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Fast-Food Worker Salary in the United States

How Much Does a Fast-Food Worker Make in the United States?

The average base salary for a Fast-Food Worker in the United States is $2,592.50 a month, or $31,110 per year, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

Fast-food workers rarely receive tips; unlike in sit-down restaurants where 92% of individuals always or often leave a tip, only 12% do so at fast-food establishments with no servers.

[Source: Pew Research]

This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data.

How Much Does a Fast-Food Worker Make Hourly?

The average hourly wage for a Fast-Food Worker is $14.48. This is well below the national average which stands at roughly $28 per hour but above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Average Fast-Food Worker Base Salary:
What can I earn as a Fast-Food Worker?Your salary is 0 the US national average
$14.48
$14.48
14.48

Fast-Food Worker Salary by Year

Currently, the salary of a Fast-Food Worker is at an all-time high and is approximately 33.7% higher than what it was five years ago.

Browse the chart below for detailed insights into Fast-Food salaries over the last five years.

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]

This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

How Much Does a Fast-Food Worker Make Weekly?

The weekly salary for a Fast-Food Worker stands at $579.2, which is about 40.38% of what a typical worker in the U.S. earns.

What Is a Typical Salary Range for a Fast-Food Worker in the U.S.?

Some Fast-Food Workers may earn as little as $22,190 annually. This places them at the 10th percentile.

Others might earn as much as $36,880 per year, which positions them at the 90th percentile of all Fast-Food Workers earners.

 

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]

This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

Simply put, if you are in the 90th percentile, you earn more than 90% of all the Fast-Food Workers in the United States.

Consequently, a salary of $36,880 would put you among the top 10% of earners in this profession.

Earning $22,190 would place you within the bottom 10% of earners among Fast-Food Workers.

What Impacts Your Fast-Food Worker Salary?

Several factors can influence your earnings as a Fast-Food Worker, including:

  • Location: How much you earn as a Fast-Food Worker can vary significantly depending on the region you are performing your job. This is mostly because different states or cities have different costs of living, minimum wage laws and local economic conditions.
  • Experience: The more experience you gain as a Fast-Food Worker, the higher the salary you’ll receive. This is especially true if you have specialized skills such as inventory management or team leadership, that make you more valuable to your employers.
  • Employer: Different fast-food chains offer different wage structures and benefits, which can impact your average salary. For instance, McDonald’s has a better compensation culture than Burger King, according to the Comparably data.
  • Position: Like in most industries, salaries in the fast-food industry can vary based on the specific position. For example, if you are performing a role of a manager or a supervisor you will typically earn a higher salary than those at entry-level positions.
  • Shifts and hours: Even though premium pay for weekends and night shifts is not regulated in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), some employers can reward this type of work with higher hourly rates.
  • Economic factors: General economic conditions in your region, such as inflation rates and unemployment levels can dictate wage trends in the fast-food industry and other industries for that matter.

Explore the chart below to discover industries with the highest levels of employment for Fast-Food Workers in the U.S.

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statisitcs]

This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

Estimate Your Take-Home Pay

Are you a Fast-Food Worker in the United States? Check out our paycheck calculator to estimate your take-home pay.

Explore our state-specific calculators, customized for each state to include local tax laws and deductions.

When using our paycheck calculator, follow these four simple steps:

  • Step 1: Enter your gross earnings (the total amount before tax deductions)
  • Step 2: Choose your pay frequency (hourly, daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly or annually)
  • Step 3: Select the state where you are employed
  • Step 4: Hit the Calculate Tax button and get the results

Paycheck Calculator







Pay breakdown

Your estimated take home pay:

Annual
Monthly
Biweekly
Weekly
Day
Hour



Total Tax




Net pay
Salary 0
Federal Income Tax 0
State Income Tax 0
Take Home 0

Disclaimer: Please note that this paycheck calculator is designed to provide an estimate and should not be considered as professional tax advice. The actual withholding amounts and taxes owed may vary depending on individual circumstances and other factors. For accurate and personalized tax advice, we recommend consulting with a tax professional.

If your gross pay is 0 per in the state of F, your net pay (or take home pay) will be $1,343.17 after tax deductions of 0% (or $ 156.83). Deductions include a total of [1] 0% (or $0.00) for the federal income tax, [2] 0% (or $0.00) for the state income tax, [3] 6.20% (or $0.00) for the social security tax and [4] 1.45% (or $0.00) for Medicare.

The Federal Income Tax is collected by the government and is consistent across all U.S. regions. In contrast, the State Income Tax is levied by the state of residence and work, leading to substantial variations. The Social Security Tax is used to fund Social Security, which benefits retirees, persons with disabilities and survivors of deceased workers. Medicare involves a federal payroll tax designated for the Medicare insurance program. As of 2022, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming do not levy a state income tax.

Highest-Paying States and Districts for Fast-Food Workers

Three of the highest-paying areas for Fast-Food Workers in the U.S. are the District of Columbia, Washington and California.

You can also see the table below, organized from the highest- to lowest-paying.

State Avg. Salary
District of Columbia $39,040
Washington $37,300
California $36,670
Massachusetts $35,490
New York $34,930
Colorado $34,480
Vermont $34,150
Maine $33,200
Oregon $33,170
Connecticut $33,040
New Jersey $32,560
Arizona $32,260
Illinois $32,250
Minnesota $31,720
Maryland $31,640
Rhode Island $31,340
Alaska $31,020
Hawaii $30,990
Virginia $30,250
Delaware $29,970
New Hampshire $29,780
Missouri $29,690
North Dakota $29,430
Nevada $29,330
South Dakota $29,120
Michigan $28,910
Utah $28,530
Nebraska $28,190
Florida $28,140
New Mexico $28,000
Iowa $27,950
Montana $27,900
North Carolina $27,710
Wisconsin $27,560
Ohio $27,520
Pennsylvania $27,450
Indiana $27,360
Tennessee $27,360
West Virginia $27,180
Wyoming $27,180
Idaho $27,050
Arkansas $26,850
South Carolina $26,000
Texas $25,960
Georgia $25,930
Kansas $25,860
Kentucky $25,070
Louisiana $24,620
Alabama $24,420
Oklahoma $24,220
Mississippi $22,240

If you want a better overview of how average Fast-Food Worker salaries vary across the U.S., browse the map below.

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]

This map is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the map to see detailed data. 

Fast-Food Worker Salary in Four Major US Cities

The four major cities in the U.S., New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, offer different Fast-Food Worker salaries.

Among them, Los Angeles has the highest wages for Fast-Food Workers, followed by New York, Chicago and Miami.

Miami

Annual mean wage

$29,140

# of employees

52,550

New York City

Annual mean wage

$35,050

# of employees

183,050

Chicago

Annual mean wage

$32,790

# of employees

94,230

Los Angeles

Annual mean wage

$36,420

# of employees

153,080

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]

How to Negotiate Your Fast-Food Worker Salary

To maximize your pay working in a quick-service restaurant, try the following techniques:

  • Emphasize your worth: When negotiating salary it’s best to focus on your skills and experience to show your employer what you bring to the table. Mention your previous roles and give an example of how you impacted the overall efficiency of your prior team.
  • Research salary trends in your area: Your salary expectations should be realistic. This is why it is important to know what is the usual wage range for the position you are applying to.
  • Come up with a specific number: Once you’ve researched the salary trends, ami for the higher range but be ready to compromise. For instance, you can accept lower pay but condition them to give you a raise after three or six months.

Non-Monetary Benefits for Fast-Food Workers

As a Fast-Food Worker, you can expect some of the following benefits that stretch behind your salary:

Employee discounts

Working in a fast-food establishment often comes with employee discounts such as reduced prices on food and beverages which sometimes apply to your immediate family members as well.

Flexible schedules

Flexible scheduling is a common practice in the fast-food industry where you, as an employee, have the freedom to customize your work hours. This can be very beneficial if you are trying to juggle your job with other responsibilities such as school or family obligations.

Paid time off

Paid time off (PTO) is one of the most important non-monetary benefits you can have as an employee in the fast-food industry as you can time some off without sacrificing your income. PTO includes paid vacation days, sick leave, parental leave, jury duty, bereavement leave and disability leave.

According to Forbes, only 43% of hospitality workers have access to paid time off.

 

[Source: Forbes]

This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

Healthcare benefits

Healthcare benefits typically refer to health insurance plans that cover medical, dental and vision expenses. This helps you maintain your health and creates a sense of security should something unpredictable happen.

Recognition programs

Recognition programs are employers’ initiatives that aim to acknowledge and reward employees for their outstanding performance, contributions or achievements.

This may include:

  • Employee of the month
  • Performance-based awards
  • Service milestones
  • Team celebrations

How Much Do Job Positions Similar to a Fast-Food Worker Get Paid?

Fast-Food Workers are among the lowest-paid positions in the restaurant industry. Still, they earn more than Bussers and Food Runners but less than Waiters/Waitresses.

Job TitleAverage Salary
Food Runner
Busser
Waiter/Waitress

How We Collect Our Salary Data

We at OysterLink, get our salary data from the latest information available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) official website. We also take into account estimates from the number of job search sites. Discover our methodology in more detail.

Fast-Food Worker Salary FAQs

The average wage for Fast-Food Workers in the U.S. is $14.48 per hour or $2,592.50 a month. This amount is typically not enough to cover living expenses on your own, especially if you live within a major metropolitan area.  

Based on the information provided from McDonald’s official site, these are the pay ranges for various positions:

  • Assistant Manager: $18.00 to $22.00 per hour
  • Certified Shift Manager: Up to $18.00 per hour
  • Shift Leader: Starting at $15.00 per hour
  • Closing Crew: $13.00 per hour, plus an additional $2.00 per hour for dedicated closing shifts
  • Line Cook / Prep Cook: $22,880.00 to $50,000.00 per year

It’s important to note that actual pay rates may vary based on factors such as location, experience and individual negotiations.

Depending on the role, this is how much Burger King pays their employees on average:

  • Cashier: $13.12
  • Restaurant Staff: $14.38
  • Cook: $12.98

Depending on the role, this is how much Wendy’s pays their team members:

  • Restaurant Manager: $20.81
  • Crew Member: $13.01

On average, Taco Bell pays their workers the following hourly rates:

  • Cashier: $12.38
  • Crew Member: $12.27
  • Shift Leader: $14.28

There are close to 200,000 quick-service restaurants in the U.S.