Looking for Fast-Food Jobs Near You? 15 Restaurants to Consider
Fast-food jobs are one of the most popular among U.S. workers, with more than 5 million people working for fast-food restaurants in 2023.
Many of these jobs are entry-level, meaning no prior experience or education is typically required to land a fast-food job. Yet, some people find themselves searching for “fast-food jobs near me” with little luck.
This article will provide an overview of some of the best-paying fast-food restaurants as well as tips on how to find and apply for a fast-food job that pays well.
What are fast-food jobs like?
Jobs in fast-food chains are fast-paced, systematic, and process-driven.
To succeed in a fast-food restaurant, you must follow instructions accurately and fit within an established hierarchy (there are usually layers of supervisors and managers).
One of the greatest benefits of working in the fast-food industry is the vast opportunity available when finding a new job.
For example, if you have experience as a McDonald’s crew member, you shouldn’t have too much of an issue finding a new job at Burger King, KFC, or Dunkin’.
There are three main kinds of entry-level roles at fast-food companies:
A team member is the most common role. In this position, you’ll handle a number of duties, such as customer service, operating the cash register, cleaning, and maybe some food preparation, depending on the company (at Subway, for example, you’ll help make sandwiches).
However, most fast-food jobs involve taking customer orders, preparing food, working the cash register, and cleaning the restaurant.
Some fast-food chains may require employees to complete more specialized tasks such as running the drive-thru or working as a grill cook.
As a cook, you’ll prepare meals for customers full-time, and as a delivery driver, you’ll deliver that food to customers’ homes.
From there, hard-working and high-performing food service workers can move into management positions.
Committed fast-food workers can have a long career in the industry, progressing toward the GM job title and salary (more on that later).
Once you enter the fast-food industry, you can work your way into positions like:
Shift manager or duty manager
Important facts about working in the fast-food industry
Fast-food jobs are ubiquitous but challenging — and tend to look easier than they actually are. Here’s what you should know before you apply for a position at the nearest burger joint:
1. Flexibility comes at a price
Many fast-food restaurants offer — and even encourage — flexible work schedules. This makes it easier for employees to balance their work with other responsibilities, such as school or family commitments.
On the other hand, you may need to work unusual hours and accept some fluctuation when it comes to your monthly income. Most fast-food jobs hire hourly employees, and even the busiest spots may not be able to offer you enough working hours.
2. You’ll be working in a fast-paced environment
The fast-paced environment of fast-food restaurants can be exciting for those who enjoy dynamic work and making new connections. But it can also get hectic. You need to be prepared to spend most of your workday on your feet while also keeping a warm smile on your face and greeting guests.
3. High job availability is ensured
Fast-food restaurants are often in high demand and may have a lot of job openings available, making it easier to find employment. Once you gain that hands-on experience, you’ll quickly become hireable wherever you go. And with that gastronomy expertise, you can even transition to working in more upscale restaurants.
4. Anyone of any age can kickstart a new career in fast food
Fast-food jobs are often entry-level, making them a great way to gain work experience and develop new skills. The biggest fast-food chains have streamlined their training process to the point that most trainees can grasp the basics and become confident team members in a matter of days.
4. Long hours are common
Some fast-food restaurants require employees to work long shifts, which can be tiring and challenging. If you want to avoid 12-hour shifts, apply to stand-alone restaurants instead of drive-thru points.
5. This is a high-stress environment
The fast-paced environment of a fast-food restaurant can be stressful, especially during peak hours. Fast food must be, well, fast. Customers are likely to complain if you take 10 minutes to prepare their order — which can sometimes be the case if the restaurant is packed.
To work in this industry, you’ll need to be adaptable and maintain a sense of calm in situations that are constantly and rapidly changing.
6. Working in fast food is physically demanding
Standing for long periods, lifting heavy objects, and operating kitchen equipment — all these tasks are typical for fast-food jobs, but they take a physical toll on the body. This is even truer for fast-food cooks who spend their entire workday in the kitchen with all the boiling cooking oil, high temperatures, and constant orders.
15 well-paying fast-food jobs near you that are hiring right now
Whether you’re already a part of the workforce and looking for a career change or a high-school student wondering what job you can get at 16 years old, you’re bound to find something in our list of highly available fast-food jobs.
The most famous fast-food chain in the world has over 13,500 restaurants in the U.S. The average McDonald’s crew member in the U.S. earns approximately $11.30 per hour, which meets the national average. On top of that, the chain offers attractive bonuses, discounts, free meals, and more.
In-N-Out Burger offers wages starting at approximately $10 to $13 per hour. The company gives its employees flexible schedules and career growth opportunities. Some team members also get paid vacations.
Burger King offers competitive hourly pay ranging from $8 to $18, along with attractive bonuses, such as employee discounts and paid leave. The chain has around 7,000 restaurants in the United States, which means plenty of job opportunities.
Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich®, this chain now has almost 3,000 restaurants in the U.S. At Chick-fil-A, you can earn around $12.58 per hour as a team member. Chick-fil-A’s benefits include a scholarship program and work-free Sundays.
The fast-food restaurant of choice for slow roast lovers, Arby’s has over 3,000 locations across the country. The average hourly rate is $11, but it comes with mouth-watering benefits such as employee discounts, 401(k), and more.
Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Five Guys Burgers & Fries is a fast-growing chain with more than 1,400 stores in the U.S. You can expect to be paid around $12.90 per hour, on average. Crew member bonuses include discounts, health insurance, and more.
Wendy’s is a well-known fast-food chain with almost 6,000 locations in the U.S. As a Wendy’s crew member, you can earn an average of $11 per hour. This chain offers casual uniforms as well as diverse employee benefits and experience enhancements.
Panda Express is a large fast-food chain focused on American Chinese cuisine. It has over 2,200 locations. The average hourly pay at Panda Express is around $13.50 an hour. This company enables its employees to get discounted meals, tickets, mobile phone contracts, and more.
Panera Bread is an American-style bakery chain with over 2,000 cafes across the country. It serves healthier fast-food options than some of the other chains on this list. You could earn $15.50 to $18 per hour as a salad and sandwich maker for Panera Bread.
Chipotle Mexican Grill specializes in Mexican cuisine. This is a wildly popular chain with over 3,000 stores in the U.S. alone. The average hourly pay at Chipotle ranges from $9.50 to $17.71 per hour, depending on the role.
This legendary American-style pizza chain was founded in 1960. At Domino’s, you can work either on-site as a crew member or on-demand as an independent contractor (driver). Hourly rates at Domino’s start at $10. You can also expect typical fast-food chain bonuses, like free meals and sick leave.
This iconic taco restaurant chain has a whopping 15,638 restaurants in the U.S. It offers an average hourly pay of $8 to $13. This company also works with Guild Education to offer debt-free undergraduate degrees to eligible employees.
KFC has a variety of employment opportunities, ranging from customer service and food prep to sales and service management. The average KFC worker earns $10–$12 per hour. However, restaurant assistant managers can be paid up to $17 per hour. The same applies to customer service supervisors.
Dunkin employees earn an average of $11 per hour. You can earn much higher if you work as a restaurant manager or a team leader. The salary ranges for different positions at the restaurant are as follows.
Starbucks baristas are responsible for a lot more than making coffee. They also have to work in the kitchen, help customers, and deal with any complaints. Some baristas have to work the register as well. Starbucks employees earn an average of $11.35 per hour. However, retail shift supervisors can earn up to $18 per hour.
How to find a fast-food job in your area
In-person applications are time-consuming to complete. Here’s what you can do instead:
Go with what you’re interested in. Choose the chain that interests you the most and check out the job openings listed on their website.
Utilize job boards. Platforms like Jobcase can help you discover diverse job opportunities in the location you want.
Visit your restaurant of choice. Check out its vibe to get a general idea of its pace and atmosphere.
Check social media pages. Most fast-food chains have active social media channels, which allows you to get a glimpse of what work in fast food entails. This is also a great way to learn about new openings in your area.
Are there high-paying fast-food jobs near me?
Now that you know about some of the fast-food restaurants that pay well, you can start searching for jobs in your area. Make sure you take the time to read the job descriptions and requirements carefully so that you can find the perfect position for yourself.
Check out Jobcase’s Getting Hired Resource Center to quickly land a secure and exciting job in fast food.
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