Minimum Wage

Economic Challenge – You Try Living on $7.25 an Hour - By John Hendrie

Ah, the season for giving. And, perhaps, coming to the city where you reside, a protest this Thursday by fast food employees, up-close and personal, as they clamor for a living wage.

LRA Worldwide This movement is growing, supported by organized labor, politicians and citizens, who cannot believe that folks, particularly those with families to provide for, can make it on the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.  I certainly could not!

As the Huffington Post pointed out, “It's not clear how large the turnout will be at any given location, or whether the walkouts will be enough to disrupt operations. Similar actions this summer had varying results, with some restaurants unable to serve customers and others seemingly unaffected.”  These confrontations will not cease, as these protests have been building throughout the year.  The subject will not disappear either, for the gulf between the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots” has become an embarrassing abyss.  On December 1, 2013, the New York Times, in an informative article about the fast food worker, provided a startling comparison.  ”Last winter, Bloomberg News determined that it would take a Chicago McDonald’s worker who earns $8.25 an hour more than a century on the clock to match the $8.75 million that the company’s chief executive made in 2011.”  Yikes!

It is very easy to dump all over the Fast Food Industry.  However, the major companies are competing on low priced product within a market which is very competitive and a slow economy.  But, they are under fire, and their responses have been pretty tepid.  For example, some cite their business model which forever has been based on hiring younger employees just beginning to enter the job market.  The industry now has an “…structural anomaly”,  according to the Times  “that its wages were not intended to sustain a permanent work force – especially adults supporting families – and that is happening because of larger economic forces”.  The National Employment Law Project further determined some numbers:  “…the average age of fast-food workers is 29; forty per cent are 25 or older; 31 per cent have at least attempted college; more than 26% are parents raising children.”  This certainly is not your typical high school teen labor pool.

Something has to move here. Keep in mind that many of these workers have to reach out for municipal and federal assistance just to make it through the day.  Guess who pays for that – all taxpayers do!  $15 an hour has been bandied about.  That will not happen, so why not split the difference and come out around $10 an hour. 

This situation is just bad for America.


LRA LogoJohn Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog 'A Guy Walks In'LRA is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability. We have built a range of quality assurance, mystery shopping, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so.

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