Chick-fil-A franchise owner Eric Mason says he is trying to break the cycle of rapid turnover in the fast food industry by raising the hourly rate he pays his workers.
Mason said that next week he will begin the process of hiring what the company calls “hospitality professionals”, offering them a starting salary of $17 an hour at his franchise near the Sacramento airport. These workers currently start off making between $12 and $13 an hour at this location.
Marena Weisman, franchise marketing manager, said that the restaurant will hire between 35 to 45 new employees at this new hourly rate, offering them positions working at the front counter or in the kitchen. Not to be left out of the boon, all current employees are also encouraged to apply for these positions and earn the higher wage.
Mason said that his restaurant is looking to hire people who do not want to jump around from one place of employment to another. He recognizes that in order to attract employees to stay and build long-term relationships with customers, he will need to pay them a living wage suitable for workers trying to raise families and improve their standard of living.
Mason’s decision to raise the wages at his own franchise will be closely watched to see how it affects turnover. Chick-fil-A corporate offices maintain that each franchise is free to increase and decrease wages as they see fit, so long as they comply with national and state standards. Currently, the minimum wage in the state of California is $11 per hour. However, new legislation mandates that this wage will rise to $15 an hour by the end of the year 2022. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees in the fast food industry in California bring home an average of $11.42 per hour. This figure is approximately one dollar more than the national average, thanks in part to Califonia’s higher minimum wage laws. Even workers minimum wage expect annual raises, so this figure continues to raise wages.
Mason hopes that by offering substantially more than the going rate in the industry, his franchise will attract better talent and that they will be motivated to work hard and stick around, thus saving him money in the long run.