people working at a fast food restaurant

@missadriennek/TikTok

‘There isn’t a labor shortage. There’s a cheap labor shortage’: Burger joint that pays $20 per hour sparks debate on TikTok

'#payalivingwage'

 

Cecilia Lenzen

Internet Culture

Published Oct 31, 2021   Updated Nov 1, 2021, 9:57 am CDT

A Dick’s Drive-In restaurant in Kent, Washington, is fully staffed with 15 employees who are each paid $20 per hour, according to one TikToker. Their viral video on the fast-food restaurant prompted a discussion about the national labor shortage and wages for fast-food workers. 

The TikToker, known as user @missadriennek, shows the seemingly fully staffed restaurant operating smoothly with a short line of customers waiting for their orders. The video reached more than 612,000 views and almost 6,000 comments as of Sunday. 

The TikToker said they were able to purchase two cheeseburgers, a deluxe cheeseburger, two orders of fries, one milkshake, and a root beer float all for about $20. 

Some viewers pointed to the low price total as evidence that many people’s argument that raising the minimum wage would spike consumer prices doesn’t hold up. 

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Others didn’t seem to get why people get so incensed over “other people making a decent wage.”

“Only in America will people complain about other people making a decent wage or call it untenable,” one viewer commented. 

Another said, “Can someone please explain to me why tRumplicans are so against people making a fair wage?” 

Other viewers had a lot to say in opposition to the restaurant employees making $20 per hour. 

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“Let’s pay everyone 20 an hour so you guys can watch the crash and learn economics real quick,” one user wrote. 

Another argued, “You shouldn’t make 20 an hour at a job that is intended to be a 16 year old’s first job. It’s a learning experience not a career.” 

Other viewers argued against that comment, with some saying a teenager isn’t any less valuable or deserving of a fair wage because of their age. Others pointed out that many fast-food restaurants are actually staffed primarily by people in their middle ages. 

Age aside, some TikTok users said the fully staffed restaurant proves that the labor shortage was caused by low wages in America.

“There isn’t a labor shortage. There’s a cheap labor shortage,” one viewer clarified. 

However, the restaurant location could be facing a staffing shortage even with its higher-than-usual wages. A note on the restaurant’s website says that it isn’t fulfilling customer orders of more than 50 burgers through the end of October due to “staffing and supply issues.” 

Dick’s employees earn a base wage that varies from $19 to $20 per hour, according to the company website. According to the Kent Reporter, the restaurant recently increased its starting wages in September.

The Daily Dot reached out to Dick’s Drive-In for comment but did not hear back by press time.


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*First Published: Oct 31, 2021, 9:18 am CDT