Workers celebrate L.A.'s new $12 minimum wage, businesses brace for impact

Of course, businesses that spend most of their money on workers will try to find ways to cut costs. Loeb, the restaurateur, has already been trimming fat.

Cassia, one of the six establishments on the Westside that he co-owns, started serving lunch in the summer of 2016, right before the last minimum-wage hike. That foray ended after three months as Loeb realized the crowds were too thin and the tabs too small to cover his payroll. He had to lay off about 15 people.

Then, in the fall, Loeb changed the hours at Huckleberry, a more casual eatery, so that it closed at 5 p.m. rather than 8. Breakfast and lunch are the busiest times at the cafe, and dinner wasn’t delivering huge crowds.