The Truth About How Much Money Fast Food Workers Really Make

The Truth About How Much Money Fast Food Workers Really Make

Who pays fast food workers best, and who pays
worst? Just how much money are the people serving
you your fast food meal getting paid? And what actions have these companies taken,
or been forced to take, in order to improve the wages of their workers? Here’s what you need to know about the money
fast food workers make. McDonald’s might just be the most iconic fast
food chain on the planet, and could make a decent claim to being one of history’s most
recognizable brands. Nowadays, the company employs around 210,000
workers in 36,000 locations around the world. But how much are those workers getting? According to the employment review site Glassdoor,
the average base pay for a McDonald’s worker at the lowest level is $9 per hour. This range is variable, however, mostly because
fast food wages tend to be decided by franchise owners rather than the corporations themselves. The average total pay comes to about $19,000
per year. Of course, that wage increases as you work
your way up the ranks; shift managers make an average of $11 per hour, while some department
managers make an average of $12 per hour. Recently, McDonald’s made headlines after
it finally relented and abandoned its long battle against campaigns aimed at raising
the minimum wage. The company announced that it will cease lobbying
to oppose minimum wage increases at any level, and they will not, quote, “participate in
association advocacy efforts designed to defeat wage increases.” For campaigners such as the “Fight for $15”
movement, this was nothing less than a huge victory. As the biggest rival to McDonald’s, it probably
won’t come as a huge surprise to find that Burger King’s wages aren’t too dissimilar. According to Glassdoor, the average hourly
pay for a Burger King cashier is $9. Shift and assistant managers, however, can
make as much as $11 per hour, and operations managers can even make as much as $67,580
per year, which isn’t a bad amount by any measure. Burger King has been no stranger to controversy
based around the way it treats and pays its workers. In April 2015, the company’s co-founder David
Edgerton suggested that a rise in the minimum wage to $15 could kill off the dollar menu. He said, “What’s going to happen, really, is you’re
going to see less and less of the quick and dirty kind of places…You’re not going to
get these dollar hamburgers anymore that both Burger King and McDonald’s had. I see a lot of $10 hamburgers arriving on
the scene.” Like McDonald’s and BK, Glassdoor suggests
that entry-level workers at KFC make an average base pay of $9 per hour. Shift supervisors can make around $10 per
hour while assistant managers appear to make an average of $12 per hour. Some reports even have restaurant general
managers making an average of $14 per hour, but that figure comes from only a handful
of reports. Pretty standard, but KFC has had a special
role to play in the fight against low wages, albeit unwittingly. Naquasia LeGrand is a KFC employee from Brooklyn
who became one of the faces of the Fight for $15 movement after being recruited by union
activists to join the campaign. LeGrand appeared on The Colbert Report to
promote the movement, telling him, “I worked at two KFCs and still couldn’t make
it. Still couldn’t see at least $300 a week. I did two KFCs.” Glassdoor has Subway’s average base pay as
$9 per hour (sound familiar?) with store managers appearing to make an average of $12 per hour,
and shift leaders and assistant managers making around $10 per hour. But the real difference between this company
and other fast food chains is that Glassdoor users have actually reported considerable
additional pay for Subway employees. According to the site, the average additional
pay for a Subway worker is $311, with some coming from bonuses and some from tips. Those bonuses seem a little less shiny, however,
when you consider that, according to a 2014 CNN analysis of data collected by the Department
of Labor, Subway leads the nation in wage violations and employee underpayment. According to the report, franchisees have
had to reimburse Subway workers over $3.8 million dollars over the years, as part of
around 17,000 different violations. Glassdoor reports that Wendy’s employees make
an average base hourly pay of, again, $9. Shift supervisors seem to make $11 per hour,
shift managers get an average of $10 per hour, and assistant managers hit an average of $12
per hour. Reports also suggest that restaurant general
managers tend to hover around $56,000 per year. Considering Wendy’s locations seem to be so
comfortable with paying its workers around $9 to $12 per hour, it does seem curious that,
in 2018, the company’s CEO blamed their low sales figures on income inequality in America. It’s a tough pill to swallow from a CEO who,
according to Eater, makes $55 for every dollar one of his employees makes. “There’s more to life than a little money,
you know.” At first glance, nothing seems too out of
the ordinary for Domino’s: Glassdoor suggests that their delivery drivers make an average
of $8 per hour, their assistant managers make around $11 per hour and their general managers
make about $45,058 per year. Pretty close to what we’ve seen before, right? Well, let’s dive into those delivery driver
stats. Glassdoor’s users reported an average of $6,111
in tips, with some claiming tips as high as $25,000. Considering people tend to be more willing
to tip their delivery drivers than they are cashiers in fast food restaurants, maybe the
delivery driver is a more lucrative job than the behind-the-counter worker, even if the
average wage is a little lower. To his credit, Domino’s ex-CEO Patrick Doyle
made a few positive statements in regards to wages during his tenure at the company. In 2015, Doyle, who, we should point out,
made $43 million in three years at Domino’s, told CNBC that the chain would have to raise
wages to meet competition and retain employees. “More people being employed means they’re
gonna buy more pizza. If that puts some upward pressure on wages,
that’s actually a great thing.” But, to be clear, like many fast food chains,
Domino’s stores are franchises, and it’s the owners of those stores who decide the exact
wages. In a relative departure from what we’ve seen
so far, Glassdoor reports that Chipotle’s average crew member salary is as high as $10,
and then there are tips, too. Impressively, the average rate for service
managers at Chipotle is actually $15, while kitchen managers make $12 per hour on average. As far as fast food wages go, this is all
pretty decent stuff. But the company hasn’t been without its fair
share of controversy when it comes to labor practices. In 2014, Chipotle began requiring its employees
to sign arbitration agreements to prevent them from getting in on a 10,000-person class-action
lawsuit that claimed the company was making employees work “off the clock,” that is, without
pay. Put short, an arbitration agreement forces
workers to resolve their differences with their employers via an independent arbitration
process rather than, say, class action lawsuits. In 2018, the Supreme Court declared that it
was perfectly legal for companies such as Chipotle to do just this. Unfortunately for them, this plan backfired
spectacularly. As of December 2018, Chipotle was facing almost
3,000 arbitration cases and counting from their own employees, who all claimed that
the company was refusing to pay them properly. Chipotle’s attempt to block these cases via
the courts was refused, with the judge who made that decision describing the company’s
actions as, quote, “unseemly.” According to Glassdoor, Taco Bell seems to
pay its workers an average of the standard $9 per hour. Shift managers hit around $11 per hour on
average, while assistant managers go up to $12 per hour and assistant general managers
can make $13 per hour. So far, so normal. But one benefit to working at Taco Bell, according
to one Glassdoor poster, is the employee discount which took off at least 50 percent on food
and drinks. And that’s where Taco Bell’s more recent wage
problems come into the picture. In 2018, a class action suit was leveled against
the company that claimed they had been forcing employees to stay on the premises to eat discounted
meals. Apparently, Taco Bell offered 30-minute meal
breaks during which workers were allowed to buy a meal at a heavy discount, on the condition
that they remained in the restaurant to do so. In the end, the court ruled in favor of Taco
Bell, insisting that taking the discounted meal was a choice on the part of employees,
and so the company hadn’t violated California law. Despite this, the court did grant summary
judgement for Taco Bell and reminded the company that employees should be able to use break
times as they wished, and could only force workers to remain on-site if they had chosen
to purchase a discounted meal. According to Glassdoor, Chick-fil-A team members
are paid, you guessed it, $9 per hour on average, with a few of the site’s users reporting a
smattering of cash bonuses and tips. Team leaders make $10 to $11 per hour on average,
shift managers make about $13 and managers can make around $14 per hour. These, however, are average wages of franchised
locations across America, and some branches of Chick-fil-A are going one step further. In 2018, The Washington Post reported that
the owner of a Chick-fil-A in Sacramento was planning to raise his employees’ wages from
$12 to $13 up to $17 to $18; a huge increase, well above what is demanded by most labor
campaigns. Eric Mason, the owner in question, had this
to say about the move: “As the owner, I’m looking at it big-picture
and long-term. What that does for the business is provide
consistency, someone that has relationships with our guests, and it’s going to be building
a long-term culture.” Glassdoor might suggest that Starbucks pays
its workers an average of about $11 per hour at the lowest level, but it’s that bonus cash
that really pays off for employees. The website reports that workers make an average
of $960 per year on tips, $663 in cash bonuses and even $403 in stock bonuses. On top of that, shift supervisors make about
$13 per hour, while shift managers can make an average of $15 per hour. Not bad. And the company seems to be making further
amends to its workers. In 2018, Starbucks spent $120 million to address
complaints made by the company’s baristas, who said they were getting paid too little
to be on the front lines of the business. Following their annual wage increase in January
2018, the company also claimed it would address imbalances between corporate employees and
in-store workers, expanding some of its benefits, such as paid paternity leave and sick time
that can be used to care for family members, to include non-corporate employees. According to Glassdoor, Dunkin’ pays their
workers an average of $9, that’s right, nine dollars, per hour, with many making a decent
return on tips, too. Wages for shift leaders go up to about $10
per hour on average, and assistant managers can expect to make around $11 per hour. Sadly, Dunkin’ workers shouldn’t expect to
see much of a change anytime soon. In 2015, Dunkin’ CEO Nigel Travis branded
the idea of a $15 per hour minimum wage, quote, “outrageous.” Despite admitting he supports, quote, “reasonable
increases” to the minimum wage, Travis insisted that small businesses and franchises would
be negatively impacted by such a hike. He went on to argue that it would even prevent
Dunkin’, a multibillion dollar company, from being able to make any new hires. Instead, Travis insisted, a living wage of
around $12 per hour was a far more reasonable demand to make. According to Glassdoor, Baskin-Robbins pays
its workers the seemingly-standard $9 per hour on average, though the website does have
some reports of cash bonuses and decent tips. Wages for shift leaders and assistant managers
increase up to an average of $11 per hour, which is about the same for assistant managers,
and managers can even make up to an average of $18 per hour. Not bad in general, but it’s still not exactly
excellent pay for a job that, according to one ex-employee, really is harder than it
looks. In a 2016 LinkedIn essay, Barack Obama suggested
his time at Baskin-Robbins had taught him some valuable lessons. He wrote, “Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can
be brutal on the wrists…And while I may have lost my taste for ice cream after one
too many free scoops, I’ll never forget that job, or the people who gave me that opportunity,
and how they helped me get to where I am today.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about fast food
are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.


45 thoughts on “The Truth About How Much Money Fast Food Workers Really Make”

  • I have worked in fast food before and its not the most lucrative career, but its a great start for someone who is getting thier first job to learn valuable skills in the work force no matter where you go. Its just sad how some people out there disrespect these people and have this i am better than you mentality.

    Not to mention these multi-millionaire CEOs are just simply greedy and will pay off any politician to keep these wages unliveable.

  • Dunkin donuts pays less than 9 dollars an hour in Florida and you're lucky to get 5 dollars tips in change after 9 hours of work with no break .

  • Lmao… fast food workers wanted $15 dollars an hour… Seattle gave to them
    And now they lost all of there government assistance

    Now they want to go back to min wage🤣🤣🤣

  • I live in Louisiana but work in Arkansas. I am a salary manager for a fast food restaurant.. Minimum wage is going up gradually to $11 p/h in Arkansas. Right now it’s at $9.25 and after January 1st it will be $10 and next year it will be $11. I don’t feel like all of my employees deserve that much but some of them do.

  • my chick fila down here pays I think 14 or 17 dollars (its 16 dollars) an hour I think, you can hardly find a job at this place, seems like no one leaves, and who would blame them, but sometimes Im glad I make 16 dollars an hour even if its only 4 days a week

  • McDonald's isn't fighting higher wages anymore because they are simply investing in the self order kiosk stations. No need to worry about wages when you can replace them with a machine.


  • I've worked fast food at a few places and unless it has changed in the last 5 years you get minimum wage….and do not expect more than 40 hours a week. Overtime is a dirty word in fast food. After 2 years at Arby's I got one nickle of a raise and lasting 2 years in it self is an accomplishment. Most got quit after a few months…6 months tops.

  • Minimum wage should not be at 15 dollars an hour unless you live in California and New York City the most expensive city’s in the US

  • Everyone complains that you can't make a living working fast food. Yeah no shit. Fast food jobs aren't meant to make you a living. They are designed to give young people work experience who should probably living at a college dorm or with their parents.

  • Anyone else's math better than mine? 210,000 Mickey D workers divided by 36,000 stores equals 5.8 employees PER STORE! Less than 6 employees per McDonald's? The one I worked at averaged around 35-40 employees & managers, depending on the time of year. It was open 364 days a year: 24 hrs. a day.

    Don't believe everything you hear without doing some homework. If Mickey D fed this data to #FASTFOOD, shame on them! What else in this video is questionable?

  • Brandon Mckittrick says:

    I work at Publix and make $12.00 since my first day only working at an cash register. Plus I get stock shares with the company.

  • If you know that the averages are coming from people who don't set the hourly rates, why quote them? In my state they still all pay min wage.

  • Mc.Donalds is total shit now.
    Takes forever to get your food and it SUCKS.
    Way to many LAZY BLACK PEOPLE work there that just don't give a fuck.

  • Now days it depends what part of country you work in. In Virginia workers make 8-9/hour where as in Austin same workers make 10-12/hour, where as in San Francisco same workers make 14/hour

  • When I worked fast food during college I worked 40 hours a week and got about $600 every 2 weeks after taxes. Looking at it now, that $1200 a month wouldn't even pay the rent for my 1 bedroom apartment.

    I genuinely feel bad for people who are stuck there. I think anyone who works 40+ hours should at least be able to pay bills and make some savings.

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