Business Insider: Meet the CEO of an up-and-coming pizza chain who is actually fighting to raise the minimum wage

By Kate Taylor
Business Insider, April 20, 2017

While most fast-food companies are fighting to keep minimum wages low, one pizza chain's founder is going in the opposite direction. &pizza, a Washington, DC-based chain with 21 locations, is fighting for a $15 minimum wage — not only for the fast-casual pizza chain's own employees, but for all Americans.

"We've been on the forefront as one of the few restaurant chains that has put a stake in the ground and said that this is really important for us," CEO Michael Lastoria told Business Insider. "I think change can happen there. It will just have a massive impact on society."

Lastoria is a member of the advocacy network Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, which includes executives from chains like Ben & Jerry's and Wetzel's Pretzels. He has also met with Obama's Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, to discuss the business advantages of increasing the minimum wage. ...

&pizza doesn't currently pay all of its workers $15 per hour, though a representative for the company said it is "working really hard to make that a reality." According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average fast-food worker made about $9.84 an hour as of May 2016. ...

Ultimately, Lastoria has a slightly different mission and strategy than most restaurant executives. Instead of rushing to expand through franchising, &pizza has decided keep all locations company-owned, in part to allow for greater adherence to his values, which include paying employees well and maintaining food quality. ...

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