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."
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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