In-N-Out Burger managers' salaries 'eons above' competitors: How popular fast food chains compare

If you're hoping to find a career in the fast food industry, you may want to look for openings at In-N-Out Burger — especially if you're interested in management roles.

The burger giant, which is primarily concentrated in the Southwest and the Pacific coast, is apparently "eons above" its competitors. Saru Jayaraman, the head of the Food Labor Research Center at U.C. Berkeley, said In-N-Out was "the best chain" in terms of wages and benefits in 2017.

According to recent data from Glassdoor, In-N-Out restaurant managers make an average base pay of $83,564. But that number is even bigger (around $113,000) when you add additional commission, tips, and bonuses. That's about $63,861 above the reported average ($49,139) for the position.

“Paying [In-N-Out] associates well was just one way to help maintain that focus, and those beliefs remain firmly in place with us today,” In-N-Out’s Vice President of Operations Denny Warnick told the California Sun in January 2018. The family-owned burger chain was listed third on Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work" in 2019.

There's been high interest in learning about store managers' salaries in recent weeks, particularly after Walmart shared in a report this month that its U.S. store managers take home an average of $175,000 a year. Reader's Digest then resurfaced how much Costco is shelling out in comparison: an average base pay of $106,000.

To give American workers a better idea of what managers make at some of their favorite fast food joints, Fox Business analyzed 2019 data compiled by Glassdoor that focuses on the annual salaries of those who identify as "restaurant managers."

"Restaurant managers are responsible for managing and organizing daily restaurant operations with a goal of controlling costs and providing a high-quality experience to customers. Areas of operation range from personnel management to cook and waiting staff coordination to inventory management," explains Glassdoor on its website, noting that applicants are not required to have a Bachelor's degree in hospitality but it's preferred.


After examining restaurant manager salaries at 12 different companies, Fox Business found that In-N-Out still pays the best. Cheddar's, a Texas-based restaurant brand that has at least 170 locations throughout the U.S., had the second highest average salary for restaurant managers — $65,066, with a range of $47,000 to $72,000.

Shake Shack also paid above average, giving restaurant managers an average $52,307 per year. Salaries for Shake Shack restaurant managers range from $32,000 to $56,000.

Here's a breakdown of what restaurant managers make on average at these 12 establishments in the U.S. each year.*

In-N-Out Burger - $83,564

Cheddar's - $65,066

Shake Shack - $52,307

McDonald’s - $45,641

Jack in the Box - $44,241

Taco Bell -  $43,108

KFC - $42,089

Whataburger - $41,471

Arby's - $40,706

Pizza Hut - $40,314

Burger King - $37,807

Wendy’s - $37,427

These are average base pays and do not include additional income such as bonuses, tips, etc.

Fox Business' Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.