Fast Food Franchise Worker
Fast Food Franchise Worker
Education and Training: On-the-job training
Salary: Median—$7.06 per hour
Employment Outlook: Good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Fast food franchise workers are employed by fast food restaurants throughout the country. The most popular restaurants of this type specialize in hamburgers, fried chicken, fried fish, roast beef sandwiches, and other easily prepared food items. Fast food franchise workers prepare and serve food, keep the restaurant clean, and make sure that the customers are satisfied with their service.
In many fast food restaurants the food is prepared in an assembly-line fashion. Workers in some franchises are trained to do all of the jobs in the restaurant; in others each worker learns a specific task.
In a typical fast food chain, a counter worker takes the orders and gives them to the cook, who prepares the food and places the order on a plate or packages it in a box or paper wrapper. The counter worker then completes the order with beverages and processes payment. Some fast food restaurants have one counter worker who works as the cashier and takes all of the orders and another who fills them. A counter worker may also prepare sundaes and other ice cream dishes, cook french fries, and toast buns.
Dining room attendants are in charge of clearing and wiping the tables, filling the salt and pepper shakers, stocking packets of ketchup, mustard, and other garnishes, and making sure the napkin and straw dispensers are filled. They also sweep and mop the floors. Sometimes counter workers assist the dining room attendants by cleaning kitchen equipment, sweeping, mopping up spills, and carrying out trash.
All fast food franchise workers are supervised by a manager or an assistant manager. Sometimes the owner of the franchise acts as the manager. Managers hire and fire workers as necessary, oversee the running of the franchise, and make sure the customers are satisfied. The majority of fast food franchise workers are students who work part time. Managers must set up schedules that cover all work shifts.
Education and Training Requirements
There are no formal educational requirements for fast food franchise workers. Most skills are learned on the job. Counter workers, however, should speak proper English and be able to do simple arithmetic. Most counter workers use a cash register or a computerized system for taking orders, totaling the check, and making change. Fast food franchises provide training in the use of these machines. It is helpful but not necessary for cooks to have some cooking experience. Dining room attendants need no special training.
Most fast food franchises have their own training programs in which they teach workers what to say when customers reach the counter and exactly how each food-related task should be done. This is the company's way of making sure that customers get fast, courteous service. In these training programs, cooks gain experience preparing the foods served by the franchise, counter workers practice greeting customers, using the cash register, and making change, and dining room attendants learn how to work efficiently. Training programs may last from two days to two weeks.
Counter workers must be able to get along with people and have a pleasant personality and a neat appearance. All positions require good health and physical stamina. State laws often require health certificates stating that workers are free from communicable diseases.
Getting the Job
Interested individuals should apply directly to fast food franchises in their area. Job listings often appear in newspaper want ads or on the windows or signs of franchises that are hiring. New restaurant openings are another source of job leads. The turnover rate for employees in the fast food business is very high, so potential workers are likely to find job openings.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Workers who show enough ability and enthusiasm can become assistant managers or managers. Some workers advance by taking other jobs in the food service industry.
Jobs for fast food franchise employees are expected to grow as fast as the average through the year 2014 because the lifestyle of many Americans is increasingly fast paced and because healthier items are being added to the menus of many fast food restaurants.
Fast food franchise employees must work quickly and efficiently. They rarely get a chance to rest, and they are always on their feet. The work can be monotonous. Job hazards include falls, cuts, and burns, although injuries are seldom serious.
Fast food franchise workers typically have to work their share of weekends, evenings, and holidays. Students must arrange work schedules that allow them to attend classes. Most counter workers and dining room attendants work fewer than thirty hours per week. Cooks may work as many as forty-eight hours per week, although part-time work is available. Workers generally wear uniforms. Most employers provide uniforms or a uniform allowance, but some workers may have to purchase their own uniforms.
Where to Go for More Information
National Restaurant Association
1200 Seventeenth St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
International Franchise Association
1501 K St. NW, Ste. 350
Washington, DC 20005
Earnings and Benefits
Earnings vary depending on the location of the franchise and the experience of the worker. According to the 2004 Occupational Employment Statistics survey, fast food franchise workers earn a median salary of $7.06 per hour. A few workers also receive tips. Many receive free meals during work hours. Full-time workers generally receive paid vacation time and other benefits.