Food is a lost leader at McDonalds. They make all of their profit from sodas. A large soda, with syrup, ice, water and cup lid and straw probably costs them a quarter and they sell it for a buck and a half or so. When Burger King ran their Whopper jr special for a dollar, lots of franchisees companied that the burger cost them a dollar ten to make. Wiki answers says the average profit margin for a McDonald's franchise is 10%. I'm going to assume that's net profit.
The Huffington Post has this to say about increasing the wage of fast food workers.
And this:A typical fast-food restaurant spends 30 to 35 percent of its income on labor, according to a recent release from the Employment Policies Institute, a research organization whose work is often cited by those who argue against increasing the minimum wage. The institute estimates that small-business owners who run McDonald's franchises spend about a third of their income on wages, which would mean the price of a Big Mac would go up by $1.28 to $5.27.
Errors in McDonald's Wage AnalysisBy the reckoning of Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst at market information and advisory firm the NPD Group, a doubling of wages for all McDonald's workers is "not even in the realm of feasibility." With fewer and fewer Americans eating out at restaurants due to factors like the payroll tax hike and increases in gas prices, Riggs said restaurants like McDonald's are trying to discount prices as much as possible to get customers through the door. This means the company's profit margins could not withstand a labor cost increase of this magnitude, she added.
While I understand seven bucks an hour is tough to live on, an increase in wages of this magnitude would certainly decrease volume at these fast food stores. Decreasing volume means fewer jobs because restaurants have to balance labor against gross volume to stay in business. In some cases decreased volume would mean store closings and further loss of volume.
Everyone who works needs to understand that their jobs are dependent on the health of the business they work for. Their ability to earn money is directly related to the value of the production they do. The value of the production they do is directly related to the complexity of the tasks they perform. Brain surgeons make more than line cooks. That's just the way the world works.
Fast food work is intended to be entry level employment. You can be trained for your job in an afternoon. It's also supposed to be a bridge to better employment as entry level workers build a resume that indicates they are dependable and responsible workers.
Here's the real problem. We've lost millions of good paying jobs to recession and the ability of the internet to move technology overseas. We've lost jobs due to increased labor costs and a regulatory culture that has crept into Washington. Many of the jobs we've created in the Obama years are McJobs and now there is a disproportionate number of employees flipping burgers. Coupled with increasing numbers of part time jobs due to Obamacare, many fast food workers have no where to go to better themselves other than school and jobs training programs.
It's a tough world right now, made tougher by a government that seems to be intent on making poverty comfortable rather than entrepreneurism easier. I started my first company in the seventies. It was hard work but it's one hell of a lot harder now. I understand the problems faced by employer and employee. I also understand that an employees earning ability isn't based on need. It's based on their ability to turn their time into profit for the company. If there is no profit, there is no company and there is no job. It's as simple as that.