Amid worker shortage, Taco Bell floats $100K salaries for managers

Amid worker shortage, Taco Bell floats $100K salaries for managers

Facing the tightest job market in more than a generation, U.S. fast food chain Taco Bell is offering six-figure salaries for managers to try to attract and retain their workers.

Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell along with numerous other fast food chains, says it will soon offer $100,000 US starting salaries for managers at its restaurants in certain U.S. markets. 

That’s a big jump from the $50,000 to $80,000 that the positions currently pay, which speaks to the difficulties that U.S. employers are having in filling jobs.

New numbers released Friday show the U.S. economy added 145,000 jobs last month, and the jobless rate stayed at 3.5 per cent — its lowest level in 40 years. Canadian numbers show a similar trend, as 2019 saw the economy add 320,000 jobs and the jobless rate fall to 5.6 per cent — near a record low.

Against that backdrop, large employers like restaurant chains are having a tough time keeping their workers happy, even in the fast food industry that for years was synonymous with entry-level, minimum wage jobs.

Managers aren’t the only ones the chain is trying to keep happy. The company says starting now, all employees of the chain will be eligible for a certain amount of paid sick leave, along with $6 million in scholarships for team members. “Through these initiatives, Taco Bell aims to enhance restaurant performance, employee satisfaction and support recruitment and retention,” the company said in a release.

It’s not just a U.S. phenomenon. Data from Statistics Canada shows that at the end of last year, Canada’s restaurant industry had roughly 67,000 open jobs across the country, the highest level in more than five years.

Economist Julia Pollak at employment marketplace ZipRecruiter says the restaurant industry is just the most prominent one to be experiencing acute worker shortages. 

“They have to open new locations and they are promoting from the shop floor to management,” she said in an interview Friday.

“You’re really seeing increases in incomes in households that just a few years ago had nobody in the labour market at all.”

Changes to environmental footprint too

In addition to better perks and wages for workers, the chain also released some customer-facing initiatives, including a promise to make all packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025.

“Recycling and/or composting bins will be added to all restaurants, where infrastructure permits, and PFAS, Phthalates and BPA will be removed from all consumer-facing packaging materials,” the chain said.

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