My first job off the farm was working at a fast food restaurant. As soon as I got my driver’s license, I got the job. Along with the paper hat came mimimum wage ($3.35/hr), a substantial increase over what I was getting paid to work in the tobacco fields.
In Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlossberg describes fast food jobs as teenage rites of passage in our culture, at least among those not sufficiently privileged to start out working at their parents’ country club. In 2001, when the book was published, 2/3 of the fast food workers in America were under the age of 20.
Not any more. Per an NBC news report of last week, today only 16% of fast food workers are teenagers. Over 750,000 fast-food employees have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Most fast-food workers work part-time.
And they’re still paid the minimum wage.