It's the American dream: start out as a wretched fry cook at McDonald's, and— with plenty of pluck and hard work— work your way up to owning your own McDonald's one day. A new study quantifies just how unrealistic this idea is.
This report from the National Employment Law Project is about as devastating an indictment of the idea of "economic mobility" in the fast food industry as you're ever likely to see. No real sensationalizing is necessary. The numbers tell the story just fine:
89.1% of employees in the fast food industry are front line workers, with an average wage of $8.94 per hour
8.7% of employees in the fast food industry are first-line supervisors, with an average wage of $13.06 per hour.
2.2% of employees in the fast food industry are in "managerial, professional, and technical occupations," with an average wage of $21.92 per hour.
Of that top 2.2%, less than half are franchise owners. "9 of the 11 largest fast food chains in the United States require prospective franchisees to have at least $500,000 in net worth and $250,000 in liquid assets." Many chains, including Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, and KFC, require a net worth of $1.5 million or more.
Good luck getting there on $8.94 per hour. (Or less).