In-N-Out employees can work their way up to $160,000 a year with no degree or previous experience
- In-N-Out Burger pays its employees really well.
- Store managers earn an average yearly salary of more than $160,000, more than what the typical tech worker in Silicon Valley makes for the year.
- High wages for fast-food workers can lead to increased productivity, less employee turnover, and bigger profits in the long run.
There's a secret sauce to In-N-Out Burger's success. It pays employees really well.
The West Coast burger sensation pays store managers an average yearly salary of more than $160,000, which is about triple the industry average, according to the latest California Sun newsletter. There is no college degree or previous management experience required.
To put this into perspective, tech workers in Silicon Valley earn on average $114,654 for the year, according to a survey from hiring platform Dice.
"In-N-Out is just eons above everybody else," Saru Jayaraman, an advocate for restaurant workers in the Bay Area and director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley, told California Sun's Mike McPhate. "On wages and benefits, they really are the best large chain."
Employees start at a higher-than-average salary of at least $13 an hour and have the opportunity to advance to six figures as a store manager. A typical architect in California makes about $112,000 a year, while a lawyer rakes in $117,000, according to jobs site Indeed.
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The burger chain offers benefits including 401(k) plans, paid vacation, and dental and vision coverage for part- and full-time employees — a rarefied package in the fast-food industry. In a Glassdoor ranking of the best places to work in 2018, In-N-Out earned the No. 4 spot and beat out tech giants like Google and Microsoft. It was the only restaurant chain in the top 50.
Denny Warnick, vice president of operations at In-N-Out, told California Sun that paying employees well has always been part of the company culture.
In 1948, Harry and Esther Snyder opened the first In-N-Out in a Los Angeles suburb with quality service as a central focus. "Paying their associates well was just one way to help maintain that focus, and those beliefs remain firmly in place with us today," Warnick told California Sun.
It's not an act of charity, according to Jayaraman. Her research shows that paying employees well leads to better productivity, less employee turnover, and bigger profits.
In-N-Out is growing. The burger chain recently announced it's opening a distribution center in Colorado, which could allow it to expand beyond the West Coast. All stores must be located close to these hubs because of the company's strict policy of serving food fresh, not frozen.
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