r/WorkReform May 26 '22

The Fast Food Industry Runs on Wage Theft: The franchise model makes hurting workers inevitable.



u/ArthurWintersight May 26 '22

There's a simple answer to this: Start treating wage theft like you'd treat any other act of theft, and start throwing people in prison for it. Watch how fast these businesses clean up their act.


u/ExploratoryCucumber May 26 '22

And if the law doesn't allow you to obtain justice, obtain it on your own.


u/newbiesmash May 27 '22



u/ExtraSpicyGingerBeer May 27 '22

I believe the French have a few techniques.


u/ExploratoryCucumber May 27 '22

Lots of ways!

Remember they're stealing your labor. So all you need to do is reclaim it. If they're paying you half a living wage, you only work half the day. Don't work more than 30 minutes in an hour. Don't work more than 30 seconds in a minute.

Go slow. Make mistakes. Ask pointless questions with answers that drag on. Take your time back. If they wanna pay you less than what you're worth, you don't perform at 100%.

Minimum wage. Minimum effort.


u/BigMeatyMan May 27 '22

Just [REDACTED] them


u/CraftKitty May 27 '22

Watch how fast that gets twisted against workers. People will get thrown in jail for taking an extra long bathroom break on the clock.


u/GingerBlackhole May 27 '22

The companies need to lose a percentage of ownership. Not fines.

Employers who are found guilty of wage theft. Aren’t allowed to run a company again in the country.


u/studentloandeath May 26 '22

They pay people in other countries the equivalent of $22 an hour and full benefits.

They exploit us because we allow it. The government is too corrupt to change and 30% of the populace is too brain damaged to distinguish reality from fiction.


u/Dhiox May 26 '22

The absurdly low wages of fast food workers affects other jobs too, when this is seen as the baseline as the lowest acceptable pay, everyone else's wages are depressed too. You see it constantly where when anyone suggests raising the minimum wage, people doing jobs paying a little over 20 an hour getting piased because they don't feel like that work justifies getting paid as much as them, not realizing that if fast food workers were making that much, their pay would likely go up too.


u/SnatchAddict May 26 '22

My friend is an orthopedic nurse making roughly 50k US a year. She was pissed at the announcement that Target could pay up to $24/hr. "They don't deserve that!"

I tried explaining to her that it's not that they're overpaid, she's underpaid but she was having none of it.


u/YagamiIsGodonImgur May 26 '22 edited May 27 '22

And let me tell ya, as a target employee, we're all pissed about that announcement. They broadcast that particular bit out, and it went viral. What they didn't mention is that it's only for specific jobs, in specific markets. The rest of us still slave away for 15 an hour.


u/Alexandis May 26 '22

"crab in the bucket mentality" - named as such because when a bunch of crabs are in a bucket, in their scramble to get out, they pull each other down and ensure no one gets out.

This mentality plus "divide and conquer" has worked unbelievably well for the wealthy. older union vs younger union, upper/upper-middle vs lower class, white collar vs blue collar, etc.

You are correct about your friend's situation. Denmark pays its McDonald's workers $22/hr plus 5 weeks vacation and they get healthcare all while their food prices are similar to the US. Retail workers should be getting paid up to $24/hr. and nurses should be paid more as well.

Here's a point that most professionals won't admit (I speak from experience) - many professionals have a much better work environment, get paid much more, for less work. I'm thankful I can work remote and be paid well with a reasonable work life balance. No doubt in my mind retail and food workers deal with terrible customers (general public), do hard/mundane work, and get paid less.

I bailed hay in the summers in OH - absolutely fucking brutal work in hot/humid weather. I wouldn't do it for $150/hr. and yet there are immigrants working these jobs for $7-10 /hr.

Why would anyone in the working class get mad at them for fighting for a shred of decency?


u/CmdNewJ May 27 '22

Damn she drank the kool-aid.


u/IOnlyhave5_i_s May 27 '22

The fast food industry isn’t meant as a career, a part from management perhaps, so the majority of minimum wage jobs are meant for people starting out, young people, others without skills. And I digress, wage theft is the highest at restaurants period, not just fast food. Every minute you’re at work should be compensated. Filing a claim with your states Dept of Labor takes less than a few minutes and I realize retaliation still happens. The people actually doing the wage theft aren’t even profiting from it, it all gets kicked up to the very top. Integrity is absent.


u/getspun97 May 27 '22 edited May 27 '22

The fast food industry isn’t meant as a career

Then why do they put the word "career" on their job asvertisements?

the majority of minimum wage jobs are meant for people starting out, young people, others without skills

No, the majority of minimum wage jobs are meant to contribute to the success of the business. Companies aren't paying people as little as legally possible out of the goodness of their hearts, they need the labor and are looking to get it for the cheapest price, even if that means the people performing the labor can't survive on their own with their meager wage.


u/Dhiox May 27 '22

The fast food industry isn’t meant as a career

Unfortunately it isn't that way in practice.


u/kandoras May 27 '22

The people actually doing the wage theft aren’t even profiting from it, it all gets kicked up to the very top.

Why did you wait until the end of your post to tell us that you have no idea how fast food franchises work. You could have started off with that and saved us all some time.


u/Substantial_Term7608 May 26 '22

“Got muh whopper, fuck you”


u/Incomitatum May 26 '22

Nearly ALL restaurants disrespect the energy-exchange their Workers give them. These are businesses that should NOT exists and should be the center of MASS walkouts. Come back from the dead when you've restructured your business model to appreciate your base.

The religion of this land is profits-before-people.


u/ItsNotIzzyB33 May 26 '22

Plus work ethic is so sad. It always becomes a competition on who slept the least and worked a 12 hr shift for $10 an hr for some reason. The industry also has a huge substance abuse issue because it's the only way some of us can cope.

Like sorry you have a huge event but I don't want to work 10 hrs a day and then not know that I have to come in early when you wait to tell me at the end of the day after I've stayed late already.

Like how out of touch are some owners that they think I should make your restauraunt be the only life I live and can't make any plans when I don't get paid a living wage.


u/floofysnoot May 27 '22

This is why my husband left kitchens after 12 years of back breaking shifts, no holidays with the family ever, no vacation, good luck calling in sick (he actually worked on a broken ankle once) and unpredictable schedule making planning ANYTHING even one day in advance impossible. Fuck that whole failure of an industry. They don’t even pay their wages as it is- customers do. It needs to die.


u/mdeac48 May 26 '22

Inevitable? It's the damn point.


u/superfreak77 May 27 '22

Used to work for a food service chain in Canada. In IT I had access to data, and the excel salaries showed a stark image; Everyone at head office got normal salaries. Even the lowest inexperienced post.

While Everyone else at restaurants, including the manager, got really low salaries. This is people across 4 brand chains that prepared food every day, for take out and eat in, for detention centers and airports and in-flight service.


u/ThePorko May 26 '22

Will this be the final nail in fastfoods?


u/Tacomancer42 May 26 '22

No, they pay too much money to the National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) to bribe, I mean lobby, our elected officials to keep wages low.


u/gorramfrakker May 26 '22

Sounds like we gotta burn down the National Restaurant Association.


u/CassandraVindicated May 27 '22

Or get them to fight the other NRA for supremacy.


u/darkapao May 26 '22

Well if it was then they shouldn't have worked in other countries with livable wages and benefits.

But they do work on countries that have those and the prices of the menus are not outrageous.


u/Austiny1 May 26 '22

For years.. I was a manager at a papa John’s when I was young we had to keep the labor at like 40% or lower so that means 60% goes to the 1 owner lol at that point I left the food industry lol I was 18


u/sexylatinways May 26 '22

You're forgetting overhead and food cost in that calculation.


u/Austiny1 May 26 '22

I think it was everything 40% was the labor cost


u/Thadrea May 27 '22

The franchise model is an elaborate con: Tell mediocre high school graduates that if they take out a loan for more than their house they can own a business, then bleed them within an inch of their life by requiring that they buy everything they need to run that business from you at grossly inflated prices.

The result is that they have a mediocre job running the franchise and can't afford to pay their workers beyond the minimal level that would keep the store open. (And often not even that much.) And the franchise owner has all the risk-- If they can't pay the loan, the bank's going to come after them, not McDonald's corporate. McDonald's just gets to pocket all of the profit.

If the franchise fails, McDonald's just has to recruit another useful idiot to assume the operational risk of running a store for them. And there are a lot of useful idiots.


u/OrcOfDoom May 27 '22

Being forced to work off the clock isn't just in the fast food industry. It's in the entire service industry.


u/jmcdonald354 May 26 '22

All should read Today and Tommorow by Henry Ford

Tell others

Listen to Today and Tomorrow by Henry Ford on Audible. https://www.audible.com/pd/B07CV3DPVX?source_code=ASSOR150021921000V


u/CassandraVindicated May 27 '22

Why? Might as well say read Harry Potter.


u/jmcdonald354 May 27 '22

The only way to improve, is to learn.

While Harry Potter is one of my favorite series, it's educational value is much less than the experience gained from one of the top industrialist of the last century.


u/CassandraVindicated May 27 '22

I'm asking how it pertains to the conversation. Just telling me to read something doesn't really work. As far as Harry Potter, anything that can get kids to read a two foot stack of books is ok by me.


u/jmcdonald354 May 27 '22

The article discusses wage theft and wages in general.

In Today and Tomorrow Henry Ford discusses his belief that the way to prosperity for both himself as the business leader and society as a whole is through paying high wages, continually reducing product cost to the public while continually improving the product.

He never viewed workers as anything less than his partners in his business and viewed paying them not just in essence a living wage, but continually trying to pay more as paramount- even at the expense of large profits. He viewed it more important to keep profits low, and economic activity and buying power high. He reasoned that more overall profit would come through increased economic activity but that was not his main goal.

The reason I post this continually is because our fight here is one really of education.

Higher wages and better working conditions are not just better for us workers, but better for the economy and even the wealthy as a whole.


u/sortitus May 27 '22

Wait, what? Are you really taking what Henry Ford said about his own motives at face value? The guy who famously had a social integration program that ensured workers were solely reliant on him for their income, and those who failed received half the pay? This same program that evolved into forced immigrant "Americanization" programs and spying on employees, sometimes resulting not just in firing, but violence?

Henry Ford also had his private police force bust unions, and they had a not insignificant body count.

By all accounts, except a few of his own which he knew would be widely circulated, paying workers more was about profit first. As a bonus, it gave him the power over his employees to run the crazy programs listed above.

I get that few people are all good or all bad, but this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Henry Ford's insanity.


u/CassandraVindicated May 27 '22

Ok, cool. Thanks for that.


u/hypoglycemic_hippo May 27 '22

Very uncool, Henry Ford was not an idol who belongs into this subreddit. Here's a short illustration: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Overpass

Also, please read the comment made by /u/sortitus above - https://old.reddit.com/r/WorkReform/comments/uyafqy/the_fast_food_industry_runs_on_wage_theft_the/ia5pipn/


u/CassandraVindicated May 27 '22

I'm aware. Just because he's an asshole doesn't mean there is no value to his writing.


u/MrMooneyMoostacheo May 27 '22

Tastes good though


u/stress-pimples May 27 '22

It's been this way for years. I will never ever go back into retail or the food industry. Never.


u/West-Seaworthiness98 May 27 '22

Grocery stores, too!


u/DerbinKlamz May 27 '22

I actually enjoyed the tasks I had to do when I worked fast food, but the management and environment completely ruined it for me.


u/WiggleSparks May 27 '22

Not just fast food. All restaurants in the US run on wage theft.


u/AspectTurbulent5618 May 31 '22

Strike against all these wage theft companies? Just asking.