A Chick-fil-A restaurant located in Sacramento, California, is accepting applications for “hospitality professionals” —people who can “deliver an elevated dining experience to our guests” according to the online application. These employees will earn between $17 to $18 an hour, starting June 4. Although current workers at the fast-food chain already earn more than California’s $11 minimum wage—$12.50 or $13 an hour—franchise owner and operator Eric Mason said it’s important to offer his employees a livable wage. “We’re looking for people trying to raise families, improve their lifestyle,” he told local TV station ABC10.
In addition, all employees will receive paid sick leave, while supervisors will receive paid time off. “That really makes the biggest difference,” said Mason. “The people is the real key component to successful businesses.”
Although Mason admitted that the move will come with some challenges, his business will likely benefit in the long run by offsetting the costly expense of high turnover. According to studies, higher wages help improve the employee retention rate, which can be as high as 100% a year in the restaurant industry. In turn, it costs a business owner time and money to find new talent and then train their replacement(s).
The franchisee added that he wants to give his employees the opportunity to work full time for a livable wage as opposed to many low-wage workers who balance multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. “Maybe they could just work one job, and then it’s sustainable. What that does for the business is provide consistency, someone that has relationships with our guests. It’s going to be building a long-term culture.”
While the move is commendable, it’s only a first step in addressing the epidemic of economic inequality. The CEO-to-worker pay ratio gap has ballooned more than 930% since 1978 as CEOs of the 350 largest companies earn 100 to 300 times more than their average workers. According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, the average CEO pay is 271 times the salary of a typical worker.
Meanwhile, average estimated compensation for executives at Chick-fil-A, including base salary and bonus, is $233,532. That’s $112 per hour. The most compensated Chick-fil-A exec makes $700,000 a year while Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan T. Cathy has a net worth of $4.9 billion.