Shake Shack announced Wednesday that it’s investing more than $10 million in restaurant-level employees in the next year as the industry continues to battle labor shortages nationwide.
The company, which employs more than 9,000 people in the U.S., described the move as one of the “biggest team member commitments” in the history of the brand. The benefits include wage increases, sign-on and retention bonuses, and leadership development programs.
More than $9 million will go toward increasing wages for hourly workers. After raises at over half of locations in 2020, wages were boosted in more than two-thirds of stores this year. Additionally, nearly $1 million will be spent on hiring bonuses. Shake Shack is offering a $1,000 hiring bonus for managers and $500 for hourly team members hired between June 10 and August 31 at many restaurants across the country. The chain is also giving managers a monthly subscription allowance lasting up to a year for managers to use toward cell phone bills, streaming services, or other things that improve their mental, physical, or emotional well-being.
Beyond those investments, Shake Shack noted that workers positioned at general manager and above receive equity based compensation. The best-performing general managers are capable of earning more than $115,000 in total compensation, and most salaried, exempt managers are given a starting salary of $50,000 to $65,000, with monthly and quarterly bonuses.
Regarding leadership development, Shake Shack formed the Shacksperience Steppin Up Model to clearly define the roles and requirements of each level of employment, from team member to area director. In addition, the brand hosts a leadership retreat where salaried workers can participate in leadership development classes and strategic planning sessions with Shake Shack leadership.
To grow its next crop of leaders, Shake Shack started Shift Up, a career development program for entry-level managers to learn professional and business communications, financial acumen, and leadership skills. The company is launching two additional sessions this summer.
“Shake Shack is a people-first company, and we’re committed to investing in our teams’ development and providing opportunities for a successful career in the restaurant business,” said Chief People Officer Diane Neville in a statement. “Our teams work incredibly hard to provide a great guest experience and we’re proud to recognize and appreciate them with industry-leading pay and career development opportunities.”
The investments come off a year in which Shake Shack provided workers with nearly $6 million in additional pay, including a $250 to $400 holiday bonus for hourly workers and 10 percent premium pay for team members from the end of April to the summer months.
Shake Shack is one of many major quick-service brands looking to attract and retain more talent through additional benefits. In May, McDonald’s announced it was raising the average wage of hourly workers at company-run stores to $13 per hour. Franchises, which make up 95 percent of the system, are reportedly adding child care, educational, and other benefits to attract more workers. Chipotle decided to raise its pay as well, but to $15 per hour. Employees also have the opportunity to earn six figures in as little as three and a half years.
The restaurant industry added 194,300 jobs in June, but it’s still 1.3 million short of February 2020’s total workforce. The U.S. saw 9.2 million job openings on the final business day of May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.