Hoffman reveals the fast-food brand has no trouble stocking workers
It’s no secret that fast food restaurants across the country are struggles to hire competent employees.
Look around: Every burger joint has a sign in the window, right next to the clown holding a Mega Triple Double Bacon Cheeseburger…” now hiring managers, cooks and cashiers, all shifts, great perks socials, vacations, cool hats, name your hours, whatever else you want.
There are many reasons for the shortage of employees: low wages, high unemployment checks, stimulus funds, better jobs in other sectors. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average hourly wage in the entire restaurant industry is $11.63. Fast food employees do not receive tips.
In some parts of the United States, it is so difficult to have adequate staff that owners of fast food restaurants are forced to open late and close early, ask employees to work longer hours, which causes burnout and mistakes in customer orders, closing their dining rooms and, oh no, working the grill flipping the burgers themselves.
Gasp – even… Chick-fil-A?
This week I saw a headline on Fox Business That said, several Chick-fil-A restaurants — the last sure thing in American free enterprise — are closing their dining rooms due to lack of employees.
I can’t have this. Here’s a little journalism secret passed down to me several years ago: Chick-fil-A has the best and most reliable Wi-Fi. If I’m working on a field mission and need to write the story quickly and file on time, I hit a Chick-fil-A, grab a table, and get to work. All while enjoying a meal of 4 chicken strips with large fries and a large Coke Zero. (Editor’s note: This explains a lot.)
The Coke Zero is a key player since most fast food outlets don’t offer it, although I’m undecided on the new Coke Zero. If Coke wanted to fix a product, fall for Diet Coke, that’s awful.
I called Jesse Chaluh, owner of two Chick-fil-A restaurants in Houston – the one in Kirby and the Southwest Freeway and the one in Meyerland. Kirby’s location is #1 Chick-fil-A in Houston and #2 in all of Texas.
That’s saying something since Houston has more Chick-fil-A restaurants than any other city in Texas, and Texas has more than any other state. Houston has 103 Chick-fil-As. Texas has 448 locations. The best Chick-fil-A in Texas is in Grapevine.
Their pleasure in serving you — really
Phew, Chaluh (that rhymes) says he has no problem staffing his restaurants. In fact, since the Texas Workforce Commission stopped paying additional pandemic-related benefits under the U.S. bailout in June, applicants are “coming in like crazy.”
Chaluh has not shortened its restaurant hours or closed its dining rooms. The only changes he has made: from today he closes his playgrounds due to the Delta variant, he has increased the wages of employees and employees who work inside restaurants must wear a mask and have their temperature taken before starting their shift.
Its stores, perhaps due to their location in heavily populated areas of Houston, are the exception here, however. Other Chick-fil-A operators, particularly in the suburbs, are struggling to fully staff their restaurants.
The shortage is being spurred by college-age employees returning to school, a smaller pool of local applicants, and other factors like salaries and government assistance programs. Operators are also looking for adults who can manage shifts and serve as team leaders.
When it comes to ringing the cash register, no fast food chain comes close to Chick-fil-A. According to QSR Magazine, the bible of the fast food industry, the average Chick-fil-A made $4.5 million in 2019, the last year the world was normal. In second place was Raising Cane’s with $3.2 million, followed by Whataburger with $3 million. McDonald’s, the big winner due to more locations, has an average haul of $2.9 million.
True story: I was once talking to a fast food restaurant owner in a Houston mall and asked him how you were doing? He said pretty well, we all make about $2.1 million in the food court… except for that guy over there. He was pointing at Chick-fil-A. “He’s doing about $5 million.”