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EgaoNoGenki's avatar

Why do fast food workers still earn the same, no matter whether they make 10 or 100 meals an hour? Why no commission on a per-meal basis? Rather unfair, ain't it?

Asked by EgaoNoGenki (1158points) March 1st, 2010

I mean, why shouldn’t they earn COMMISSION for every burger, taco, or meal they make?

When they make 10 meals in an hour, they earn $7.50 that hour.

When they make 100 meals in an hour, they still earn that same $7.50 an hour.

If a realtor can earn commission from every house they sell, why shouldn’t a fast food assembler earn commission from every meal they make?

That is one more reason why I wish to relieve those workers of their miseries by replacing them with robots or whatever automated process fast food joints need to operate faster and more efficiently than warm bodies ever could.

(Sorry if I sound like a villain to a certain category of workers here. Henry Ford and Kiichiro Toyoda seemed like villains to the blacksmiths, horse and train vendors.)

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35 Answers

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EgaoNoGenki's avatar

@johnpowell When & where was the last time you worked in fast food? How miserable did you feel?

I felt so miserable that by the time I quit in February 2005, I was so reviled by the way the workers worked and were treated, that I wanted to make those kinds of jobs a thing of the past anymore, by aspiring to invent an automated process to replace all of them.

RareDenver's avatar

People are generally paid for their time not their ability and besides who would be earning the commission here? The guy at the till doing the ‘selling’ or the guy at the griddle doing the ‘flipping’?

EgaoNoGenki's avatar

@RareDenver I’d prefer both. I guess they’d be small commissions each meal, but they’d add up.

Sophief's avatar

I think it is possibly because you don’t really need to use your brain. It is sort of like a robot type job and that is why it doesn’t pay. It isn’t really a career, more like a way to earn extra.

RareDenver's avatar

@EgaoNoGenki an hourly rate is far more suitable for this job, you have to think of the seemingly low hourly rate that gets paid during the busy periods as subsidising the seemingly high hourly rate that gets paid at quiet times.

EgaoNoGenki's avatar

@RareDenver I meant a commission atop the hourly rate. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

RareDenver's avatar

@EgaoNoGenki so a lower hourly rate plus a commission on meals sold? Wouldn’t every member of staff be demanding the lunch and dinnertime shifts? Would you consider this fair for the part time staff that are restricted on when they can work, possibly to mainly the quiet periods?

Like I said before, jobs like this your salary is not there to repay you for your skills, it is simply there to repay you for giving up your free time and handing it over to the fast food corporation.

joeysefika's avatar

Dude, it’s fast food. They’re there to rip you off and provide jobs to the uneducated masses / high school students. Besides I know in Australia at least until you’re 18 you aren’t considered a normal person and therefore are not eligible for full minimum wage, i.e. $12.50/h. So really they can pay you whatever they want to without any legal ramifications

LuckyGuy's avatar

What you need is a small profit share bonus. If the store is profitable then the staff get a little piece.

JeffVader's avatar

I suspect if they did use a performance related pay system then the employees would get paid next to nothing per, burger, taco or whatever. One way or another the employee would get screwed over.

laureth's avatar

I bet the owners would love to make the current $7.50 (they make that much?) the rate for 100 burgers an hour, with reductions in wage for fewer meals. Restaurants are notorious for overworking and underpaying their staff.

MrItty's avatar

A Big Mac Meal costs about $5.00. Exactly how much of a “commission” would you like from that?

Commissions would be disastrous for fast food employees.

kevbo's avatar

If you’re making 10 meals an hour they send you or your friend home.

theichibun's avatar

This is just stupid. What do you do during the down time? How do you split it if multiple people work on the same meal? Are you counting fries in that? Because that’s one giant drop and someone coming along later to pick them up.

Cruiser's avatar

These restaurants depend on the little guy to do these minimum wage jobs in order to put a meat product on a bun for you for under a buck and still make a profit. If you want to earn commission, get a job selling women’s shoes or homes per your example.

grumpyfish's avatar

The reason that Realtors and other sales folk make commissions is that They Work To Sell Things.

With a few exemptions, the harder a Realtor works, the more they get paid in commissions.

If you are working in fast food (particularly in the back), you do not have influence over how many burgers you make, or how many burgers you sell. Ergo, a commission makes no sense.

Notably, on your “automation” scheme—I worked in a food production plant for a summer—we churned out 12,000 burgers per hour. The main production line was probably 120’ long, much longer than you could really fit into a typical fast food joint.

davidbetterman's avatar

Fast food enterprises rely on slave labor. You don’t give the slaves any extras, nor perks. Besides, you are lucky to have a fast food job these days, and also lucky anyone buys that crap.

CMaz's avatar

“Fast food enterprises rely on slave labor.”

So true. I am amazed at what little a Manager makes at those places.

Likeradar's avatar

@grumpyfish GA. And I think you’re totally right. A fast food worker’s charm, intelligence, people skills, etc has nothing to do with the chain’s sales. Teachers, many nurses, paralegals, etc don’t generally get commission depending on how many students/clients/whatever they see either, and those jobs require some serious brain work.

@davidbetterman and @ChazMaz It’s so ridiculous to call fast food workers slave labor. Slaves didn’t have a choice. Fast food workers can move ahead in life, or make the choice to be perfectly happy with what they’re doing. No one is forced into working at fast food.

@EgaoNoGenki I’d be thrilled to get $7.50 in an hour to do nothing but “make” 10 burgers.

CMaz's avatar

“No one is forced into working at fast food.”

It is always about choice. Some do not have a choice.

davidbetterman's avatar

You’re right. Some can choose to live homeless in the streets eating fast food remnants out of trash cans. Not much of a choice!

Likeradar's avatar

@ChazMaz Sure they do. Just a few other options for many people who work at a fast food level: gas stations, grocery stores, physical labor, telemarketing, entry level retail, porn. It’s not always a pretty or good choice, and I’m glad I don’t have to make the choice, but people who work at fast food places choose to do so.

CMaz's avatar

First of all. I am not putting down Fast Food workers. I do not believe any one here is.

Just for the record.

Maybe they are paid so poorly, because the job is that easy. Any work is good work.

And, hour for hour and dollar for dollar. Porn pays quite well. We all take it in the ass one way or another.

davidbetterman's avatar

Telemarketing is not for just anybody.
Many fast food workers could never cut the mustard working in a grocery store. Gas stations…give me a break. They use one person for every ten working the same shift at a fast food joint.
You are unrealistically portending these fast food workers have the capacity to do other work.

Likeradar's avatar

@davidbetterman I said “many,” not “all” for a reason.

davidbetterman's avatar

LOL..@Likeradar I said anybody and not everybody for the same reason!

Steve_A's avatar

Gotta love the system. If I really do not have to pay you anymore than what I have to then I will not.

And since you don’t see any protests or groups of people from food places(least not enough to make a difference power in numbers) asking for some kind of pay increase, people will keep working there earning the low money they do and the people up top will keep running it that way unless they need to change or enhance something so they can make more money and you the little guy will still be left out.

I am all for the automated machines it would give people an incentive to find something else reach for more.

thriftymaid's avatar

No, it is not unfair.

grumpyfish's avatar

@Steve_A You don’t think that the fast food workers would complain about the lost jobs due to automation replacing their jobs?

deni's avatar

I’ve worked in fast food and I would never expect to be paid based on commission. It’s honestly just a stupid though. When I worked there, people came in and pretty much regardless of what I said or did, they were gonna order the same thing and they knew what they were going to order before they even saw me. I didn’t have to work any harder to get them to buy food off me. When I worked at a camera store and DID work off of commission, sometimes you had to spend two hours with one customer making one sale. You had to know every little detail about the camera. Every spec and everything. That’s not all that easy. You have to convince the person to buy something. That’s a lot different and deserves a little more credit than “yeah…the chicken sandwich…it has chicken in it…and two pickles….and a bun…...............”’s a big difference. it’s an easy job. it makes no sense to be off of commission.

PacificRimjob's avatar

Because they CHOSE to work there instead of an a la carte restaurant.

Steve_A's avatar

@grumpyfish They would, but it won’t stop it from happening I would bet.

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