A top executive at White Castle cooked up a spicy retort on Wednesday to calls by some fast-food workers to raise the minimum wage to $15 a hour from $7.25, arguing such an increase would force the hamburger chain to close nearly half of its locations and lay off thousands of workers.
"To more than double the federally mandated starting wage wouldn't be bad for White Castle, it would be absolutely catastrophic," Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Wednesday.
Such an increase would force the closure of more than 200 of its 406 locations across the United States, Richardson said, with any remaining locations "glowing embers. They would be dying stars."
Doubling the minimum wage is "beyond the fringe," Richardson continued, because it would be unsustainable and would result in teenage unemployment. He said White Castle is often able to retain those workers and boasted that 1 in 4 employees has been with the company for 10 years or more.
The average White Castle worker, not including management, makes 32 percent more than the minimum wage, he added.