14 Pros and Cons of Working in the Fast Food Industry

The global, fast food industry was valued at $647.7 billion in 2021.

The site further highlights that this number is set to surpass $998 billion by the year 2028. 

It is safe to say that there are no job shortages in this industry. 

But, you may be wondering: what is it like to work in the fast-food industry?

In this article, we will highlight seven advantages and seven disadvantages of working in this industry. 

Pros of Being a Fast Food Employee

The fast food industry is one of the most fun and exciting industries to work in as you start your career in the working world.

Many students have taken on this type of job to support themselves financially during their studies.

Here are the seven top reasons to work in the fast food industry.

1. Excellent work experience

Working in the fast food industry is very fast-paced.

On a daily basis, you meet new people, work directly with customers, be part of a team, and you have a few kitchen duties.

If this is your first job, it looks really good on your resume.

Not only are you going to learn to effectively deal with pressure and demanding customers, but you will develop excellent communication skills.

It is not called the fast food industry for no reason.

It is very fast-paced.

You will get a deeper appreciation and understanding of having a sense of urgency.

You will learn to serve and how to meet and exceed a customer’s expectations. 

It also shows that you are willing to give things a try, you are a self-starter, and you are highly motivated. 

2. Flexible working hours

If you are a student, then this is an excellent starter job for you.

Especially if you want to earn more money while studying for your career.

The hours are often very flexible and you have the option to volunteer which shifts you will be able to work.

Ultimately, management will decide which shifts to give you based on your availability, but it still means that you will work during the times that you are able to work.

This will afford you more time to focus on your studies and help you to organize your working life, student life, and personal life. 

If you are in the market for a temporary job that is very flexible, then this is the industry for you.

3. You’ll meet and make new friends

One of the most fun aspects about this job, which may be more of a disadvantage for the business owner, is that there is high labor turnover.

This means that there are constantly new employees being hired.

This is a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends and get to work with people who are in a different age group than you, speak a different language to you (other than English), come from a different background than you, and have a different culture than you do. 

Many previous fast food employees have mentioned that they have made life-long friends from their time in the fast food industry.

4. You get free fast food

If you are a fan of fast food, then you are in for a treat.

Very often, the establishment that you are working for will offer free food to employees.

This means that you are entitled to one meal per shift and if you work two shifts a day, you will be eligible for two free meals a day.

While in and of itself this is a great benefit, there is the added benefit of you saving money on groceries if you work a full shift.

You will be able to get most of your lunch from work, which will save you a ton of money in the long run.

And, if you are a student who is always low on cash, this is a double bonus.

You work, earn, and eat!

5. You climb the ladder fast

It is easy to get promoted in the fast food industry.

You will climb the ladder very quickly if you are a hard worker, who communicates very well, and is very thorough in your job.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn invaluable life skills and leadership skills.

Some fast food chains such as McDonalds in Europe are known to promote quickly from within.

Their workforce is also known to be hard and diligent workers.

6. No formal education is required

Entry into this industry is very fast and effortless.

Due to the nature of the job, there is no need for a formal education to start working.

In addition to this, the high labor turnover means that these jobs are always available.

7. You can start making money at a very young age

While there is a legal age limit for how soon young people can start working, in some countries people are able to start working part-time in fast food establishments that do not sell alcohol from as young as 16 years of age. 

If you do not plan on furthering your education, you can start to work full-time in this industry as soon as you are able to secure a job.

And, as mentioned previously, due to high labor turnover, you may get a job rather quickly. 

Cons of Being a Fast Food Employee

With every job there is an up side and a down side.

Here we will list seven of the disadvantages of working in the fast food industry.

1. Low wages

The average fast food worker earns between $10 and $16 dollars an hour.

You may be able to earn overtime when you work additional hours, but this may be a challenge if you are also studying, as most of your time will be devoted to your studies. 

In addition to low wages is the fact that there is rarely an opportunity to earn tips.

Most fast food establishments work on a salary basis strictly and accepting tips is not allowed.

You will be tied to your hourly wage.

So, while you may earn some extra money, it is hardly enough to support a family. 

2. Rude customers

There is no doubt that this job is filled with meeting new and often rude clientele.

This may be a wonderful opportunity for you to learn to deal with and manage rude customers.

But, overtime, this may take its toll on your emotional and mental health.

And, while not all customers are rude, there is a large portion of them that are.

This behaviour is perpetuated by the stigma associated with working as a fast food employee.

Many people often look down on fast food employees as these jobs are fairly repetitive, for the most part low-paying, and monotonous. 

3. On your feet all-day

This is probably the worst part of being a fast food employee.

You will be moving and moving fast throughout the day.

The only time you will have the opportunity to sit down is on your lunch break, which is only one hour of the day.

Depending on the fast food chain that you are working at, you may expect to be busy for most of the day.

It is rather rare that a fast food establishment is quiet. 

4. Work is repetitive

You will fall into a routine very quickly in this job.

You are basically a line worker that has one job function on the line.

For example, if your establishment sells hamburgers, you may be tasked with cooking the burgers.

Over time, the repetition and monotony of the job may get to you.

It may also make you feel that you are not moving up or forward in your career, which may affect your mental health. 

5. Bad working conditions

It is not uncommon for the working conditions to be bad in this industry.

You may experience working under bad management or being treated unfairly due to favoritism amongst other things.

Many fast food employees are unsatisfied with their working conditions and hope to find other work.

6. It is a physically demanding job

For the most part, you will be required to do very demanding work.

There is a lot more to this job than just flipping burgers.

You will be required to carry heavy food items which are often packed in industrial-sized packaging.

In addition, you may be required to assist with clean-up duties.

Depending on the establishment you are working for, this may include moving heavy tables and equipment when cleaning. 

7. Not ideal for those who want to start a family

There are a plethora of reasons why this job is not ideal.

Firstly, the salary is not enough to sustain a family.

The working hours may be too demanding if you have children and other responsibilities.

The stress may eventually take its toll on you and your family. 

Pros and Cons of Working in the Fast Food Industry – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Fast Food EmployeeCons of Being a Fast Food Employee
1. Excellent work experience1. Low wages
2. Flexible working hours2. Rude customers
3. You'll meet and make new friends3. On your feet all day
4. You get free fast food4. Work is repetitive
5. You climb the ladder fast5. Bad working conditions
6. No formal education is required6. It is a physically demanding job
7. You can start making money at a very young age7. Not ideal for those who want to start a family

Should You Become a Fast Food Employee?

The most appropriate time to become a fast-food employee is while you are still young, looking to start your career, or while in retirement and wanting to supplement your income. 

This is not the ideal job for a family person. 

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Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

3 thoughts on “14 Pros and Cons of Working in the Fast Food Industry

  1. Harley Aguirre says:

    Learning valuable customer service skills that are applicable in any industry. Which can make you shift to other industry so you can broaden any skills.

  2. Robert Fowler says:

    The pros for me have been the flexibility of part-time work while studying, but the cons are the limited opportunities for career advancement and the constant temptation of free fries!

  3. Experienced FastFoodManager says:

    This is not at all true. Nobody gives a flying capital F about your fast food experience. They pay their managers below livable wages so you can’t expect anything at all if you are crew. You don’t climb the ladder at all because once your good at something you are stuck there forever. You don’t get free fast-food because you only get a 20% discount, and when you do actually get a free 11$ or less meal you never get to use it because nobody lets you so you make it yourself and get screamed at and fired by district because you aren’t allowed to make food for yourself while on the clock or while off the clock. You don’t make new friends because everybody is working their for less than a week before quitting and if you retain their contact info they only ghost you. Lastly they want you to be their slave… so no you don’t get to be flexible.

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