May 13, 2021 - Economy & Business

McDonald's raising hourly wages at company-owned restaurants

Picture of a McDonald's sign with a sign below it that says "work here $15 and free meals"
Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

McDonald's on Thursday announced it will be increasing hourly wages for current employees at company-owned restaurants, with entry-level staff eligible to earn up to $17.

Why it matters: The company said it hopes the move will attract new applicants as it looks to hire 10,000 new employees ahead of the "busy summer season."

  • Wages for entry-level jobs will rise to between $11 and $17 an hour and shift manager wages will range between $15 and $20, depending on the restaurant location.
  • McDonald's said it expects the average salary in company-owned restaurants to reach $15 by 2024.
  • The company will also add more benefits for eligible employees, including paid time off, a 401k plan, and free meals.
  • Yes, but: "The pay increases do not affect the 95 percent of the nearly 14,000 restaurants in the United States that are independently owned, only the 650 company-owned restaurants," The New York Times writes.

The big picture: The fast food industry has been struggling to hire new employees. FAT Brands CEO Andy Wiederhorn told Reuters that "most recent stimulus check and unemployment benefits have been a catalyst for people to stay at home" instead of looking for work.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Felix Salmon: While this policy applies only to McDonald’s-owned restaurants, franchisees will feel a lot of pressure to follow suit. The all-in cost to McDonald’s and restaurant owners is likely to be significantly lower than the amount that wages are increased, thanks to lower turnover.

What they're saying: "The marketplace is forcing stores like Walmart + McDonalds to compete for workers by raising their wages," said Barry Ritholtz, chair and CIO of Ritholtz Wealth Management.

  • "Companies that pay a decent wage CostCo, Trader Joe’s, Target + Starbucks demonstrated you didn’t need to impoverish your staff to be profitable," he added.
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