6 Reasons Why Fast Food Workers Should Get Paid More

6 Reasons Why Fast Food Workers Should Get Paid More

Written by: .

We all know fast food employees are looked down upon in society. Most assume these are just jobs for teenagers, and some argue that since they have “easy” positions, they shouldn’t get paid more. 

Fast food workers should be paid more because they work stressful jobs in a fast-paced environment, and getting paid more would improve job satisfaction and save the company more money in the long run due to less employee turnover. Additionally, the cost of living is rising.

Fast food is not an easy job, and it certainly isn’t just for teenagers. Over the past decade, more people have found themselves working in fast food to make ends meet for themselves and their families. In the rest of this article, I will explain why these workers deserve more pay.

1. Working in a Fast Pace Environment Is Stressful

Despite what many people think, working in fast food isn’t an easy job. Some workers experience multiple unpleasant customers every single day. Usually, these customers end up yelling at the poor worker. Being yelled at is mentally draining, even if the manager has solved the issue.

Furthermore, some fast-food restaurant workers aren’t fortunate enough to have managers that back them up when customers are being unreasonable. Some workers quit due to their manager’s or the customers’ behavior. 

Imagine how much pressure you’d feel while being yelled at, hustling to make food within minutes, being berated by your manager, and then being forced to still serve the customer with your best attitude and smile. This is mentally draining, and no one should have to deal with this abuse while working for minimum wage. 

When you are working at a job you hate, you are damaging your psychological health. Check out my article about the five common psychological side effects of hating your job. Hopefully, it will help you cope with the stresses of your job while searching for a higher-paid position.

2. Companies Make Enough To Pay Living Wages But Don’t

Fast food corporations make enough to pay their employees more than minimum wage; they just don’t do it. Did you know that according to Statista, McDonald’s generated $23.22 billion in 2021? McDonald’s could easily afford to raise its wages. 

So why don’t they?

Fast food companies are reluctant to raise prices on their products because they’re afraid consumers won’t purchase them if the price increases. They work off the theory that if they pay their workers less, they can keep their competitive prices. 

If these companies can afford to pay out their stock buyers and higher-up employees, they should pay the workers generating this revenue more. It would make sense for all the mental and physical work fast food workers endure. 

3. Higher Pay Means Less Reliance on Public Aid

Believe it or not, most fast food workers end up applying for and receiving public aid due to their paychecks being insufficient to cover their needs. It is sad and ridiculous that they must find other ways to cover their food and housing needs while working full-time.

Fast food restaurants usually have their workers go to food pantries and receive cash assistance and other government-funded public aid to justify their low-pay positions. At least 70% of full-time employees are on SNAP and Medicaid.

Fast food companies like McDonald’s and retail workers alike have been acknowledged by the GAO in a report that found their employees have to have federally-funded public assistance to get by. Bernie Sanders commissioned this report, then tweeted that these findings were “outrageous” and called out the Walton family in the process.

Fast food workers deserve to be paid a wage that will not only put food on the table for their families but also make it so they can afford healthcare and not rely on Medicaid. Any job should pay their employees enough to cover healthcare. 

4. The Cost of Living Is Rising

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer price index has risen 7.1 percent, making it harder for those making minimum wage to live off of their jobs. When prices increase for every necessity, people need more money just to live.

To even be qualified for an apartment, landlords are wanting tenants to make three times the rent in order to be considered. Employees who are working in fast food aren’t able to cover that without having some sort of public aid to help them. 

With rent increasing, gas increasing, and food increasing, some fast-food restaurant workers have found themselves working two jobs simultaneously just to make ends meet. Some of these employees are single parents, so their income alone is all they can rely on to feed their children. 

If workers aren’t paid more, they delay bills or even sacrifice food and proper clothing to have a roof over their heads. To put it in perspective, imagine having to decide if you can wait until the next payday to pay the electric bill. It’s stressful, isn’t it?

Giving workers more per hour will make it so they don’t have to worry about when their electricity will be shut off, if their rent will be late, or if they’ll be evicted. Being able to pay our bills with a single full-time job is something we all deserve.

5. Increased Pay Creates Higher Job Satisfaction

If you are working at a job that pays you well, you are bound to be happy that you can pay your bills. Who wouldn’t want to be stress-free when it comes to paying all of your bills and not struggling? 

When fast food workers are paid a lower minimum wage, they are stressed out that they won’t be able to make ends meet. Making $9 or less is not something to live on, but some people accept it because they usually have no other options. So this leads to looking for other jobs to work as well while still making minimum wage.

If employees are working multiple jobs, then they would work their shifts sacrificing sleep or any other need, making this dangerous for them to work and could lead to a lawsuit if an accident were to occur on the job.

Paying workers a better wage increases workplace morale, so they are less stressed and happy with their checks and can enjoy working for the company. Fast food franchises would benefit from this and not lose money from unsatisfied customers and high turnover rates.

6. It Would Save the Company More Money Over Time

According to Indeed, the fast food industry has one of the highest turnover rates compared to retail and hospitality. Who wants to stay at a job that won’t get them anywhere and can’t support them?

Employees who are unhappy with company treatment are more than likely to go on strike. Workers are calling out their employers on all media possible and customers more likely than not, want to support a business for underpaying and mistreating their employees. 

If employees are paid a decent wage, then, in the long run, the company will have a better image and can reduce this turnover rate. With a better vision in the public eye, franchises can regain customers’ trust and still meet profit expectations. 

More workers will stay at their jobs if they are paid decently. Meaning not only will this make the employees happy, but their productivity will also reflect in the food they serve to customers. Better food quality is something restaurants strive for, and happier workers can deliver and meet these expectations.

Sources and References

About The Author

Nathan Brunner
Linkedin, Twitter

Nathan Brunner is a labor market expert. He is a mathematician who graduated from EPFL.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job board where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.