The Pros and Cons of Working at Fast-Food Restaurants
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.
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.
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.