One might find it hard to believe that fast food workers could ever make six-figure salaries, but that may be the case for some pretty soon. Taco Bell has announced that it is testing $100,000 salaries for some managers in its corporate-owned stores. The chain is also offering all employees in its corporate-owned stores paid sick time.
The sick time is a no-brainer, as failing to provide paid sick time to employees is just asking for sick employees to come in to work despite being in ill health. While that may not be detrimental in an office environment, for a business that prepares food for the public that’s a recipe for spreading illness to thousands of people.
It will be interesting to see what results from the six-figure salary experiment. You would have to imagine that those salaries are being tested in areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC, places where even that amount of money doesn’t go very far, but in which that type of salary should still provide a reasonable standard of living.
The push for $15 minimum wages around the country has highlighted the fact that fast food work was never seen as a career, it was always just a step on the ladder to bigger and better jobs. But with so many Americans competing for a declining number of high-paying jobs, many end up getting stuck working in restaurants. That’s especially true for millennials, who are the most heavily indebted generation in US history.
It will be interesting to see whether the six-figure managerial salary results in cost-cutting elsewhere, like adding self-service touch-screen ordering kiosks, floor-cleaning robots, or other methods of paring labor costs. With an increasing trend towards automation, labor-intensive industries such as fast food will increasingly look to trim costs wherever they can. So for every manager now making $100,000 a year, it’s likely that one or more employees may end up out of work as a result.