Help Wanted!


But it’s actually worse than that.

When I was in High School I used to work on a farm.

All those jobs are gone for legal residents, because the illegals are too afraid to report workplace safety and health violations.

Farms and kitchens are relatively dangerous places to work. And employers like having employees that won’t file complaints.


Unemployment is low, under 5%. Last low unemployment period was during the dot com bubble. During low unemployment periods, food service workers are able to move into higher paying jobs.

1 Like

Not sure if this will work, but here’s a little (literal) snapshot from social media yesterday- chatter amongst Seattle chefs. Everyone is hiring!

Screen Shot p1.pdf (123.2 KB)

Screen Shot p2(1).pdf (142.7 KB)

Screen Shot p3(1).pdf (134.6 KB)

A local Mickie D has a large hiring poster and highlights that they are paying $13/ hour. The local minimum wage is $12. So I assume they have issues staffing at $12.

1 Like

“And, yes, if other Europeans are no longer able to work in the UK”

Shouldn’t be much of a problem, John. Many, many non EU individuals are working in the UK. I’m dealing with a Russian estate agent in Exeter on a flat rental for my student son, our office cleaners are Colombian, and, according to one of my Singaporean colleagues, the staff at the lunchtime takeaway place nearby are all Korean. Our Spanish, Polish, French etc. friends will still be able to work here on the same basis as these Russian, Colombian and Korean people.

Restaurants everywhere are noticeably flexible in their employment arrangements.

An awful lot of restaurants are still family run or closely held businesses, consisting of perhaps a chef and “backer” or two. (You see this on Ramsey’s shows all the time). As a result, they do not have a large labor relations dept.

For the most part they are also pretty poorly run businesses. Lots of spoilage, employee theft, harassment (sexual or otherwise, imagine working for Ramsey) and shoddy bookkeeping practices. A good way to turn a large fortune into a small one is to open your own restaurant.

Despite electronic payments, there is also a surprising amount of cash still floating around the restaurant business. (There is a fair amount of money laundering going on as well).

For anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen papers and permits, unless it’s a health permit, are usually not a problem. If someone really wants to work in a restaurant, things get sorted regardless of where you come from.

Most people whose only contact with a restaurant is eating in one just have no clue how their sausage gets made.

For a time in NYC in the 1980’s most of the waiters and line cooks were Irish illegals.

They came on a three month tourist visa, got jobs, and stayed.

Hard to make a living even at that level with Bay Area rents.

Another fallacy in my opinion, Mickie D’s entry level positions are not intended to be a career nor to provide a “living wage”. If you get a job at Mickie D’s and work your way up to in store management, or you take your experience and move on and upward in your desired career. I’m not of the opinion that every entry level job is supposed to be a “living wage” job.


I won’t debate you there, but how many actually go into management?

And at that level I still don’t see how people pay the rent in places like SF where the average rent on a two bedroom is $ 4800 a month:

If you have a roommate, that’s $ 2400 a month in rent. At $ 13 an hour McDs workers are grossing $ 2080 before FICA and taxes, so maybe take home of $ 1500 a month.

At those prices you have to view this as a loss leader to get the management position.

The real money in fast food is owning a store, but then you know that.

I don’t know, but it would be an interesting statistic to see where in store management is acquired. If I had to guess I would say perhaps 50% of in-store management is home grown. I would say getting out of the store into regional might be a larger step to take than rising to in-store management.

As for rank and file employees the ideal mix of workers would be entry level work force (teenagers), part time supplemental workers (adults supplementing their other full time employment) and retirees (supplementing retirement income).

My understanding is that store manager positions are almost 100% internal at McDonalds. Staffing decisions are usually made by the franchisee, and then training is done by McDonalds. However, a lot of store owners start out as line managers, and then get offered financing if they want to buy a store. McDonalds is particularly good at helping minorities who want to own stores. There are also a lot of owners with multiple stores, kind of like car dealers.

Mid level positions at corporate are usually filled by recent grads of HRI programs at places like Michigan State, Washington State & Cornell. If you make 10-15 years with the company and then get passed over for promotion they usually set you up with a store.

BTW the dirty little secret with a McDonalds store is that corporate usually owns the real estate or holds the lease for the location. That gives them a big stick to hold over franchisees. It’s part of the system.

FWIW, according to McD’s UK website, some 70% of outlets are franchises. 90% of restaurant managers started out as crew, as did 25% of franchie holders.

By the by, last week saw staff at two branches take strike action over wages and “zero hours” contracts. Good for them!


Yep. That sounds about right.

FWIFW, the speedee system runs more like a cult than a business.

Individuality is frankly discouraged.

But then a lot of the franchise owners have really big boats and extensive car collections.

To answer the OP’s question, I’m in Queens, the immigrant capital of the world. I eat mostly in inexpensive ethnic restaurants and those are the windows I look at. There were always very few help wanted signs in the windows and that is still the case. I haven’t noticed that any of the restaurants I go to are short-staffed and none of the owners or staff I talk to have said there is a labor shortage. So I doubt the current immigration issues are the problem.
On a related note, the only fast food I eat is at Burger King. Many of the franchises here have added computer kiosks for placing orders and taking payment. This was specifically in response to rising minimum wages. McDonald’s is supposed to roll them out nationwide. One BK franchisee cut staff by approx 20% initially but has since added back half of those jobs. That could be another reason why there is no labor shortage.

Is the inference here that the small inexpensive ethnic restaurants which are staffed by immigrants are perhaps skirting the minimum wage?

That’s not at all what this was about. The OP never mentioned minimum wages. He wrote “…‘Help Wanted’ signs posted on food service establishments of every sort from tablecloth spots to fast food. All job levels, from front of the house to back” and asked if there are Help Wanted signs in other parts of the US/world.
My first paragraph answered his question; the second responded to the other 20 replies.

I haven’t done. But might well. I take the view that a restaurant owner who knowingly employs illegal immigrants - an ilegal act in itself in the UK, punishable by up to 5 years in prison - may well have scant regard for other practices that a good employer woul follow - minimum wage, health & safety, food safety, etc. And it does often seem to be the small independent ethnic restaurants that appear in the newspapers with the owner being prosecuted. Not that large mini-chains of ethnic restaurants are immune.

5 posts were split to a new topic: British food

I would say the same thing is true at the Jersey shore.

Btw I have noticed a lot of Central Americans and Mexicans both working and eating at the small red sauce and dough joints around here lately.

Don’t know if that’s a trend, but it seems Italian food ain’t what it used to be.

Help cover Hungry Onion's costs when you shop at Amazon!

Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr