Burger King co-founder David Edgerton says fast food workers pushing for higher wages could spell the end of the “dollar menu,” and usher in an era of higher-quality, more expensive convenience restaurants.
Edgerton, 87, spoke to TIME on Wednesday as fast-food workers around the world staged protests and strikes—some at Burger King locations—as a part of the “Fight for $15” campaign, which calls for a $15 per hour minimum wage and the right to unionize.
“What’s going to happen, really, is you’re going to see less and less of the quick and dirty kind of places,” said Edgerton, who founded the fast food giant with James McLamore in 1954 and now serves on the board of Avantcare, a company that makes nutritional products to help treat addiction. “You’re not going to be able to run these places [paying workers] $15 an hour or whatever it will be.”
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The push for higher wages will be reflected in menus, Edgerton said. A few companies will stick to making “a small cheap hamburger,” he said, but most fast food chains will experience “a slow and gradual” shift toward pricier menu options.
“You’re not going to get these dollar hamburgers anymore that both Burger King and McDonald’s had,” he said. “I see a lot of $10 hamburgers arriving on the scene.”