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Mininum wage isn't enough, says Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind
Daily Ticker

Burger joint Shake Shack is part of the growing fast-casual movement that provides cheap, fast food with quality ingredients and atmosphere. Owned by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality group, which typically runs Michelin-rated restaurants, the chain has 44 locations throughout America and overseas with heavy plans for expansion.

Related: New restaurant strikes put spotlight on the minimum-wage debate

Another thing the restaurant does differently: it pays a starting salary of $10 with benefits. At a time when fast-food workers nationwide are fighting for a living wage, this speaks loads. Just last month President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden dined at Shake Shack and praised the pay-rate. “Shake Shack has great burgers and pays its employees over $10 an hour so we’re very proud of them and the great work that they’re doing.”

The Daily Ticker caught up with Shake Shack creator and Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer to ask him about the minimum wage debate. “We don’t think you can afford not to pay well,” he says. “At the end of the day as good as our food is here…there are lots of great burgers out there and so part of what we think people are paying for is the human experience of how it feels to have an emotional transaction with the people who work here.”

Related: Why Walmart needs to support a higher minimum wage

Meyer also believes that, “one great worker equals three not-so-great workers, so it’s worth paying terrific people not just for today but to find people that we think have upward mobility to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

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