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The 91-year-old owner of the iconic Hollywood Arby's has closed the restaurant after 55 years due to the pandemic and California's $20 minimum wage

Grace Dean   

The 91-year-old owner of the iconic Hollywood Arby's has closed the restaurant after 55 years due to the pandemic and California's $20 minimum wage
  • The franchisee operating the 55-year-old Arby's on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard has closed it down.
  • "Truth is, I think it was the pandemic that did us in," 91-year-old owner Marilyn Leviton told KTLA-5.

Beef sandwich chain Arby's has closed its restaurant on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard after 55 years of operating under one owner.

The location is no longer listed on Arby's website. Local station KTLA-5 reported that it closed on Saturday.

Since the restaurant opened in January 1969, it has only had one owner: Marilyn Leviton, now 91, per KTLA-5.

"Truth is, I think it was the pandemic that did us in," Leviton told the station. "I really feel we would have closed during the pandemic, except for the federal loans."

Restaurants had to dramatically change their operations during the pandemic and pivot to just offering delivery, collection, and drive-thru as in-restaurant dining was prohibited under waves of lockdowns. Restaurants also had to deal with soaring food and labor costs.

There were other strains on the business, too, Leviton told KTLA-5.

"Arby's is demanding more technical equipment, which we couldn't afford, and I don't think the $20-an-hour wage increase helped either," she said.

California raised its minimum wage for workers at quick-service restaurant chains to $20 an hour in April — 25% more than the state's general minimum wage. The restaurant industry lobbied against the legislation, arguing that it would force them to up prices, lay off staff, and close restaurants.

Arby's did not immediately respond to a request for comment made by Business Insider outside regular working hours.

KTLA-5 reported that when the Arby's location first opened, it was the only fast-food restaurant on Sunset Boulevard with a view of the Hollywood sign.

Speaking about the closure of her restaurant, Leviton said: "I'm awfully sorry that it came to this."

"I think we did a good job for 55 years," she said.


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