Taco Bell wants to pay some of its restaurant employees $100,000 a year.
The fast-food chain, which hit its seventh-consecutive year of positive same-store sales growth in 2018, announced it will test the six-figure salary for general managers of company-owned stores in select U.S. markets in 2020. The brand will also offer 24 hours of paid sick time per calendar year for all corporate-owned restaurant employees.
While the timing and location details aren’t yet available, the goal of the test “is to enhance restaurant performance, boost morale and satisfaction, while supporting recruitment and retention,” Ferril Onyett, Taco Bell senior director of global training and international human resources, said in a statement to FOX Business. “We want our restaurants to grow and [we are] looking out for our managers is one of the main ways to accomplish that.”
For comparison, the average salary for a fast-food general manager is about $46,600 per year, according to career website Indeed. For fast-food employees across the board, the average salary hovers between $19,900 and $25,421 a year, per data from Salary.com.
The move comes as more states are battling to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Taco Bell isn’t the only fast-food chain to make a big move on pay, though. California-based In-N-Out Burger already pays six figures. The average salary for one restaurant manager there is more than $160,000. Starting wages range from $12 to $17 an hour.
Still, Taco Bell, over the last few years, has placed an emphasis on making employees — and customers — happy. (Last year, it announced it would give away $21 million in college scholarships to customers who submitted a two-minute video describing their passion.)
And its new six-figure salary test builds on that commitment. The brand also plans to launch the Makers program this year to train employees on corporate leadership. That’s along with offering more vegetarian options and upping the use of recyclable materials.
“As Taco Bell expands its footprint, our responsibility to drive positive impact increases,” Mark King, the chain’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “Our business growth in the last decade has positioned us to create change for good and implement creative solutions for our planet, our people and our food. We're excited to shake things up and make 2020 even more about what matters most: our purpose.”
Yum! Brands’ stock is up 12 percent on the year. Along with Taco Bell, it owns KFC, Pizza Hut, WIngStreet and its newly acquired burger joint, The Habit Burger Grill.