5 quick-service restaurants that get employee benefits right

Author Martin Oliva Date Apr 13 2022

The National Restaurant Association reported that 78% of restaurant operators don’t have enough workers on staff to meet customer demand. With the vast majority of restaurants facing the challenges of a dwindling workforce, it’s time for Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) to think critically about how to attract and retain employees.

One of the most obvious ways QSRs can win talent is by raising the hourly wage for their frontline workers. But as more and more restaurant chains offer increasingly competitive pay, QSRs will need to differentiate their offerings to employees even further to attract the workers they need.

As the ‘Great Resignation’ marches on, paying employees more is not enough. QSRs must distinguish themselves from the competition with comprehensive benefits packages and perks for their workers.

Keep reading to learn five unique benefits you can offer employees, and get to know the companies that have already incorporated these perks into their benefits packages.

In-N-Out Burger: Free Meals on Workdays

The regional burger chain In-N-Out Burger offers a vast array of benefits for both full-time and part-time team members. In addition to perks like vision and dental insurance, In-N-Out offers its employees free meals on workdays!

While this may seem like an obvious benefit to offer frontline employees, many QSRs miss the opportunity to give employees the very food they serve to customers all day long. Giving your employees free food is an easy way to reward workers for their hard work and keep them satiated and energized during a long workday.

Chipotle: Paid Time Off

When it comes to employee benefits for food workers, Chipotle gets it. Their comprehensive employee benefits package is the foundation for their strong and friendly employer brand.

One unique benefit they offer their frontline employees is paid time off. Typically a benefit reserved for exempt roles, Chipotle food workers can accrue up to 40 paid vacation hours and 24 paid hours of sick time per year. Chipotle employees can begin accruing this paid time off after one year of service.

Giving your hourly QSR workers the ability to accrue paid time off gives them the flexibility to take the time they need to recharge and stay motivated.

Starbucks: Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

In addition to more standard employee benefits, Starbucks offers its frontline staff an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This program includes short-term counseling to address stress and emotional issues, incidents in the workplace, as well as other personal concerns.

Offering employees access to mental health services is a great way to combat job burnout and show workers that you care about their well-being.

Five Guys: Tuition Assistance

The Five Guys Tuition Assistance Program offers workers the opportunity to enroll in more than 40 high school and college degree programs designed for working adults.

Through their program, employees can obtain fully funded degrees in business administration, hospitality management, and finance. They also offer partially funded degrees for a broader range of associate and bachelor’s programs.

If you’re looking to build out your benefits packages for QSR employees, tuition assistance is a surefire way to show employees that you value their academic and professional growth.

Panda Express: 401(k) Matching

Much like the other QSRs in this list, Panda Express offers its hourly workers a broad range of benefits. One of their perks that stands out is 401(k) matching: Panda Express matches 401(k) contributions up to 4%!

Matching your employees’ retirement contributions is a simple way to show frontline workers that you want to invest in them at all stages of their life and career.

The competition to hire food service workers is tougher than ever! To win talent during the labor shortage, you’ll need to keep tabs on what kinds of benefits your competitors are offering their frontline workers. We hope this list of benefits and the companies that offer them gives you the competitive edge you need to hire more employees faster and keep them longer.


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About the Author

Chief People Officer

Martin Oliva

Martin Oliva leads the People function at Fountain. His experience ranges from startups to Fortune 500 companies, where he has been instrumental in searching for creative ways to develop teams and effective strategies that allow the business to thrive.