Restaurant Employees Will See Huge Pay Raises Nationwide

Laws, like the FAST ACT, plus the unionization of restaurant employees are boosting the minimum wage for restaurant employees.

By Trista Sobeck | Published


Great news for restaurant workers in 2023! Raises are coming–in some states more than others, though. As federal minimum wages increase due to many states’ recent moves. Some states may even increase more due to other state bills and other restaurants unionizing. And, as supply chain issues increase, as well as labor shortages continue, wages could go up even more!

According to CNBC, some restaurant workers could see up to $22/hr if certain laws go through. But, don’t bet on it. Although the minimum wage is up, other rules are not as certain. In California, Governor Newsom signed the FAST act. 

This bill creates a 10-person council to govern the wages and working conditions for restaurant workers of restaurants that have more than 100 locations nationwide. The restaurant industry generally objects to this act as it could lead to the end of the restaurant industry for good. There are already protections in place with labor and franchising regulations. 

Unionizing has been a recent trend, with many restaurant workers are attempting to unionize. It all began with the COVID pandemic as they were out there, working with people, putting themselves at risk. Demands included more personal protection equipment, overtime pay, and anti-racism training. In addition, delivery workers are asking for raises as well. And they may very well get them. 

As the world gets more dangerous with viruses, violence, and the task of doing more with less. It’s an untenable situation. So, unionizing is definitely an option. However, this does come with a risk but many small independent places have been successful. 

Starbucks locations have made attempts to unionize, with little success. One New York location was successful. Unionizing for restaurant workers is extremely rare with only 1.2% of workers in the restaurant industry belonging to unions. 

Back to the FAST act. Places like Chik-Fil-A and  McDonald’s have been pouring money into taking down the law. Which runs parallel with a surge against union organization. Restaurant workers typically hold demanding schedules, have to cater to demanding customers (and keep smiling), and generally don’t make a ton of cash. 2023 may be their year.

As more and more folks venture back into life after quarantining for so long, restaurants are under intense stress to deliver. But, not all the restaurant workers came back. Some folks moved on to different jobs, some decided to get more education, and some decided to stay home. So, if restaurants want to stay in business, they must hire and retain workers. Hence the wage increases. 

Interestingly, some restaurants are experimenting with having zero human workers in the restaurant. One McDonald’s tried to have one location sans people. Those who went as guests found it incredibly creepy and sterile. However, the desire to remove human error from the equation is understandable. No more uncaring teen at the drive-through window (did she just roll her eyes?!) But isn’t that what makes fast food places feel like home, right?