Shake Shack, a burger chain with locations in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. as well as international locations in the Middle East, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, pays starting workers $9.50 an hour outside of New York City and $10 an hour for New Yorkers, CEO Randy Garutti told ThinkProgress. It also offers full-time employees health, dental, vision, retirement, and disability benefits plus paid time off.Active promotion from within is an important policy not often discussed. Even $10.70 an hour, a substantially higher wage than most fast food workers make, works out to just over $22,000 for a year of full-time work, which is not a middle-class wage. Providing a route to better jobs and higher wages makes a real difference.
But on average, workers get $10.70 an hour thanks to a program it calls Shack Bucks. Every month, it gives employees a percentage of the company’s top-line sales. “It’s sort of immediate revenue sharing, not a long-term program,” he noted.
The company pays about 70 percent of employees’ health care premiums and also matches contributions to their 401(k)s. He added that he is “more excited” than all of these perks about how many employees move up into manager roles. “There are a lot of people who started making $9 an hour and are now general managers in our restaurants making very good money,” he said.
Shake Shack is part of the Union Square Hospitality Group, which also runs fine-dining restaurants like Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern; its restaurants are cited in the Restaurant Opportunities Centers' Diners' Guide for the practices cited above and for participating in employer efforts to promote high-road practices.
And with lines regularly stretching out the door at many of its restaurants, Shake Shack is clearly not hurting for business—and is benefiting from experienced, committed workers who keep those lines moving.