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The Pros and Cons of Working at Fast-Food Restaurants

The author has experience working in fast food and is here to share her knowledge with her readers.

Learn all about the benefits and downsides of working in the fast-food industry.

Learn all about the benefits and downsides of working in the fast-food industry.

You Might Think Working in Fast Food Is Easy, But There Are Downsides

So, you probably think working at fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King, etc. is super easy, right? Well, you're right! It is super easy to learn if you're willing to. But you know what? Not many people want to, not many people are fast, not many people can grasp concepts as easily as others, and not many people can work fast—under busy, or extremely busy conditions.

I worked at a fast-food restaurant for 6 1/2 years that everyone knows and is a common household name, but I won't mention the name here. I was about 17 when I started, and I recently quit a couple of months ago at the age of 24. I was a student in high school while working there, and then I went off to college while working there, and I even worked at my other job that I have now for the past two years while working there!

My boss was great to me (most of the time), and I can't complain; I loved it! It was annoying sometimes, but I got so used to it and so good at being a manager, if it was busy for me, it was a piece of cake. My store, though, was located on a main road, it looked like a mansion, and it would get very, very busy making a lot of money just in an hour of business.

Fast-food restaurants are not as easy to work at as most people think they are, and they are all not as bad as people would think either, OR are they? I think it depends. It depends where you are located, if the restaurant is busy or not, and if you have English-speaking managers, or not! So in the following, I will discuss the good and bad that you may go through if you work at a fast-food restaurant.

working-at-fast-food-restaurantsthe-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly

Pros

Flexible Schedule

This is one of the reasons I worked in fast food for so long. While I was in college, every semester, my schedule would change, and all I would have to do is let my boss know my schedule, and he'd work around it! It was great. Even when I got my internship and other job, he worked around them, no problem. I could breathe while working there.

You Can Work Your Way Up Fast

If you're a teenager, you can easily work up to be manager by the age of 18. I became manager at around 18 years old. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I think it looks really good if you're a manager at 18, you can probably learn a lot and get another job when you are done with this one, easily. If the restaurant is a known name is most households, such as McDonald's, they make you take classes for management, which can even count towards credits in college! Yes, being a manager may be annoying because you have to deal with stupid, slow, or non-English-speaking crew, but for the most part, if you are managing the store correctly, all you'll be doing is supervising your crewmembers and helping them if need be. That's it. When I got the hang of being manager, I actually did love to go to work. I would manage so well that I would just watch all my employees working and pitch in when I would want to give them advice on how to do something better, aka constructive criticism.

You Can Get a Discount

Obviously, you get a discount at these types of restaurants. And, most of the time they will give you a really, really good discount, or your food for free. They tell you something like 20%, but really most managers don't care, and they will give you most if not all your food for free. I was always at my job because of this. When I didn't know what to eat or had no time, I'd go to my job and get free food!

You Can Get Free Tickets to Events

Depending on where you work, of course, your store manager will have access to tickets to all sorts of events. Most fast-food chains are linked to Splish Splash, Six Flags, and other entertainment parks and places, as well as sporting events, like soccer, baseball, etc. So it comes as no surprise that if you are on good terms with your boss and a good employee, your boss will give you some of these tickets. I used to go to Six Flags and Splish Splash every year, not to mention sports games as well. I loved it! Oh, and not all the events required you go with people you work with, like sports, obviously, we went together, but I would go to Six Flags and Splish Splash with my friends, even though most of the time I was only able to get one more free ticket, but it was really sweet!

You Learn How to Be a Leader

These jobs, if they are organized, will teach you great skills. You learn leadership skills, how to work on your own, or in a team, how to work efficiently and fast at the same time, etc. It really is great for young people. If the pay were better, I would say for older people too, but it's not unless you are store manager or owner.

Cons

Managing Others Who Are Older Than You Can Lead to Conflict

And this happens a lot at fast-food restaurants. Especially since a lot of the crew members don't speak English, if you speak English, you are already ahead of a lot of people that work at these places, and they get mad that a younger person is now their boss. I remember people wouldn't listen to me on purpose; they would try to tell me how to do my job; they would give me attitude, and so on.

Do you know what I did? I became a bitch. Well, not really, I just became very assertive and serious about my job, so serious that I started to scare people. I loved it. I didn't care if people didn't like me because they weren't the ones paying me. I am a pretty young woman that is hardly scary-looking, yet I scared most of the people that worked with me. But, the people that knew me would tell everyone else that I'm not scary, just don't mess with me, lol.

If You Are Older, You'll Have Younger People Managing You

It also works the other way around, obviously. If you go into the job at an older age, you probably will have some younger people that worked their way up and are now managing. You have to deal with it if this is the case.

You'll Be Eating Fast Food ALL the Time

You can try not to, but it will always be there, right in your face. I don't know how I didn't become a wale after working there for so long, but I tried not to eat that much. But I will not lie, there were days where I couldn't believe how much I ate in a day, and I didn't get fat. But I probably have a fast metabolism, so don't listen to my nonsense. Eating that garbage is not good for you, so this is a bad side of working at fast food.

You'll Probably Have to Fight for Your Raises

They say you are entitled to raises every six months, which meant to my boss every year. I'd have to really remind him all the time, and when he'd finally give it to me, it would be months after he told me he would. Not cool, but by the time I left, I found out that I was the highest-paid employee there, besides my boss, of course. There were women working there for 15 years, and they were getting paid the same as me, I couldn't believe it. They never knew, or they would flip!

You'll Deal With Annoying Customers

I had people try to fight me and do all sorts of crazy things for their fast food. You've seen the youtube videos! If you know how to handle yourself during these situations, then you're set; if not, you will either learn or want out. Thankfully, I had people to back me up in my situation, and I told the lady I would call the cops! But otherwise, I laugh now when I think about those crazy customers I used to get. I will write some of my experiences in another article.

A Final Thought

So, I will leave it at that for now. My experience working at fast food was actually very rewarding for me; I met a lot of great people and still visit them and will continue to do so if I am in the area. I found great opportunities through my job, such as side jobs or various connections. My schedule was very flexible and went along with whatever else I was doing with my life at the time, such as school and my other job.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Claudia Mathews on March 01, 2015:

I worked at a few fast food places in years past. I had some good experiences and bad ones too. Overall, with the right attitude, it can be great. What bugged me the most was co workers that moved as slow as molasses and the odd nasty customers! I enjoyed the fast pace, it kept me motivated and energized. Great article you wrote, Im glad you got so much out of your time working there.

servicenotservant on February 08, 2015:

We learn from all jobs. Service industry could be difficult sometimes but also have good rewards. I would love to hear about your experiences with crazy customers.

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on December 14, 2013:

If fast food is helping someone else live then that's great, there's no problem with that!

najia on December 11, 2013:

I understand fast food is not the top of anyone's dream jobs. This recessiin is forcing most people to consider fast food. Money is nowhere else to be found.

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on October 30, 2013:

Thank you! Funny how things work out like that! Lol

moonlake from America on October 29, 2013:

Our kids all worked at fast foods when they were teens. It taught them how to deal with people and how to get a job and that they had to get out of bed on the week-end and work. I once had a friend say to me, my kids would never work in a grease pit like that. She has lazy bum grown-ups now. Voted up on your hub.

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on September 14, 2013:

I'm sorry for the bad experience you had at your McDonald's. If my store was like yours, I wouldn't want to work there either. Fortunately, my boss tried to accommodate to my schedule and I was happy for that! I used to go to school and had another job while I worked there.

Former BK slave on September 06, 2013:

Shit pay, shit customer, shit schedule.

Had it not been for my colleagues I would've walked away from my manager position with no good memories.

The whole company oozed of cult-like behaviour from management, the customers are ungrateful dickheads and working a shitty night-shift and coming home at 2 AM just to be forced to be at work again at 7:30 AM is hardly what I call a "flexible schedule".

No room for having any kind of routines in your life, you work your ass off for less money than it's worth and even though you give it your all you will still have grumpy douchebags for customers ruining your day over a fucking pickle on their sandwich.

If you want to be miserable, this is the job for you!

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on February 09, 2013:

Thank you guys, I actually got a great paying job thanks to my degree and my hard work, working at fast food for 6+ years! It really pays off in the end !

Neophytewriter on February 05, 2013:

This is a a great article about working in the fast-food industry. It sounds like you are not only a hard-working manager but also a great writer, too. My wife actually runs a few of one of the larger doughnut fast-food chains and this article was funny because I hear her say a lot of the same things. Her biggest problem these days is to find enough people to manager her new stores. It just seems like nobody wants to work there.

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on January 28, 2013:

My cousin is a lot like you. He's worked in fast food since high school and is about to graduate and find a real job. Where he works is good but I feel bad sometimes thinking about how much he goes through just to earn money.

However, like you said there are a lot of benefits to working in fast food and it seems like it helped you a lot. Nice hub!

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on July 30, 2012:

Thank you lindacee, I do miss it but I am on to whatever's next up in what life has to offer me. Thanks for your comment :)!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on July 29, 2012:

Great insight into the world of fast food. I have never worked at a ff restaurant, but never say never, right? There's always a first time! Glad you consider your time there as a positive experience. It is valuable, real world stuff that prepares you for a variety of workplace situations.

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on July 24, 2012:

I don't blame you gail641, I did like it working there because I pretty much ran the store but it did get annoying. Both the work just like any other job, and the food of course.

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on July 24, 2012:

Very interesting--I like the french fries at MacDonalds. I'm older, but I don't think that I would ever want to work in a fast food restaurant.

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on July 18, 2012:

Yes, it's true. I was eating McDonald's for 6 YEARS, I don't know how I'm not 300 pounds by now. I ate it even when I wasn't working because I got it for free. It is NOT good for you, obviously, so I'm happy that I don't work there anymore.

HL Keeley from Charlotte, NC on July 18, 2012:

I did not want to work at McDonalds or Burger King because they are part of the reason of my downfall. I need to stay away from them for a year because when I eat it one day it will be a reminder how much healthy food does not taste as good as that greasy, salty deliciousness. LOL

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on July 12, 2012:

Yes, what is life without memories, I like that and your right! Thank you so much for the vote up and share dwachira!! :)

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on July 12, 2012:

The different stages we pass through in our lives make the life what it is. Sometimes it is hard to forget what we went through but what is life without memories. Voted up and shared

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on July 08, 2012:

Always exploring, thank you, glad you enjoyed it ! I loved working there but I have quit since I've finished school now.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 07, 2012:

I think any job is important, many have no jobs, so be proud. Enjoyed..Thank you.

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on July 07, 2012:

shiningirisheyes thank you, and yes you are right most jobs are like this, but a lot of people poke fun at people who work at fast food restaurants when it's not that different from any other job. Thanks for reading! :)

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on July 07, 2012:

Great write although these conditions follow into many other careers as well.

Good for you to gain the valuable knowledge you will need as you continue down your road of life.

Fotinoula Gypsyy (author) from NYC BABY on July 06, 2012:

Yea its not for everyone! But that's weird that it doesn't agree with your schedule they usually are pretty flexible, that's why I stayed there for so long! Thanks for passing by unknown spy :)!

Life Under Construction from Neverland on July 06, 2012:

good tips Euronila.. ive tried applying once just to experience the life on a fastfood chain..but I failed..hehehe,im still studying that time and the fast food chain doesn't agree with my sched! :)

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