Your McDonald’s burger or Chipotle burrito may soon get a little more expensive in the Big Apple.

This week, the fast-food board appointed by the Governor Andrew Cuomo to investigate raising minimum wages, recommended a mandatory pay increase to $15 per hour for minimum wage workers at fast food chains across the state but starting with New York City. The three-member board approved a step increase to $10.50 an hour by the end of 2015, $12 by the end of 2016, $13.50 by the end of 2017, and $15 by the end of 2018 in New York City. In the rest of the state, the hourly wage would rise each year, hitting $15 on July 1, 2021.

The mandate would apply to all workers in fast-food restaurants that are part of chains with at least 30 outlets. Fast food restaurants are those which food and drinks are served at counters where customers pay before eating and can take their food with them if they choose.

The next step in the process is for the state’s labor commissioner, who is a Cuomo appointee and appoints the wage board, must accept the recommendation. It’s expected that he’ll do so.

This is a big win for labor unions and national campaigns that have galvanized fast food workers to protest and lobby for a $15 minimum wage. It's a potential lose for the economy (including people who likely will lose their jobs if the minimum wage is hiked).

The restaurant industry is concerned – particularly smaller chains. They feel that this recommendation is unfairly singling them out from among other minimum wage employers in their industry. Although big national chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s have been the targets of this campaign, those that will struggle and suffer under higher wages most are the regional restaurants chains.

The New York Times reports:

The restaurant industry has chafed at these decisions. “We continue to say that we think it’s unfair that they singled out a single segment of our industry,” Melissa Fleischut, the executive director of the New York State Restaurant Association, said.

But the association noted that the impact would be felt at much smaller chains than McDonald’s or Taco Bell. Companies as small as Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, a chain of about 100 casual restaurants in New York City, would appear to fit the board’s definition.

Economists predicted the increases would ripple out to other restaurants and other industries that pay low wages.

“It will likely put pressure on employers in other industries to raise wages in order to compete for workers,” Irene Tung, a policy researcher for the National Employment Law Project, said. “It would be very attractive for somebody working at the Gap, making around $9 an hour, to look across the street and see Chipotle paying $2 or $3 or $4 more and decide that they would rather work at Chipotle,” she said, referring to the fast-food burrito chain.

Laura Jankowski, who owns three Tropical Smoothie cafes on Long Island, said she had already raised prices to offset the increase in the state minimum wage that took effect last year. Though she was not certain that the new wage rules would apply to her businesses, she feared customers would complain at paying much more than $4.99 for a 24-ounce drink.

Most likely, she said, she would have to make do with fewer workers, all of whom she said were high school or college students working part-time. “It really is going to come to less people,” Ms. Jankowski said by telephone from her cafe in Port Jefferson Station. “What I envision is cutting labor, hiring less people, having less people per shift.”

Fewer high school students with jobs, working fewer hours sounds like the ideal situation doesn’t it? And what about those who are unemployed?

Policymakers often neglect to consider how businesses will respond when they pass legislation that increases the costs of doing business. Franchises– particularly in the restaurant industry – aren’t raking in boatloads of profit so incremental increases in their costs will eat away at their profit or force them to increase their prices.

In either case, they will get to appoint where operating is unsustainable. If you raise prices too much, your customers will go elsewhere, but if you dig into your profits to the point of breaking even or losses then there’s no incentive for you to stay in business nor could you afford to.

Those who’ve fought for the $15 minimum wage in the fast food industry were smart to make big corporations the foes to rally support, but big companies are already moving in this direction. The employers they’re hurting are neighborhood restaurant chains that add regional and cultural flair to their communities and employ people from their communities.

My mother always said, “Don’t cut your nose to spite your face.”

PS. New Yorkers should also take note of what has happened in Seattle as the result of the minimum wage hike.