In a heartbreaking end to a 55-year legacy, the family-owned Arby’s Roast Beef on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood has closed its doors for good, citing California’s new $20-an-hour minimum wage law as the final “nail in the coffin.”

For over five decades, this Arby’s has been a fixture near Bronson Avenue, its iconic cowboy hat sign a familiar sight. However, as captured by FOX 11’s SkyFOX camera on Tuesday, the sign now reads, “Farewell Hollywood. TY for 55 great years.”

The restaurant served its last meal on Saturday, leaving a significant void in the local community. Gary Husch, the general manager and son-in-law of the original owner, shared the devastating impact of the recent wage hike with the Los Angeles Times. “With inflation, food costs have gone way up and the $20-an-hour minimum wage has been the nail in the coffin,” he lamented.

The story of this Arby’s is one of hard work and perseverance. Marilyn Leviton, now 91, opened the franchise in January 1969, just months before the historic moon landing. Yet, on Friday, loyal Arby’s workers were met with the grim news that their shifts would be their last.

A hand-written sign now reads “Permanently Closed,” and plywood boards cover the once-bustling restaurant. “I’m awfully sorry that it came to this. I think we did a good job for 55 years,” Leviton told KTLA-TV, reflecting on the proud history of the establishment.

This closure is part of a broader trend as businesses across California struggle to cope with the state’s new $20-an-hour minimum wage for fast food workers, which took effect on April 1. Beloved taco chain Rubio’s Coastal Grill recently shuttered dozens of locations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Similarly, Fosters Freeze closed a location near Fresno, with the franchise owner unable to sustain the higher wages.

Leviton’s Arby’s, known for the chain’s famed “We got the meats” slogan, had already been facing challenges in recent years. “I think it was the pandemic that did us in,” Leviton admitted. “I really feel we would have closed during the pandemic [if it weren’t] for the federal loans.”

Adding to the woes, Husch pointed out, “A lot of the offices around this area are empty now, and we’re just not getting the same foot traffic we did before.” The impact of the pandemic, combined with soaring operational costs, has created a perfect storm for many small businesses.

The ripple effects of the wage hike are evident. According to analytics firm, visits to major chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King have decreased since the law went into effect. These chains, alongside others like Chipotle and Starbucks, have responded by hiking menu prices, some by as much as 8%.

Even California’s beloved In-N-Out Burger has not been immune. The price of its double-double burger combo in Los Angeles County has jumped to $11.44, a 76-cent increase from last year.

The new law also mandates steep 25% pay raises for managers at fast food restaurants, with minimum annual salaries rising from $66,560 to $83,200. At Raising Cane’s, general managers can now see their annual pay reach $174,000, thanks to bonuses tied to sales and profit.

As these wage policies continue to take their toll, one thing remains clear: the cost of doing business in California is becoming increasingly unsustainable for many, forcing cherished establishments like Hollywood’s iconic Arby’s to bid farewell.