Mike Rowe exposes blowback of Gavin Newsom’s Panera Bread debacle

Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Gavin Newson and his rich buddy made a backdoor deal that allowed his Panera Bread chain to keep paying lower hourly rates than the new state law requiring food service workers to make $20 an hour.

But the deal was so shady that even the mainstream media jumped on Newsom for giving a special carve out for a major donor.

Now Mike Rowe just exposed some of the blowback that resulted from the whole Panera Bread debacle in California.

Newsom’s deal faced “unintended consequences”

Billionaire Greg Flynn owns approximately 24 Panera Bread restaurants throughout the state of California.

He and California Governor Gavin Newsom originally reached a deal where Newsom allowed Flynn to continue paying his workers at Panera Bread restaurants less than the newly passed $20 per hour minimum wage for fast food workers.

However, Flynn eventually backpedaled, saying that he will now pay his Panera employees $20 per hour starting April 1, according to an AP report.

The issue was brought to the spotlight after a Bloomberg investigation revealed that Flynn would save tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year thanks to the deal.

Now, How America Works host Mike Rowe has spoken out to criticize California’s Governor and the wealthy franchise owner, saying that they didn’t prepare for the “unintended consequences” of the deal.

Rowe appeared on The Big Money Show on Fox Business, where he said, “That’s a powerful thing. And if you’re suddenly the only guy who isn’t paying $20 an hour, and you’re looking at a finite pool of people who want to work in the fast-food industry, well, who’s going to apply for a job with you?”

Originally, Newsom planned to use a loophole to keep Flynn from having to pay the state’s new $20 fast food worker minimum wage rate by classifying restaurants that bake and sell bread as a standalone item as exempt.

In a statement, Flynn said, “At Flynn Group, we are in the people business and believe our people are our most valuable assets… Our goal is to attract and retain the best team members to deliver the restaurant experience our guests know and love.”

But Rowe says that it was more likely social and economic pressure that led Flynn to change his mind.

“It was a bad look for the Governor, I think it’s a bad look for Panera. But mostly again, I’ll come back to unintended consequences.”

He continued, “Unions are fraught with them. Minimum wage is fraught with it, rent control. There’s always a price to pay for doing a short-term thing that looks and feels good to do and say.”

Newsom tried to help his ally

California state records show that Flynn gave $8,400 to Newsom’s 2018 candidacy and later helped to save him during the 2021 recall election by pitching in with other big-name donors. 

Fox News Digital had reached out to Flynn’s holding company and Panera Bread for comment previously but never received a reply.

However, Flynn did tell Bloomberg that neither he nor his contributions played a role in his restaurants initially receiving the exemption.

According to Mike Rowe, “Kiosks are going to replace low-wage workers. AI is going to have a voice in this. And a Quarter Pounder with cheese is going to be a heck of a lot more expensive. This is a lesson that we seemed determined to learn over and over again.”

Informed American will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.