The War for Workers

Fast-food chains offer perks to attract and keep employees.

July 30, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Fast-food chains are busy trying to hire and retain workers as the U.S. unemployment rate hit 3.7% in June, one of the lowest points in decades, reports Business Insider.

While some retailers, such as Amazon and Target, have raised wages, restaurant chains have focused on perks. Some common perks include flexible hours and career coaching. Other chains are coming up with new offers, such as Shake Shack, which is testing a four-day work week, and Chipotle, which is adding a new bonus system. Instant pay is another perk some restaurant chains are testing. Here are some of the best perks that fast-food chains have rolled out during the past year:

  • McDonald’s launched its “Where You Want to Be” campaign in October. It partners a handful of workers with experts, such as rapper Yazz and dermatologist Meena Singh, to discuss career options. The burger chain also introduced a free career and academic advising service for all restaurant employees.
  • Taco Bell recently started offering free meals to employees. The company also is known for its hiring parties, which provide free food in a festive atmosphere. Hiring managers are on hand to pass out applications and do interviews.
  • Chipotle announced in June that it would introduce a new quarterly bonus program that allows hourly workers to earn up to an extra month’s pay each year. Employees must meet certain criteria regarding sales, cashflow and throughput goals to earn the bonuses.
  • Starbucks has announced a partnership with to offer all employees—both corporate and in-store, part-time and full-time—a range of childcare and elder-care benefits. Employees receive 10 subsidized backup care days a year, with in-home care costing just $1 per hour and in-center backup childcare costing $5 per day. All Starbucks workers will have access to unlimited senior-care planning and a premium membership to at no charge.