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A burger joint pays $20 an hour and is fully staffed. It says a lot about our 'labor shortage.'

After a TikToker uploaded a video of Dick's Drive-in, where employees are paid $20 an hour, fellow users debated the country's ongoing labor shortage.

A burger joint pays $20 an hour and is fully staffed. It says a lot about our 'labor shortage.'
Image Source: jamie_stewart15 / Twitter

TikTok user Missadriennek recently uploaded a video to the platform featuring her local burger joint in Kent, Washington: Dick's Drive-in, established in 1954. In the now-viral clip, the restaurant seems far removed from the reality that the rest of the United States is currently confronting—a worrisome labor shortage. With 15 employees, Dick's Drive-in is fully-staffed. This could be because, at $20 an hour, the eatery mandates a living wage for its employees. The TikTok video has sparked a polarizing debate online about what should be considered an appropriate wage for those who work in the fast food sector, Comic Sands reports.


In the video, the user pans to the establishment running efficiently. There was only a very short line of customers patiently waiting for their orders outside. She asks those watching if they would like to know why and how this is possible. Then, she answers, "Two cheeseburgers, another cheeseburger, two orders of fries, a shake, and a float, less than 20 bucks. Can't beat it." That definitely does sound like a great deal, especially when other fast food chain options are not as appetizing. So far, Missadriennek's TikTok has been viewed over 612,000 times. It has also received over 8,000 comments.


That is probably because the video inspired a heated debate over whether fast food employees would earn as much as $20 an hour for what many seem to think is "unskilled work." "You shouldn't make $20 an hour at a job that is intended to be a 16-year-old's first job," one user commented. "It's a learning experience, not a career." Another opponent of the "inflated" wage added, "The work doesn't add up to the wage." However, dozens of folks disagreed with this perspective, arguing that individuals should be paid a living wage no matter what kind of work they do.


For instance, one TikToker wrote, "It's almost like when you pay a fair wage, people want to keep the job and deliver a quality product that people will buy." "It's amazing what happens when companies pay their employees a living wage," a fellow proponent stated. "It's almost as if people want to work there." Those invested in raising the minimum wage for all would also be happy to note that Dick's Drive-in provides its employees full health benefits and offers childcare assistance. In addition to this, the restaurant gives its employees access to a $28,000 scholarship benefit after they pass their first skills test. This process could take as little as six weeks.


Evidently, Dick's Drive-in is doing far more for its employees than some of the most profitable fast food chains in the country, whose employees have asserted that they would not return to work without better pay and working conditions. Many accused the eatery of not being able to sustain itself into the future. In response, several TikTok users highlighted that the employer had been in business since 1954. Therefore, they have been ensuring living wages and healthy work environments for their employees for almost seven decades. It is about time that other fast food firms followed suit.


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