Despite the fact that Americans eat billions of dollars worth of it every year, the profits from fast food companies don’t seem to trickle down to their employees. The fast food industry insists they couldn’t possibly pay their employees more than $7.25/hour and keep their unfulfilling food cheap, but the New York Times checked in this weekend and found that, shockingly, fast food companies can pay their employees nine, even ten dollars per hour and still stay in business.
The Times looked at wages at fast food restaurants Shake Shack, In-N-Out Burger and burrito chain Boloco. Boloco can afford to pay employees a median wage of $11.50/hour and still expand to 22 stores around New England, but paying employees like humans isn’t not just a genteel New England thing. In-N-Out is located primarily in expensive California and pays their employees at least $10.50/hour. Shake Shack has been successful enough that they’ve opened up 48 stores, per this Times story, despite paying starting their pay at $9.50 per hour and paying employees a median of $10.50/hour.
Hell, a combination of decent wages and things like health care and 401(k)s led to happier workers who stuck around, according to executives from the profiled companies. For Boloco, this meant less than making a 20 percent profit per restaurant, according to co-founder John Pepper, but the company’s executives have somehow managed to soldier on. It didn’t sound like McDonald’s was going to be following suit any time soon though. After all, they’ve got family to feed.