Working in the food service industry is not for everyone. This is especially true when talking about fast food.
While the industry offers an excellent opportunity for those looking to gain work experience or take on a second job, it can also be physically demanding and stressful.
While things such as flexible schedules, free food/drinks, and benefits are obvious bonuses, there are several drawbacks. Many disgruntled employees point to low wages and a lack of advancement opportunities as barriers standing in their way.
While there are many poorly reviewed fast-food establishments, several offer compelling packages for their employees and stand out as positive places to work. Finding these makes for intriguing consideration when hunting for a new job.
Best Fast Food Restaurants for Employees
Here is a look at some of the easiest fast-food restaurants to work at and what past/present employees have to say about their experiences.
Starbucks is a brand synonymous with quality service, but what is it like for employees?
There are severely compelling perks for employees that help the company rank among the top fast-food establishment to work at.
Some excellent features while on shift include discounts on Starbucks drinks and food.
Some other nice positives include free enrollment in online courses at Arizona State University. This makes it an excellent option for those looking to pursue a degree.
Other tangible perks include benefits for those working 20+ hours, including 401K and stock options.
There are also some downsides. Wages are stagnant (anywhere from $10-15 for most positions). Also, depending on the volume of customers and the complexity of specific orders, the job can be stressful at times.
Some employees have also complained about the difficulty of getting hours, making it hard to hit the 20+ threshold required for benefits.
As of 2022, some Starbucks locations in the US are unionizing, which will only improve worker conditions.
Chick-Fil-A is one of the largest fast-food chains in the US, well known for its signature chicken sandwiches and more.
When working at Chick-Fil-A, employees highlight several benefits that make for a more manageable workplace.
This includes competitive to above-average pay, good communication from management, and in-depth training. The company is also great at offering flexible schedules designed around the needs of its employees.
Other perks include free/discounted food and scholarship opportunities.
On the flip side, some employees report feeling overworked or stressed out due to the demanding nature of the work during peak hours.
In-N-Out Burger is a regional fast-food chain with locations primarily in California and the American southwest. It is well known for maintaining a dedicated and loyal customer base, as well as reliable and tasty menu items.
There are several stand-out benefits to being an employee, including an excellent work atmosphere/friendly work environment.
The payscale also ranges on the high side for fast-food jobs, and there is a range of amazing benefits, including health, vision, and dental.
Regardless of your role, the laid-back culture makes it one of the easier fast food places to work at.
What may be beneficial to some can also be cumbersome to others. For instance, the flexible schedule is a bit of a double-edged sword.
While part-time workers might love the flexibility to build around, others may find the lack of consistency a bit frustrating.
Chipotle is a fast-food Mexican Grill famous for an assortment of tasty burritos, quesadillas, and tacos.
When it comes to employment at Chipotle, some pros include free food while on shift and 50% off on days you are not working.
Like others on this list, the company allows flexible work hours, making it ideal for those looking to balance a second job or personal life.
Chipotle’s food is prepared in front of customers on an assembly line. This forces employees to work at a fast pace.
Many employees complain that the position is physically draining, but this depends on your ability to work quickly/under pressure.
Shake Shack is a fast-food burger joint that has exploded in popularity over the past decade, with locations worldwide.
Employee reviews are generally favorable, including the company culture, competitive salaries, and decent benefits.
While more stressful during high volume periods (lunch/dinner), most employees do not report being overly stressed out in their positions.
While the job is relatively easy, one area of concern among employees is a lack of advancement opportunities making it challenging to pursue a long-term career with the franchise.
Shake Shack’s menu features burgers, milkshakes, and other sandwiches.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Five Guys is a casual fast-food establishment that features an assortment of burgers, sandwiches, and fries.
When it comes to working with this company, reviews are a bit of a mixed bag. In many instances, positive/negative experiences come down to individual managers.
The inconsistency across the boards can lead to a variety of different perspectives.
Many employees highlight the flexible hours and the ability to take on increased time for extra pay. Free food/beverages is also a nice feature.
Some drawbacks include a relatively high turnover rate leading to constant new faces and a lack of familiarity among coworkers. This can be frustrating for longer-term employees.
Taco Bell is a well-known chain featuring quick over-the-counter Mexican cuisine.
There are some positives to working with the brand, including free food during shifts and adequate break periods.
Employees also point to decent flexibility when crafting weekly schedules and requesting days off.
The pay range varies depending on location but tends to skew a bit more on the lower end.
Employees with negative views tend to point to poor communication from management, a stressful work culture, and high turnover rates.
Panda Express is a fast-food establishment that serves American Chinese food.
Employees have a lot of positives to highlight when it comes to working with Panda Express. Some notable benefits include strong company culture, a friendly work environment, and flexible work hours.
Pay is competitive, and employees highlight possible expansion/upward mobility within the company. Employees generally skew on the younger side, making this an ideal position for college students to consider.
While there is a possibility to take on additional work, some employees point to feeling a bit overworked and seeing their work/life balance suffer as a result.
Best Fast Food Restaurants for Employees
- In-N-Out Burger
- Shake Shack
- Five Guys Burgers and Fries
- Taco Bell
- Panda Express
Ultimately, working with any of these eight fast-food companies comes with its pros and cons. What some may view as beneficial, others may see as negative.
With that being said, all of these companies stand out in the industry due to some compelling features they offer their employees that make the job both easier and more rewarding. It’s essential to consider your circumstance and what you are looking for when evaluating each individually.
If you are looking to pick up some work in the fast-food industry, you could do much worse than the options listed above.
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