We Tallied 125,000 Restaurant Job Openings Paying $10 an Hour and Up

A Starbucks employee gives drinks to a customer through drive-thru.
The average wage for a Starbucks barista is $12 an hour. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for managers is $59,000. Photo courtesy of Starbucks

“We’re Hiring.” “Join our Team.” “Interview. Get a Free Meal.”

Marquee signs at restaurants around the country show food service employers are still desperate to fill thousands of jobs — and they’re upping their offerings with signing bonuses and higher wages.

Average hourly wages for non supervisory positions in the food and beverage industry surpassed $15 in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We checked out Indeed, Glassdoor and chain restaurant websites to find the ones offering the best pay and bonuses. If you’re looking for full- or part-time work, consider these employers first.

7 Restaurants Offering Signing Bonuses or Higher Pay

McDonald’s: 65,000 jobs

McDonald’s raised hourly wages for all of its existing employees and new hires earlier this year to $11 to $17 for entry-level positions. It can’t mandate the same for franchises, which make up 95 percent of all stores, but it is encouraging them to raise their wages, too.

It’s also hoping to entice new hires with paid time off (no details announced on how much) and financial aid for education. McDonald’s will offer qualifying crew members $2,500 a year toward college tuition and $3,000 to managers.

Wages: $11 to $17 for entry level positions; $15 to $20 for shift managers, according to the company.

Perks: College tuition aid, high school diploma program, free ESL program, some paid time off.

How to apply: Go to the McDonald’s website.  

Starbucks: 17,000 jobs

The coffee giant is looking to fill 17,000 jobs across the country. A few clicks on a map on the company website lets applicants know what jobs are available in their area.

Wages: Average hourly wage for baristas is $12, while average annual salary for managers is $59,000, according to Glassdoor.

Perks: Parental leave, up to $10,000 reimbursement for adoption, surrogacy or fertility procedures, 100% tuition reimbursement for a bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program, 401(k) matching.

How to apply: Go to the company website.

Papa John’s: 15,000 jobs

The pizza chain announced plans in July to spend $2.5 million on referral bonuses and employee appreciation bonuses at corporate-owned stores through the rest of 2021. Existing employees who refer a friend to an interview that results in a hire get $50 as does the new employee. Employees are also eligible for up to $400 in appreciation bonuses paid in increments through the rest of the year.

Wages: An average of $10 an hour for team members, according to Glassdoor.

Perks: College tuition reimbursement for a full degree.

How to apply: Go to this link.

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar: 10,000 jobs

This longtime staple in casual dining is seeing triple digit sales increases thanks in part to a country song called “Fancy Like” by Walker Hayes that details how he celebrates on payday. “We fancy like Applebee’s on a date night, got that Bourbon Street steak with the Oreo shake,” the lyrics say. The song has even inspired a viral TikTok and Instagram dance craze.

Sales at Applebee’s stores open at least a year were up 102% for the three months ending June 30 compared to the same three months in 2020. To keep up with this surge in customers, the  “neighborhood” restaurant is looking to hire 10,000 people across the country.

Wages: Average hourly wage for servers is $10, for line cooks it’s $13 and managers make an average of $53,000 a year.

Perks: 401(k), health insurance

How to apply: Go to this link.

IHOP: 10,000 jobs

IHOP is hoping to fill 10,000  jobs under its trademark blue roof at all of its 1,600 restaurants, with in-person and virtual interviews in a more streamlined process.

Wages: Servers make an average of $12 an hour, line cooks make an average of $13 an hour while managers make an average annual salary of $56,000, according to Glassdoor.

How to apply: Interested applicants can check out openings here.

Chipotle Mexican Grill: 5,000 jobs

The Mexican favorite needs to fill more than 5,000 positions. To attract more employees it has raised crew members’ pay to $11 to $18 an hour, resulting in an average hourly wage of $15. It’s also offering referral bonuses to employees who help recruit a new hire. A referral that results in a new crew member is worth $200, while a referral for an apprentice or general manager gets a $750 bonus.

Wages: $11 to $18 per hour

Perks: Pay increases, referral bonuses, 401(k), expanded college tuition coverage for degrees in agriculture, culinary and hospitality.

How to apply: Go to the Chipotle website.

Jersey Mike’s: 2,500 jobs

This sub shop is offering a variety of signing bonuses at many of its 2,000 restaurants around the country. One very determined franchise owner in Santa Cruz, Calif., recently promised a $10,000 hiring incentive for an assistant manager, $5,000 for a shift manager and $500 for other full- or part-time employees. Other franchise owners are offering $100 signing bonuses. New hires get the bonus once they are on the job for six weeks.

Wages: Average hourly wage of $13 an hour.

How to apply: Interested applicants can check out the website

Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance writer and editor in Chapel Hill, N.C.