How a hike in the federal minimum wage could impact the 1.4 million restaurant workers in California and restaurant owners and operators is not completely clear.
The topic surfaced nationally during President Obama's State of the Union address. In March 2013, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said businesses could absorb a minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour.
The topic has already been on ballots in select California cities.
The California Restaurant Association (CRA) doesn't have a formal position on the issue but cautions that the economy is fragile and restaurants are trying to understand how the impact of health care reform will affect operations.
"We have a fragile economy and restaurants work on margins of 1 percent to 6 percent," CRA spokesperson Angelica Pappas told me. "Any increase in costs are tough for operators to absorb.
In San Jose, the minimum wage was increased starting March 1, 2013 from $8 per hour to $10 per hour. The CRA warned of jobs cuts.
"We're not in favor of tying the minimum wage to automatic cost of living increases or make it automatically adjusted for inflation. Instead, we'd rather visit the issue every few years."
Pappas said San Francisco, Representative Pelosi's district, has had a minimum wage increase every year for the past 5 years but the city is not indicative of other economic regions in California.
"[Restaurant] operators understand the need for discussion since an increase hasn't occurred in 5 years. We want to mitigate any potential negative consequences."
Pappas said the restaurant industry in California has unique traits like servers and other workers who receive tips are also mandated to be paid minimum wage.