Taco Bell Is Offering Six-Figure Salaries So You Can Live Más

by Christina Marfice

Want to live mas (comfortably)? Grab one of these jobs at Taco Bell

Seeing a restaurant offer a management position that pays six figures isn’t all that uncommon — you’d just expect it to be an upscale kind of place, definitely with table service, maybe with white tablecloths. You certainly wouldn’t expect it to be a place like Taco Bell.

But that’s what’s happening. The fast food chain is upping its compensation and benefits in the hopes that it’ll help attract (and keep) good workers in a very tight labor market. It’s a gamble, but one we’re pretty sure will pay off, because we’re all for a comfortable living wage around here. Plus, that’s a lot of extra cheddar to top your tacos with.

Taco Bell will be testing this new plan in just a few, select new restaurants that are slated to open up in the Midwest and Northeast. The six-figure salary for store managers will also reportedly come with benefits like paid leave for sick days. Compare that to the current average salary for a general manager at Taco Bell, which sits between $50,000 and $80,000 at company-owned stores.

In addition to paying up big bucks for managers, Taco Bell is testing out a new position for employees who want extra training and leadership experience, but who don’t want to be managers. It sounds like the chain is really making a big investment in its employees, and people are here for it.

Fast food jobs have historically been the quintessential low-earning positions, so this is a game changer for the entire industry. But it’s the economy that’s forcing Taco Bell to be a disrupter in fast food earnings. Unemployment is low right now — like, the lowest it’s been since 1969 at just 3.5 percent. Plus, average hourly earnings are growing faster than experts predicted they would this year, so it’s getting tough for low-paying companies (like fast food) to attract workers and keep them from leaving for better, higher paying jobs. It’s harder for companies to find good employees in this climate than it is for workers to find good jobs, and a smaller employee pool plus increased turnover when workers leave for better paying positions are likely the driving factors behind this change being made.

Taco Bell isn’t the only food chain that’s struggling in this economy. Bloomberg reports that Olive Garden and Shake Shack are both having a hard time keeping their margins healthy because the market demands they pay employees more than they want to. Darn.

Here’s hoping this trend continues, because everyone deserves a living wage — whether they work in a corner office or behind a fast food counter.