. Once the California Secretary of State has verified the Coalition has submitted the needed number of signatures, implementation of the law will be on hold until the vote.

The FAST Act is a threat to the California restaurant industry and sets a dangerous precedent that labor organizations are already working to spread across the country. The law creates an unelected council to regulate national quick service chain operations. The 10-member body would oversee wages, training, and health and safety standards. These changes would increase prices at quick service restaurants 20-22%, slow business growth, and could eliminate thousands of jobs, hurting family-, minority- and woman-owned businesses across the state. Diners would feel the impact in their wallets and see it in their communities.

“The National Restaurant Association is committed to bringing this legislative action to the voters in California because we think voters need to have a say when laws like the FAST Act would fracture the restaurant industry and harm the people who make restaurant businesses great. Californians agree with us and it’s clear they want a chance to stop this law,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “The fact this process puts this law on hold ensures that restaurants can operate without disruption in the meantime and diners won’t lose of the brands they love.”

The impacts of the FAST Act won’t be limited to quick service restaurants in California. The law allows the new regulating council to set a higher minimum wage for quick service restaurants. Independent restaurants will, however, be forced to increase their pay to match, so they can remain competitive when recruiting and retaining workforce.

In addition, the labor organizations behind the FAST Act have made clear that they plan to introduce similar legislation across the country, impacting owners, franchisees, and workers in many other communities.

“The Association and our state restaurant association partners are mobilizing to engage with operators and lawmakers in areas we see as targets,” said Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “We cannot allow for these same walls and hurdles to be built in other jurisdictions, so we’ll invest our time and resources in making sure this noxious legislation doesn’t spread.”

Find more information about the FAST Act and how it will impact quick service restaurants in California here.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises nearly 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 14.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.