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Why In-N-Out Fast Food Workers Didn't Strike

Photo by jslander via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Growing up in Los Angeles, our dream high school job was working at In-N-Out. Not because of the double doubles (of course those were a perk too), but because of the relatively high wages compared to all the other entry level fast-food jobs a 15-year-old could acquire.

But because In-N-Out pays their workers $10.50 an hour, those jobs are hard to come by. Consequently, we went on to peddle pies at Marie Callender's, where the offering of fresh strawberry pies and home made whipped cream were a draw. There were no tips, but it was a fine first job nonetheless.

That makes In-N-Out the highest paying fast food chain in the country, and by a long shot. The second highest is Chipotle, which pays $8.53 an hour. The California minimum wage is $8/hour. The bennies don't stop there. Though managers at most fast food locations average at $48,000 per year, employees at In-N-Out can eventually work themselves up to $120,000. They also offer vision, medical and dental benefits to both their full- and part-time workers.

Now these high wages have become a topic of conversation because In-N-Out, a homegrown company that's privately owned company with no plans to expand as a national chain, didn't have employees that participated in the recent fast food workers strikes demanding livable wages.

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The reason is that the 65 year-old Irvine-based company, owned by billionaire Lynsi Torres, says it believes that their employees are worth investing in. Seems like quite an outlandish stance when compared to McDonald's insulting employee resource site that suggested its employees get a second job or sell their Christmas gifts for extra cash. (Though In-N-Out has inspired some other employers to pay their employees better.)

Carl Van Fleet, Vice President of Planning and Development for In-N-Outtold KCET in an interview earlier this year that because of their payment policy, they have a relatively low turnover "and that, of course, leads to a more experienced team working in our restaurants. The raises that our associates earn for mastering different positions makes it possible for them to earn more as they gain that experience."

Imagine that.