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The New York Times reports that McDonald’s has advised the National Restaurant Association that it no longer wants to be involved in any lobbying efforts designed to oppose increases in local, state or federal minimum wages.

A company vice president, Genna Gent, told the trade association, “We believe increases should be phased in and that all industries should be treated the same way … The conversation about wages is an important one; it’s one we wish to advance, not impede.”

The change in position, the Times writes, “thrust McDonald’s into the middle of the ongoing and sometimes contentious national debate about worker pay and what constitutes a living wage. Federal lawmakers, including several Democratic presidential hopefuls, have increasingly sought to help lower-income workers whose wages have remained stagnant as corporate profits have grown, housing prices have skyrocketed, and a homelessness crisis is gripping many urban areas.”

However, the story also points out that “the announcement was also greeted with some skepticism. An expert on restaurant lobbying who requested anonymity because of McDonald’s power in the industry said the chain’s repositioning appeared to be at least in part a political publicity stunt. More than 90 percent of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent franchisees, according to the company’s website. It is those franchisees, not McDonald’s Corp.’s bottom line, that the expert worried could be most affected.”

MarketWatch reports that Grocery Outlet Holding Co., currently majority owned by a private equity company, Hellman & Friedman, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO).

The story notes that Grocery Outlet “is still managed by the family of the founder, Jim Read, who established the first store in San Francisco in 1946” and “claims to have more than 300 stores that attract more than 2 million shoppers each week.”
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