McDonald’s raising hourly wages to $11-17 at company-owned locations


McDonald’s just announced a major change, and the wallets of thousands of employees are going to be lovin’ it. The company says it is raising hourly wages by an average of 10% for more than 36,500 workers at select company-owned restaurants nationwide.

The fast-food chain announced the wage increase on May 13, saying the new hourly rates have already begun and will continue to roll out over the next several months. The entry-level range for crew members will now be $11-$17 an hour, and the starting range for shift managers will be at least $15-$20 an hour, based on restaurant location.

While McDonald’s has nearly 14,000 U.S. restaurants, 95% are independently owned and operated. The wage increases will not impact workers at those locations.


“Our first value is taking care of our people, and today we are rewarding our hardworking employees in McDonald-owned restaurants for serving our communities,” Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA, said in a press release. “These actions further our commitment to offering one of the leading pay-and-benefits packages in the industry.”

McDonald’s says based on the current trajectory of the marketplace, it expects the average hourly wage for its company-owned restaurants to increase to $15 an hour in a phased approach, varying market-by-market. Some restaurants have already reached an average hourly wage of $15 an hour, and others will hit that mark later in 2021. Average hourly wages are expected to reach $15 an hour by 2024.


The restaurant industry has been struggling with staffing problems as vaccination efforts across the country have picked up and more people are wanting to eat out. Many former restaurant workers who lost their jobs at the start of the pandemic have found other work in the meantime, leaving the restaurant industry with plenty of open positions and no one to fill them.

McDonald’s-owned restaurants are also looking to hire 10,000 new employees over the next three months, and at one McDonald’s location in Florida, the owner is offering candidates $50 cash just to come in for an interview.

Other restaurants are also offering incentives in an effort to hire more workers, including Applebee’s, which is offering free appetizers to anyone who comes in for an interview.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Chipotle is also looking to hire 20,000 workers and open 200 new locations, so it’s raising the average hourly wage to $15 per hour. The fast-casual burrito chain is even offering a $200 referral bonus for crew members and $750 for apprentices or general managers.

Are you looking for work and considering applying at one of the many restaurants hiring new workers?

About the Author
Kaitlin Gates

Kaitlin is a freelance multimedia journalist with a degree in journalism and psychology. Along with Don't Waste Your Money, she also writes for Simplemost, where she covers new product and food launches and overall general news. You can email her at or find her on Facebook at More.