In a Blow to Fish Taco Lovers, Rubio’s to Close 48 California Locations

In a Blow to Fish Taco Lovers, Rubio’s to Close 48 California Locations

Rubio's Coastal Grill in Yorba Linda, Calif., in November 2023. (Google Maps/Screenshot via California Insider)

Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin


Updated: 6/5/2024


Rubio’s Coastal Grill, loved by locals for its original fish tacos, promptly closed 48 California locations at the end of May in part because of the rising cost of doing business in the state, the company confirmed June 3.
It’s the latest fast-food restaurant chain to close locations or curtail operations in the Golden State following the state’s decision to hike mandatory pay for fast-food workers to $20 an hour.
“Making the decision to close a store is never an easy one,” said a Rubio’s Coastal Grill spokesperson to The Epoch Times in an email. “The closings were brought about by the rising cost of doing business in California.”
After a thorough review of its operations and the current business climate, the company decided to close the underperforming locations May 31, while keeping 86 stores in California, Arizona, and Nevada open, the spokesperson added.
“While painful, the store closures are a necessary step in our strategic long-term plan to position Rubio’s for success for years to come,” the spokesperson said.
Democrats in the California Legislature passed a law last year to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 an hour—$4 more than the state’s minimum wage—which went into effect April 1.
The new law applies to restaurants offering limited or no table service and are part of a chain with at least 60 locations nationwide.
Restaurants operating inside grocery stores are exempt, as well as those producing and selling bread as a stand-alone item.
The wage hike has prompted several food chains to hike prices, lay off workers, close locations, or reduce employee hours across the state. Some restaurants have installed ordering kiosks, leaving workers to focus on preparing food orders.
The California Restaurant Association cautioned against further increases in the state’s minimum wage.
“Daily headlines have chronicled job losses, reduced working hours, restaurant closures and higher prices for California’s inflation-weary consumers as a direct result of this minimum wage hike,” the association reportedly said in a recent statement following Rubio’s closures.
Rubio’s closed 11 outlets in Northern California, 24 in the Los Angeles area, and 13 in San Diego, which added to several other locations closed in the past three years when it shrank its footprint by 7 percent.
Although the corporate office declined to provide a list of the latest closures, the corporation’s website posted the following lists:
  • Adelanto
  • Anaheim Hills
  • Brea
  • Cerritos
  • Chula Vista’s Eastlake location
  • El Cajon’s Parkway Plaza location
  • Elk Grove
  • Escondido
  • Foothill Ranch
  • Fountain Valley
  • Fullerton
  • Huntington Beach on Beach Boulevard
  • Kearny Mesa on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
  • La Habra
  • La Jolla at University of California, San Diego
  • La Jolla Town Center
  • Lakewood
  • Lodi
  • Long Beach at Belmont Shore
  • Marina Del Rey
  • Oceanside
  • Ontario
  • Orange on Main Street
  • Orange on Tustin Avenue
  • Oxnard
  • Pacific Beach
  • Pasadena on East Colorado Boulevard
  • Placentia
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Rancho Cordova
  • Rancho Santa Margarita
  • Roseville on Douglas Boulevard
  • Roseville on Rocklin
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego at Nexcom
  • San Jose at Brokaw Plaza
  • San Marcos Theaters
  • Santa Ana at Hutton Centre
  • Santa Clarita
  • Seal Beach
  • Solana Beach
  • Sorrento Mesa
  • Stockton
  • Sunnyvale
  • Torrey Highlands
  • Tracy
  • Tustin Marketplace
  • Ventura
  • Visalia
  • Vista
  • Walnut (closed in late 2023)
  • Whittier

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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