Fast-Food Restaurant Pays $12 An Hour To 'Culinarians'

Moo Cluck MooLabor protests at fast-food restaurants swept the country this spring, with workers at McDonald's, Burger King and other national chains demanding a "living wage." The fast-food majors haven't budged, but other, newer, quick-service restaurants are popping up with markedly more generous attitudes toward the workers who staff their counters.

The latest is Moo Cluck Moo in Dearborn Heights, a Detroit suburb, which pays its "culinarians" a starting wage of $12 an hour, reports The Detroit News. That increases to $14 an hour after employees spend six months on the job, pass a health safety class and receive an internal baking certification. That's almost twice the average hourly wage of a McDonald's crew member, according to Glassdoor.

"We did this because, in our mind, it was the right thing to do," co-founder Harry Moorhouse told The Detroit News about the industry-bucking payscale. "This is too hard of a job to pay minimum wage. So far, we haven't lost any employees and we sleep well at night knowing that."

More: Fast-Food Workers: My Protest Paid Off

Burger-flipping used to be a job for teens: badly paid and a rite of passage. But it's increasingly become a job for older Americans, many of them women, and many with children at home to support. The median age of fast-food workers is now over 28, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and for the women who make up two-thirds of the industry, it's over 32.

Moo Cluck Moo culinairan Jennifer Aguilar (pictured above) represents the new face of fast-food workers. "I'm a single mom with four kids, so this job has been like a blessing," she told The Detroit News. "They have respect for us." In tribute to her employer, Aguilar and two other co-workers tattooed her wrist with the restaurant's cow logo.

The enormously popular burger chain Shake Shack, concentrated in New York City, has similarly strayed from the fast-food norm in the way it compensates workers. Employees receive a monthly bonus of up to 1 percent of total revenue; extra bonuses for good work; and medical benefits and a 401(k) for anyone working over 25 hours a week, CEO Randy Garutti told CNBC.com.

Mexican chain eatery Chipotle also has been widely lauded for its worker-friendly policies, including benefits and two weeks paid vacation for entry-level workers, and an intensive promote-from-within culture. The company's restauranteurs also enjoy an average salary of $60,000 a year.

These outfits may occupy just a tiny slice of the fast-food market, but they prove that working in it doesn't have to mean a "McJob." "And really," said Shake Shack CEO Garutti, "doesn't a burger just taste better when a kind and happy person served it to you?"




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Greg

Workers are not being greedy in demanding a living wage. What is greedy are workers in unions who already earn close to $20/ hour wanting more and more. More adults are working fast food because millions lost jobs and homes when the financial crisis hit...and don't think corporate America did not see this coming...people's live are being played with by the elite and many Americans are scraping by while corporate America sits counting their profits...OK that's off my chest now...lol...

August 30 2013 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pruettee

It is called get at least your high school diploma. Get an education or learn a trade.

August 29 2013 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pruettee's comment
shadow3545

I have to say that you are appearantly ignorant about the current state of the economy. When I was working at Wal-Mart many of my fellow cashiers actually had college degrees. One was even an accredited substitute teacher. However if the jobs aren't there then it doesn't matter how well educated you are. You're not getting a job. I am currently two month's shy from getting my MBA and I'm not even sure if I will be able to find a decent job where I live. Education doesn't automatically equal "hired" in fact in some cases it can be a deterant because people may doubt that you will be a long term employee. "I'm sorry but, you seem 'overqualified' for this position" now of course it's never said to your face but, I'm sure a lot of jobs refuse to hire people well educated in fear of immediate turn over. The real fact of the matter is that big businesses are too blinded by current profits and trying to look good for their shareholders that they lose sight of the long term and continue to screw everyone they can in order to make addional revenue. They've also lost sight of the fact that if everyone pays their employees next to nothing then no one can purchase anything. The current market structure for business will not hold and will crumble under it's own weight if they aren't smart enough to understand that economies are only as successful as the people that make up the economy. No money in circulation means big businesses starve and die. Wal-Mart itself is already beginning to show signs of cracks if you look at their financial records and I'm betting other big businesses aren't looking much better.

October 11 2013 at 7:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jerry Harness

Even baby sitter now make $12/hour. Fast food workers are nothing more than glorified slaves. If you want someone to flip your burgers, mop your floors, clean your toilets, and care for your customers, please pay them a fair wage. It does not matter if they are teens, seniors, and working adults. Work is still work and if done satisfactory, it should be compensated.

August 14 2013 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jenny Lening

First off, I have a Bachelors Degree in Restaurant and Hospitality Management and working on an MBA degree, so please do not say fast food employees are uneducated. While the majority is, I am not! That is what is wrong with the service industry. People think fast food workers are uneducated and dumb! Some people actually consider making a management career out of it!

August 06 2013 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Watcher

In general I am willing to pay a little more so these chains can provide a decent wage and some medical benefits. But I have eaten in two Chipoltes in my town. In one I was ignored in favor of a customer who came in after I did but who spoke Spanish. This staff did not care about English speakers, and there was no manager available. In the other one, there was just general indifference to us customers. This is one chain that is not getting the kind of staff it is paying for. But do keep publishing news like this. Except for Chipolte, I will seek out these chains that pay better.

July 01 2013 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Watcher

I was surprised to see how well Chipolte pays their employees given how rotten their customer service is. In general I am willing to pay a little more so these chains can provide a decent wage and some medical benefits. But I have eaten in two Chipoltes in my town. In one I was ignored in favor of a customer who came in after I did but who spoke Spanish. This staff did not care about English speakers, and there was no manager available. In the other one, there was just general indifference to us customers. This is one chain that is not getting the kind of staff it is paying for. But do keep publishing news like this. Except for Chipolte, I will seek out these chains that pay better.

July 01 2013 at 10:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jperin913

Our son lives in Philly and LOVES Shake Shack. So not only are they doing the right thing by their employees but evidently the food is pretty good too. Way to go MCM, SS and Chipotle!!

June 26 2013 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
myfrend7325

Hard to give raises off $ 1 menus. Tough industry!

June 26 2013 at 9:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
voyagerdjc248

Moo Cluck Moo--you got my business. I expect to see business treat their employees well, and when they do I will reward them with My Business!

June 26 2013 at 9:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to voyagerdjc248's comment
skylinegra

Well, why don't we just pay all McDonalds workers $ 15 per hour and FULL health benefits? I mean, the owner makes enough right? Won't even have to raise the prices right?

June 26 2013 at 2:09 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to skylinegra's comment
voyagerdjc248

Do you really think McDonalds--one of the biggest companies in the WORLD cannot afford to pay its workers a fair wage, and yes even give benefits? Perhaps the problem is that the business model is all about more and more profit for the company on the backs of its very, very, poorly compensated workers. Perhaps the model should be less greed, more fairly compensated workers.
ANY business who cannot or will not pay the labor--- who makes their profit possible by the way--a fair wage -- should not be in business.

June 29 2013 at 10:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
drixnot

Be honest... would you rather eat the food prepared by someone that likes their job and feels respected or the food prepared by some underpaid person that hates their job.

June 26 2013 at 8:22 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to drixnot's comment
Watcher

Please see my above comment on Chipolte. There is no connection between pay and quality of service. I receive better service at McDs with all its problems than I do from Chipolte. That is why I was surprised to see them on this list. I have received better service attempting Spanish but mostly speaking English in restaurants in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries than I did in Chipolte's.

July 01 2013 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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