Jobseeker considers going back to food service after seeing Panda Express is paying more than office jobs

@eatlovelivewithsusu/TikTok Roman Tiraspolsky/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘I hate retail but I might have to go back’: Jobseeker considers going into food service after seeing Panda Express is paying more than office jobs

'Me making $14 in healthcare & $25 at amazon??'


Jack Alban


Posted on Mar 16, 2024

If you’re looking for a job that pays a decent hourly rate, you may want to consider working for the popular fast-food chain Panda Express. According to, the restaurant pays kitchen staff workers an average of $32 an hour, which isn’t bad for grilling up some chicken teriyaki and Beijing Beef.

A TikToker named Susu (@eatlovelivewithsusu) didn’t think this was such a bad route to take either while she was searching for a job. She expressed her consideration in donning the black apron once again due to how much the company is paying some of its associates.

She shared her surprise after stacking up its pay against office jobs in a viral clip that’s garnered over 762,000 views as of Saturday.

“When you said you were done with food service but office jobs are paying $18-$22 and Panda Express is paying $32…” she writes in a text overlay of the video. In the clip, she types away on her laptop, then quickly closes it, lays down in bed, and pretends to cry herself to sleep.

These wage hikes seem to be a direct response to food service industry workers, who, after presumably sticking with a mode of work that they had grown accustomed to but were forced to abandon during the COVID era, began transitioning to other industries that paid more.

To retain workers, fast food establishments have jacked up pay for employees (not to mention the cost of the items that they sell) to stay staffed.

Stay-at-home mandates in response to COVID-19 resulted in a complete upheaval of the workforce, leaving many industries understaffed. Chief among them were the food service and hospitality industries.

@eatlovelivewithsusu panda express if ur reading this it’s a joke pls hire me #fyp #jobsearch #jobhuntingbelike #jobhunting #minimumwage #foodservice #officejob #9to5life #jobmarket ♬ Stewie Crying in Bed – I Green Screen Things

Other predominantly hourly-based gigs like working for major retailers rectified staffing issues thanks to salary increases after the pandemic, the food service industry has still been facing difficulties in staying staffed throughout 2023. There are outlets penning guides on how businesses can help combat these shortages in 2024.

One TikToker who responded to Susu’s post appeared to also consider taking the Panda Express career route, writing, “I’ll take Panda Express. I’m tired of getting yelled at all day.”

Someone else lamented about the state of the labor market, sharing, “I saw an executive assistant job with a masters preferred for 20-25 an hour.”

“I hate retail but I might have to go back,” one echoed.

Another replied that it wasn’t just office jobs leaving offering low pay to workers, either.

“Real because how are Medical Assistants making ONLY $17 – $20?! HUH,” they wrote.

While one TikTok user replied it wasn’t just Panda Express offering a decent hourly wage, but another popular fast food establishment as well: “The In N Out next to my apartment is offering $26/hr”

“No cause why is McDonald’s general managers making 80k with amazing perks? Canes too,” someone else echoed.

While “burger flipping” jobs are usually associated with entry-level teenage vocations, steady growth in the fast food industry and understaffing issues seem to have revealed that businesses could’ve paid the employees more all along. Again, there is the issue of rising item costs that have been pricing lower-income diners out, which many say is a response to these wage hikes.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Panda Express via email and Susu via TikTok comment.

The internet is chaotic—but we’ll break it down for you in one daily email. Sign up for the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter here to get the best (and worst) of the internet straight into your inbox.

Share this article
*First Published: Mar 16, 2024, 9:04 am CDT