The Average Hourly Rate of Fast Food Employees

by Rick Suttle

When hungry people are in a hurry for lunch or dinner, there's no greater hero than a fast-food employee who can deliver accurate, hot and quick meals. These employees work as food preparers or cooks, front register and drive-thru cashiers, servers and dining room attendants. If you are looking to supplement your income as a fast-food employee, you can start right away. You train on the job, and the hourly wages are slightly above minimum wage.

Hourly Wages

Fast-food employees earned average hourly wages of $9.03 as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $18,790 per year. If you are among the top 10 percent in earnings, you would make over $11.27 per hour. Hourly wages are usually contingent upon the number of years you work at a fast-food restaurant, as you might get raises each year. While the earnings are relatively low, some people supplement their family incomes as fast-food employees.

Hourly Wages by Industry

Salaries for fast-food workers can vary somewhat by industry, though the BLS includes only two types of fast-food establishments in its data tables. That said, your average wages would be slightly higher working at an amusement park or arcade than a fast-food restaurant -- $9.98 versus $8.69 per hour, respectively.

Wages by State or District

You would earn the highest hourly wages as a fast-food employee if you worked in the District of Columbia, according to the BLS -- $11.29 per hour. Wages are also comparatively high in Washington and Vermont at $10.33 and $10.23 per hour, respectively. Your wages would be closer to the national average for fast-food workers in Florida or Ohio at $8.77 or 8.73 per hour, respectively, while hourly wages in North Carolina and Missouri are slightly less -- $8.64 and $8.54, respectively.

Job Outlook

Jobs for fast-food employees are expected to increase 15 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS, which is as fast as average compared to the 14 percent growth rate for all occupations. Busy people continue to seek convenient meals for themselves when at work or families for supper. Turnover is high in the fast-food industry, which opens up additional jobs for you, whether you desire to work part- or- full-time.

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