Fast-food workers don't fear higher wages will cut opportunity

Kevin Cole protests outside a fast food restaurant on Thursday Aug. 29, 2013 in Los Angeles. Fast-food protests were under way Thursday in U.S. cities including New York, Chicago and Detroit, with organizers expecting the biggest national walkouts yet in a demand for higher wages. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Doubling the minimum wage to above $14 an hour would add $1 to the cost of a Big Mac, estimates Bloomberg LP, citing industry financial data. Fast-food restaurant report about 30% of their cost is wages, says Janney Capital Markets' Jonathan Feeney. More than half of restaurants raised prices when the minimum wage went up in 2007, and 2 of 5 cut workers' hours, says the National Restaurant Association. 

But ask restaurant workers if they'll take the chance of fewer (or no) hours at their current job, in exchange for a higher minimum wage, and a lot will say yes: There's a lot of low-wage places for a displaced worker to choose from, these days, as I noted in my column in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer here.