LAKE FOREST, Ill.
— (AP) For all the talk of restaurant chains, a new survey from Next Big Futures says there’s one major area where chains can really make a difference: how much they pay their employees.
The survey, which surveyed more than 100,000 restaurant workers nationwide, found that the median pay for a full-time worker at a chain restaurant in 2017 was $11.28 an hour, up more than 12% from 2016.
That’s an increase of more than $30 an hour for hourly workers.
That average is up more by $15 an hour at chains like Chipotle, which paid $11 an hour in 2016.
The survey, based on responses from more than 11,000 people, showed that in 2017, more than 40% of full-timers in the U.S. earned more than the national median wage of $8.63 an hour.
That increase was nearly double the 15% increase in hourly earnings in 2016, the survey found.
The highest-paid full-timer in the survey, who earned more in 2017 than in 2016 at the time of the survey’s launch, was a manager at Chipotle in the Chicago suburbs who earned $31.27 an hour and had a salary of $68,500.
The lowest-paid part-time restaurant worker earned just $6.70 an hour a paycheck.
The findings were the result of a comprehensive survey of more that 100,400 workers nationwide that was done by the restaurant industry’s trade group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
It surveyed more people at the full- and part-timer levels of a chain, from managers to waiters and waitresses.
It’s not clear how the results will translate to other industries.
For example, a 2016 survey of full time restaurant workers by the National Restaurant Association showed that most full-and-term employees at full-service restaurants earned $23 an hour or less, while those at restaurants with fewer than 50 employees earned between $17 and $20 an hour more than their hourly average.
A spokeswoman for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents many restaurant chains including Chipotle and Olive Garden, said the survey was “important” but added that it is not representative of the industry.
The NPIB said the findings highlight the importance of hiring more full-season and part time workers to run an establishment.
“Our restaurants need to be able to offer the best experience to our customers, and we need to ensure that they can continue to earn good wages,” said Nicole DeCrescenzo, NPIBC’s president and CEO.
“We are very encouraged that this survey shows that our restaurant industry is moving in the right direction.”NPIBC and the restaurant trade group said that more than 20% of the full time workers in the study were working in food service, catering, bar and restaurant management, as well as other service related occupations.
For part-timing workers, those figures were 16% and 16%, respectively.NPI BC CEO Eric Anderson said the study’s findings are consistent with his organization’s experience in the restaurant business.
He said that when he started his own restaurant business more than 30 years ago, he had a policy of hiring full- or part- time staff.
He’s been seeing those numbers increase each year and says he’s confident that the industry will continue to grow.
“In the last few years, we have seen an increase in the number of part- and full- time jobs, which is a reflection of the continued growth of the restaurant sector,” Anderson said.