- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2021

McDonald’s on Thursday said it is raising hourly wages at its company-owned restaurants by an average of 10% as it tries to hire 10,000 more employees for the busy summer season.

The announcement comes amid a shortage of workers for fast-food restaurants and other companies looking to keep up with rising demand as the COVID-19 pandemic eases alongside the vaccine rollout. Chipotle, a burrito chain, recently announced wage increases for its own hiring blitz.

McDonald’s officials said its increases will be rolled out of the next several months. Entry-level workers will make at least $11-$17 an hour, while the starting range for shift managers will start at $15-$20 an hour based on restaurant location.

All told, the company expects the average hourly wage for its company-owned restaurants to increase to $15 an hour by 2024. It said some restaurants are already there.

“These actions further our commitment to offering one of the leading pay and benefits packages in the industry,” said Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA.

For now, the announcement applies to 36,500 employees who work at company-owned sites. It is a small subset of the chain’s workforce since 95% of its restaurants are franchised out.

It should also serve as a recruiting tool as the chain and other companies look to rebuild after a punishing pandemic.

Some Republican lawmakers say generous unemployment benefits are keeping workers at home instead of working, while the Biden administration has pushed for higher wages to draw them out. 

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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