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McDonald's, Wendy's, and Other Fast-Food Chains Are Under Fire for This Reason

Not all companies do this.

Some of your favorite fast food restaurants are paying their employees under $15 per hour—all while the company CEOs get raises.

New data from The Company Wage Tracker shows that at restaurants like Arby's, Wendy's, and McDonald's, employees are making less than $15 per hour. The Company Wage Tracker is a tool which shows how many workers companies employ, how much revenue they generate, how much CEOs make, and what hourly workers make.

Between March 2021 and November 2021, Company Wage Tracker data shows that 56% of service workers surveyed made less than $15 per hour. According to data, Subway pays 23% of its employees under $10 an hour. McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and Waffle House offer similarly low wages.

pizza hut
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Related: 8 Worst Fast-Food Burgers to Stay Away From Right Now

Not surprisingly, CEOs of these major companies were making the most, and their wages even increased to an average of $15.3 million in 2020—as hourly worker wages dropped 2% to $28,000 annually.

"Low pay is not limited to 'mom-and-pop' stores—it is also widespread in big box stores, restaurants, and grocery stores that often have high CEO pay and revenue," said Ben Zipperer, economist at Economic Policy Institute. "A higher minimum wage and unions can put corporate greed in check and raise wages throughout the labor market."

The tracker also shows higher wages at a select few stores and restaurants, including Costco, UPS, and Amazon.

"Wages are far too low for far too many workers in the service sector, millions of whom staffed the frontlines during the pandemic," said Daniel Schneider, Professor of Public Policy and Sociology at Harvard University. But these data also show that higher wages are more than possible—they are already a reality for workers at some of the largest firms in the country."

Not all fast-food restaurants pay their employees on the low side. According to the data, In-N-Out Burger pays 14% of its workers at least $20 per hour.

Kristen Warfield
Kristen Warfield is the weekend editor for Eat This, Not That! and is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz’s journalism program in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Read more