AUGUST 30, 2013
Boloco CEO John Pepper
Boloco, a Boston-based burrito chain, pays its entry-level workers anywhere from $9 to $11 an hour, most of them making $10, with many who advance into higher roles making $17 an hour or more, CEO John Pepper .
Unlike the majority of his industry, Pepper told host Stuart Varney, “As opposed to constantly looking for ways to keep wages down, we’re constantly looking for practices and ways to bring wages up.” Given that labor is one of the biggest costs for fast food chains like his, many companies like McDonald’s and Burger King are notorious for keeping wages low. “It’s a lot easier to keep wages down than it is to find better practices, bolder practices, more efficient practices, which come through training,” he noted. But paying more and treating workers better is Boloco’s path to profits. “It’s about connecting with guests…and building a loyalty that drives people back, that alongside productivity is what builds sales and what builds profitability,” he said. “In that case you can pay people a lot more than what we pay as a rule in this industry.”
And while a burrito at his restaurant costs more than a burger at McDonald’s, a lot of the higher price is due to higher quality ingredients, not paying workers more. Those price increases for organic and humanely raised food have been greeted by customers who have said, “Okay, we’ll pay,” he noted. “But what about the people?” he asked. “What about paying people to come in and have high quality lives just like we want the cows to have high quality lives?”
Pepper isn’t the only CEO to . The In-N-Out burger chain starts employees at $10.50 an hour, and workers at Dicks Drive-In in Seattle start at $10. Moo Cluck Moo, a burger chain in Detroit, pays its workers $12 an hour.
Low pay in the fast food industry has sparked a wave of worker strikes, the largest of which . Pay for entry-level fast food jobs isn’t just about how much teenagers will make at after school jobs. The majority of these workers are and a third are supporting children on their wages. More and more workers are finding themselves in these jobs: Low-wage work has represented , replacing mid-wage positions.
Meanwhile, Pepper is right that higher wages can be a boon to business. Many studies have shown that raising the minimum wage and by raising productivity, lowering turnover, and increasing demand when workers have more money to spend.
- NYC Fast Food Workers Join National Strike (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- “Hold the burgers hold the fries make worker wages supersize!” (shepherdspiehole.typepad.com)
- Why the Fast Food Wage Fight Affects You More Than You Realize (dailyfinance.com)
- 5 Reasons the Fast-Food Worker Protests Are Off Base (entrepreneur.com)
- Local McDonald’s Forced To Close Amid Protest For Higher Wages (detroit.cbslocal.com)
- US fast-food workers on strike (bbc.co.uk)
- Fast-food walkout! Workers across U.S. protest low wages (nydailynews.com)
- U.S. fast-food workers hold walkouts over low pay (cbc.ca)
- Fast-food workers to strike nationwide over wages (foxnews.com)
- Fast-Food Strike: Dumb Strike, or the Dumbest Strike Ever? (Update: It’s the Dumbest Strike Ever) (pjmedia.com)