Jun 30, 2021 - Economy

Fast-food hiring frenzy

Illustration of a fast food sign with a dollar sign on top that reads "money!"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Frantically trying to hire workers, fast-food franchises are offering aggressive incentives to get candidates in the door.

Why it matters: Hourly workers are hard to find, just as people are starting to venture out to restaurants and take vacations that should include lots of fast food stops.

What's happening: Chains are offering higher salaries and other perks to compete for food service workers.

  • Chipotle increased its average pay to $15 an hour, and is offering career advancement opportunities to manager positions with potential six-figure salaries. A window sign at a San Francisco Chipotle (spotted by Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva) touted $20.50 an hour.
  • Wendy's is offering $100 signing bonuses, referral bonuses and same-day pay.
  • Dunkin' Donuts has posted signs on its drive-through menus offering benefits such as healthcare, flexible schedules and paid time off.
  • A McDonald's in Arlington, Va., touted $500 sign-on bonuses. At an Orlando Cuba Libre, candidates were offered $1,000 bonuses, with the option to be paid in bitcoin.

Between the lines: The desperation for workers means many food-service outfits have to loosen their hiring standards and put up with sub-par workers longer to keep the lights on.

What to watch: The high demand for food service workers this summer could provide a variety of opportunities for first-time workers who want to gain some experience — such as teenagers, who are having their best employment summer since 1953, per CBS.

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