Top 22 Best Paying Fast Food Jobs in 2023

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Editorial Team

Over 4.5 million people work for fast-food restaurants, making them one of the most popular jobs among workers. A fast-food job is often an entry-level position, which means no special education or experience is needed. You may wonder what to do with so many applicants: How much can I earn in a fast-food restaurant?

While many establishments start at around $7.50, others offer much more. Which fast-food jobs pay the most? We will discuss the same in this content.

1. McDonald’s Crew

Salary: McDonald’s crew members earn an average of $10.76 per hour.

Richard and Maurice McDonald founded McDonald’s Corporation in 1940 as a restaurant in San Bernardino, California, as a multinational fast food chain and real estate company.

McDonald’s is the world’s most famous restaurant chain revenue-wise, serving over 69 million customers daily in approximately 100+ countries in over 40.000 outlets as of 2021. Although McDonald’s menus include chicken, fish, fruit, and salads, the company is best known for its cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and French fries. The French fries on their menu are probably the most well-known licensed item, followed closely by the Big Mac. The company has been criticized sometimes for the unhealthiness of its food. Franchisees pay rent, royalties, and fees to McDonald’s Corporation and company-operated restaurants to generate revenue. With 1.7 million employees (behind Walmart with 2.3 million), McDonald’s is the second-largest private employer in the world, according to two 2018 reports. McDonald’s will have the ninth-highest global brand valuation by 2020.

This fast food restaurant McDonald’s has been around for a long time. This restaurant is known for its burgers, fries, and shakes. McDonald’s has more than 13,000 locations in the U.S., and managers can earn up to $16 per hour, depending on their location.

2. In-N-Out Burger Staff

Salary: Compared to most other fast food chains, In-N-Out Burger employees earn an average wage of $18.06 per hour.

In-N-Out Burger is an American regional fast food chain located primarily in California and the Southwest. Harry and Esther Snyder founded it in 1948 in Baldwin Park, California.

A regional fast food chain with locations primarily in California and the Southwest, In-N-Out Burger was founded in 1948 by Harry (1913–1976) and Esther Snyder (1920–2006) in Baldwin Park, California. In addition to Southern California, the chain has expanded to Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Oregon, and Colorado and is planning to expand into Idaho shortly. It is headquartered in Irvine, California. Lynsi Snyder, the only grandchild of the Snyders, is the current owner.

In addition to its original Baldwin Park distribution center, the chain has opened several other distribution centers as the chain has expanded. A future expansion into other parts of the country will be possible with the new facilities in Lathrop. These include California, Phoenix, Arizona, Draper, Utah, Dallas, Texas, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Regarding delicious food and good customer service, In-N-Out Burger is the ideal place to work.

3. Burger King

Salary: The average hourly wage at Burger King is $10.02. An American fast food restaurant chain, Burger King, operates burger restaurants worldwide. Insta-Burger King, based in Jacksonville, Florida, was founded in 1953 and is headquartered in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

From entry-level to experienced managers, Burger King hires many employees. Within the company, there are many opportunities for advancement.

Salary levels vary by position within the company. Restaurant managers, for instance, can earn up to $14 an hour. The maximum hourly salary for crew leaders is $12.

4. Chick-Fil-A

Salary: Their employees earn an average of $11.98 per hour, which is higher than the average fast-food restaurant

Known for its chicken sandwiches, Chick-fil-A is one of the largest American fast-food chains. College Park, Georgia, is the company’s headquarters. There are 2,861 Chick-fil-A restaurants in the United States, primarily in the south. Known for its chicken sandwiches, Chick-fil-A is a popular fast-food chain.

When you progress in your career, your salary increases. The average restaurant manager earns $15 an hour, for example. Likewise, the kitchen manager will earn the same salary.

5. Arby’s

Salary: Arby’s employees earn an average of $10.51 per hour.

The Arby’s chain of fast-food sandwich restaurants has more than 3,300 restaurants nationwide and is the third largest in revenue. Food & Wine named Arby’s “America’s second largest sandwich chain” in October 2017. With Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. renamed Inspire Brands; it is the company’s flagship property.

Arby’s hires people with customer service experience and a desire to learn more about the food industry. However, restaurant managers, crew leaders, and assistant managers earn more.

6. Five Guys Burgers & Fries’ Crew Member

Salary: Five Guys pays its employees an average of $12.21 per hour.

Located in Fairfax County, Virginia, Five Guys Enterprises LLC specializes in hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries.

You can earn a few bucks more as a line cook or team leader.

There are more than 1,392 Five Guys Burgers & Fries locations in the U.S., making it one of the fastest-growing chains.

There are several jobs at Five Guys, ranging from operating the cash register to operating the grill. The positions at Five Guys can be part-time or full-time and pay minimum wage plus tips and bonuses. After 90 days, you get free telemedicine, regardless of your hours worked. The minimum applicant age in many locations is 16 years old, but it varies by state.

7. Wendy’s

Salary: Wendy’s pays its employees $10.10 per hour, comparable to other fast food chains.

This big fast food chain Wendy’s is owned by the Wendy’s Company, headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. Its principal subsidiary, Wendy’s International, franchises Wendy’s outlets.

Most Wendy’s employees are beginning their careers. Meanwhile, 10.2% are entry-level workers, and 12.6% are experienced.

8. Panda Express

Salary: The company pays its employees an average of $13.13 per hour.

Panda Express is one of the highest-paying fast-food restaurants around. Panda Express is an American chain of fast food restaurants serving Chinese cuisine. The chain, founded in the United States, has over 2,200 locations, mainly in North America and Asia (and other countries and territories). The Panda Express chain was originally located in mall food courts but now operates units in various locations, including universities, casinos, airports, military bases, amusement parks, other venues, and stand-alone restaurants.

Typical Panda Express meals: orange chicken, Kung Pao chicken, and chow mein. In addition to orange chicken, sweet fire chicken breast, Beijing beef, and grilled teriyaki chicken, the chain also offers a variety of Chinese-inspired dishes. Certain premium dishes, such as honey walnut shrimp and black pepper Angus steak, require an additional charge.

9. Panera Bread Linecooks And Cashiers

Salary: Bakers can make $10 to $16 per hour, while cashiers make up to $13 per hour.

An entry-level job at Panera Bread might appeal to you if burgers and fries’ hub is not your thing. There are 2,173 stores in the U.S., so you’re likely to find a job opening nearby.

With over 2,000 locations in the United States and Canada, Panera Bread Company is an American chain of bakery-café fast-casual restaurants. The company has its headquarters located in Sunset Hills, Missouri.

 This Saint Louis Bread Company offers bakery items, pasta, salads, sandwiches, soups, and specialty drinks. In 2020, flatbread pizzas will also be available on the menu.

As well as owning Au Bon Pain, the company is owned by JAB Holding Company, which the Reimann family owns.

Panera offers a wide selection of pastries, baked goods, bagels, brownies, cookies, croissants, muffins, and scones. On-staff bakers typically bake these and Panera’s artisan loaves of bread before dawn. In addition to Panera’s bakery, there are a variety of regular menu items available for dine-in or takeout, including flatbreads, pizzas, warm grain bowls, Panini, pasta, salads, sandwiches, sides, and soups, as well as coffee, espresso drinks, frozen drinks, fruit smoothies, hot chocolate, iced drinks, lattes, lemonade, and tea.

In addition to lunch foods, Panera Bread also carries a wide variety of pastries and baked goods. Unlike other chains, Panera employees apply for specific positions in the restaurant. High schoolers can work part-time, with flexible schedules, discounts, and tips available.

  • Suppose you like working in a food company, check for the available position as a line cook. Their kitchens work like assembly lines, with each cook assigned to a particular group of ingredients. If you can work under pressure and would like to prepare items from a wide range of menus, a line cook job might be right for you.
  • If a restaurant has a drive-thru window, cashiers take direct orders and manage all transactions at the cash register. You can work as a cashier if you enjoy handling money around people. Applicants should have excellent communication and verbal skills and a basic understanding of food safety.

10. Chipotle’s Team Member

Salary:  This Mexican restaurant’s average hourly wage is $12.27.

Another great fast-food job is at Chipotle, which pays well. You can earn more as a restaurant employee, depending on your position.

Jalapeño peppers (Capsicum annuum) are typical ingredients of Mexican cuisine. The chili pepper is consumed in large quantities yearly, but it is also eaten dried, pickled, and smoked in various ways. Jalapeno varieties vary in size and heat, so growers typically pass through the field many times, picking unripe green peppers for the market. Normally, jalapenos are green all year, but in the fall, when the growing season has ended, they naturally turn bright red. There is an increasing market for ripe red jalapenos (the last maturation stage) in Mexico and the United States. Their color and moisture loss are accelerated when they are kept in the bush as long as possible. Once deep red and have lost much moisture, they are harvested to become chipotles.

Smoking is a common technique of food preservation that provides a distinctive aroma and flavor, traditionally carried out in an open field oven. Various factors affect the resulting smoked food, including structure, chemical, and nutritional properties. Furthermore, the type of wood used in smoking also impacts the outcome. As far back as the Aztecs are concerned, the process of smoking jalapenos dates back centuries. They were primarily responsible for preserving the chilis by using smoke, which they also employed on meat. Chipotle is created by dry-drying and smoking red jalapenos in an open smoker for six days using firewood. Firewood, primarily made of pecans (Carya illinoinensis), is used to maintain temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Celsius.

Those who want to plan for college might find that Chipotle offers up to USD 5,250 a year in tuition assistance for certain degrees. Moreover, Chipotle employees are free to eat (hello, chips, and guacamole for days!). All Chipotle locations close for major holidays, so they do not have to work inconvenient shifts. You must be passionate about cooking to operate a grill, work as a cashier, or make salsa. Knowing another language is a plus if you plan to work somewhere with many non-English speakers.

11. Domino’s Employee

Salary: The average hourly wage for Domino’s employees is $10.35 per hour.

On average, deliveries and customer service reps earn $9 an hour at Domino’s, with managers earning $19 an hour.

Domino’s has over 6,000 U.S. locations, so you need no travel to far destinations to get to work if you have a car and a license.

In addition to full-time and part-time positions in its restaurants and kitchens, Domino’s also offers management positions.

Only 6.9% of Domino’s employees are highly experienced, while 2.2% are in their late careers.

Founded in 1960, Domino’s Pizza, Inc., trading as Domino’s, is an American multinational pizza chain headed by Russell Weiner. Domino’s Farms Office Park is the corporation’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Domino’s had approximately 15,000 stores as of 2018, of which 5,649 were located in the USA, 1,500 in India, and 1,249 in the U.K. In 2018, they were selected for the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame, with locations in 83 countries and 5,701 cities worldwide.

As a result of regional differences, Domino’s menus vary widely. Current Domino’s menus in the United States offer various Italian-American main and side dishes. Pizza is the main focus, having a traditional specialty. Also, several custom pizzas are available in various crust styles and toppings. In 2011, Domino launched artisan-style pizzas. Other entrees include pasta, bread bowls, and oven-baked sandwiches. Along with chicken and bread sides, beverages and desserts are also available.

  • It looks good on a college application to be a Domino’s Customer Service Representative. As a customer service representative, you will receive orders physically and over the phone, prepare fresh food, and handle all transactions. You can start looking for beginner fast-food jobs for teens at this job, which pays minimum wage. 
  • Domino’s hires employees to deliver by bike and by car! You can apply for the latter if you have a valid driver’s license, but if you have basic math skills and a smartphone with GPS, you could apply for either. To qualify for a delivery position, you must be 18 or older. 

12. Taco Bell

Salary: Taco Bell employees earn $10.57 an hour.

Glen Bell founded Taco Bell (1923–2010) in 1962 in Downey, California, as a chain of fast food restaurants. These restaurants offer Mexican foods, including burritos, tacos, quesadillas, novelty, nachos, specialty items, and “value menu” items. The restaurant serves over 2 billion customers every year as of 2018. Over 93 percent of these restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees and licensees.

PepsiCo purchased Taco Bell in 1978 and later spun off as Tricon Global Restaurants, which later became Yum! Brands.

Entry-level and experienced employees can find employment at Taco Bell.

Assistant general managers can make a maximum of $17 an hour, while team leaders can earn up to $14 an hour.

13. KFC

Salary: An average KFC worker earns $10.22 per hour.

In Louisville, Kentucky, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) specializes in fried chicken and is headquartered. The company has 22,621 locations worldwide in 150 countries, making it the world’s second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald’s (based on sales). Yum! Brands are the parent company of the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains, as well as the chain.

At the height of the Great Depression, Colonel Harland Sanders (1890–1980) opened a roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky, selling fried chicken. The first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” franchise was officially opened in Utah in 1952 after Sanders recognized the potential of franchising restaurants. By challenging the established dominance of hamburgers, KFC introduced and popularized chicken in the fast-food industry, diversifying the market. Harland became a prominent figure in American culture by branding himself as Colonel Sanders, and his image is still widely used in KFC advertising today. As the company expanded rapidly in 1964, Sanders was forced to sell it to a group led by John Y. Brown Jr. and Jack C. Massey.

14. Popeyes

Salary: The average hourly wage for a Popeyes worker is $9.94.

Founded in 1972, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., also known as Popeyes and formerly known as Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits and Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits, is an American multinational chain of fast food restaurants serving fried chicken. Restaurant Brands International, headquartered in Toronto, owns this company. Popeyes has approx. 3,800 restaurants in 46+ states. They serve greatly in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 30 countries. About 50 of its locations are owned by the company; most are franchised.

Employees at Popeyes have access to flexible scheduling and other perks.

You can earn an hourly wage of $8 to $21 if you become a crew leader at Popeyes. For example, an assistant manager can earn $13 per hour, and a crew leader can earn $19 per hour.

15. Starbucks

Salary: Starbucks employees earn an average of $11.91 per hour.

Starbucks baristas are responsible for a lot more than making your coffee. They also have to work in the kitchen, help customers, and deal with complaints. Some baristas have to work the register as well. However, retail shift supervisors can earn up to $18 per hour.

Founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1971, Starbucks Corporation is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain.

Over 8,900 of Starbucks’ stores in the United States are company-operated, with the remainder being licensed. Starbucks had 33,833 stores in 80 countries as of November 2021, with 15,444 in the United States.

Starbucks introduced a larger variety of coffee experiences during the second wave of coffee culture. Hot and cold drinks, whole bean coffee, micro-ground instant coffee, espresso, caffe latte, loose and full-leaf teas, juices, Frappuccino beverages, pastries, and snacks are available at Starbucks. As per your location and country, most branches provide free Wi-Fi internet access. Some offerings and promotions are seasonal or vary per the store’s locality.

16. Potbelly Associate

Salary: Potbelly employees earn an average salary of $29,057 a year

Located in four other countries, Potbelly sells sandwiches and other lunch foods. The Potbelly associate’s job primarily involves preparing food, serving customers, and cleaning up the kitchen area, even though their titles sound fancy. All employees get 55% or more off at all meals and can work flexible hours. They earn minimum wage and work part-time or full-time. Visit the Potbelly careers page and select “Shop and Manager Positions” if you want to spend your afternoons surrounded by coworkers your age.

17. Auntie Anne’s Crew Member

Salary: An Auntie Anne’s checker’s hourly wage ranges from $7.37 to $18.97.

As a franchise operator of pretzel shops, Auntie Anne’s serves its customers by providing them with the products such as pretzels, dips, and beverages. For the ones who want to make their pretzels at home, they also offer Pretzels & More Homemade Baking Mix. As well as stores in malls and outlet malls, the chain offers non-traditional retail spaces such as universities, parking lots, airports, train stations, travel plazas, amusement parks, and military bases. As of 2010, their slogan is “Pretzel Perfect.”

If you were a mall rat pre-pandemic, you probably remember vividly the scent of bread and salt wafting your way whenever you walked past Auntie Anne’s kiosk. During closing time, crew members pack away everything at this pretzel paradise. The average salary for crew members is around minimum wage.

18. Dairy Queen Team Member

Salary: Dairy Queen Salaries range from approximately $15,000 per year to $109,665 per year depending on job designation.

Along with the soft serve ice cream and fast food, Dairy Queen (DQ) is also founded and supervised by International Dairy Queen. Since 1998, it has been a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. The same also owns  Orange Julius, Karmelkorn, and Golden Skillet Fried Chicken. Its headquarters are in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Sherb Noble opened the first D.Q. restaurant in Joliet, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, on June 22, 1940. They proudly serve a variety of frozen products, including soft-serve ice cream.

Dairy Queen offers numerous part-time job opportunities for novice applicants if ice cream is your calling. Most of these positions pay minimum wage.

  • Typical duties of cashiers at D.Q. include taking orders, managing the cash register, and cleaning tables and restrooms.
  • Some chill staff may also deliver food to customers’ tables in sit-down locations. Most chill staff fill soft-serve orders and restock relevant items.
  • Known simply as cooks, grill staff at D.Q. prepare hot food items for customers. This position pays a little more than the others.

19. Cold Stone’s Team Member

Salary: Employees get $8 per  hour on average at Cold Stone

Kahala Brands owns and operates Cold Stone Creamery, an international ice cream parlor chain headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Its main product is premium ice cream with approximately 12-14% butterfat, made on location and customized for each patron at the time of order.

You can also apply for a job at Cold Stone Creamery if you want to work with your favorite frozen treats. A company’s crew members mostly make ice cream and baked goods, but they may also serve customers and clean. Cold Stone employees sing when they receive tips. If you’re a high schooler looking for a part-time fast-food job, this might either sell you or repel you. They earn minimum wage.

20. Hardee’s Cashier

Salary: The average Hardee’s hourly pay ranges from approximately $13 per hour for a Cashier to $51 per hour for a District Manager

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (“CKE”), founded in 1961 in North Carolina, owns and operates Harddee’s Restaurants LLC, with locations predominantly in the Southern and Midwestern United States.

Carl’s Jr.’s parent company, CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., acquired Hardee’s from Montreal-based Imasco Limited for $327 million in April 1997. As a result of the merger, Hardee’s has 3,152 locations in 40 states as well as ten foreign countries, and Carl’s Jr. has 676 locations, primarily in California. Former CKE CEO Jason Marker announced in June 2018 that Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. would become separate brands, claiming CKE’s racy advertising and marketing campaign was incompatible with a family-oriented chain like Hardee’s. In April 2019, Ned Lyerly replaced Jason Marker as CEO. He was a 30-year employee and former President of CKE’s International division.

A Hardee’s cashier is a personable employee who collects customer payments at a fast-food restaurant. Among the duties of the job are performing accurate cash, check, and credit transactions related to sales, maintaining the accuracy of the point of sale system, processing cash register transactions, and entering all transactions into the database. You will also be required to greet customers courteously, take and deliver orders, resolve customer complaints, assist staff, and handle monetary transactions if necessary.

21. Subway

Salary: Average salary for a Subway employee is $26,893/year.

Sandwiches, wraps, salads, and drinks are the main products of the American fast-food chain Subway.

In 1965, Subway was founded by Fred DeLuca in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and financed by Peter Buck as Pete’s Super Submarines. The company was renamed Subway after several name changes in the beginning years, and franchise operations began in 1974 with a second restaurant opening in Wallingford, Connecticut. Since then, it has become a global franchise.

Known for its fresh ingredients, Subway’s slogan, “Eat Fresh,” was coined to emphasize that customers can choose which toppings they want to include on their sandwiches.

In 2015, it had over 37,540 locations in over 100 countries and territories, making it the fastest-growing franchise in the world. It has more than half of its locations in the United States (21,796 or 56%).

In addition, it is the world’s largest single-brand restaurant chain and operator. Its international headquarters are located in Milford, Connecticut.

22. Applebee’s

Salary: Average salary for Applebee’s employees is $20,00000 per year

The Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar restaurant chain is owned and operated by Applebee’s Restaurants LLC. Applebee’s concept focuses on casual dining, which features salads, chicken, pasta, burgers, and “riblets” (Applebee’s signature dish).

Founded in 1980, Applebee’s is a popular chain of casual dining restaurants. The brand has become a global phenomenon with its laid-back atmosphere and many locations.

There are various positions available, including hostess, server, bartender, dishwasher, car side-to-go specialist, line cook, prep cook, broiler cook, international chef, kitchen manager, general utility worker, food expeditor, busser, assistant manager, manager, waiter, waitress, customer sales assistant, delivery driver, produce analyst.

An hourly wage lawsuit has been pending between Applebee’s and its servers since 2006. The servers, who were paid the federal minimum wage of $2.13 per hour as tipped employees, claim the company requires them to spend 20% of their time doing non-serving labor, for which the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. There have been several stages in the case, including an arbitration session ordered by the courts.


We have mentioned the top 22 high-paying fast-food jobs which might help you, especially if you are looking for one. It would help if you talked with them via their web portal. The same will make things easy for you.