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The Average Salary of a First-Year McDonald's Manager

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Ronald McDonald, the Golden Arches, hamburgers and fries have defined McDonald’s as a worldwide phenomenon and American cultural icon. McDonald’s store managers lie at the heart of the fast food chain’s operation, ensuring that customers receive quality food and service. McDonald’s management positions offer average salaries, with comprehensive benefits and opportunities to begin a career in restaurant management.

About McDonald’s

According to a 2015 Business Insider report, McDonald’s employs nearly 2 million people worldwide. The company operates more than 35,000 restaurants, which serve 70 million customers every day. McDonald’s spends nearly $1 billion per year on advertising and serves about 5 billion hamburgers annually.

McDonald's Manager Salary

McDonald’s managers take home a base salary of $39,000 to $46,000. According to the jobs website PayScale, entry-level McDonald’s general managers earn an average salary of around $39,000. A survey conducted by the jobs website Glassdoor determined that McDonald’s store managers earned an average base salary of around $46,000, plus bonuses that averaged about $2,500.

By comparison, a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey found that managers from a cross section of restaurants earned a median salary of around $49,000 in 2017. The median salary represents the center of the restaurant manager pay scale.

Glassdoor reports that McDonald’s shift managers earn an average wage of $10 per hour, just $2 more than the regular crew members they supervise.

Which fast food pays the most? According to a 2016 Business Insider report, In-N-Out Burger pays the highest wages in the fast food industry. In-N-Out crew members start at $12 per hour, 50 percent more than McDonald’s new hires.

McDonald's Benefits

McDonald management also receive a comprehensive benefits package, which includes profit sharing, paid vacation time, life insurance and sabbatical leaves, along with medical, vision and dental insurance.

The company offers Blue Cross Blue Shield medical insurance through three plans, with varying benefit levels. All medical plans include yearly physical examinations, immunizations and prescription drugs. Most plans provide preferred provider organization (PPO) coverage, but the company also offers health maintenance organization (HMO) insurance to employees in some areas of the United States.

McDonald’s offers vision insurance that includes examinations and contact lenses or eyeglasses, along with laser surgery discounts. The company’s dental plan enables employees to choose their dentist. The dental insurance includes orthodontia coverage, basic dental care and preventative services.

To help offset the cost of medical care, McDonald’s offers flexible spending account programs, which allow employees to save up to $2,600 in pre-tax income to use for expenses not covered by their vision, dental or medical insurance, or a maximum of $5,000 to use for day care expenses.

McDonald’s also offers its managers options for life insurance, accidental death insurance and disability insurance. The company provides free life insurance policies to each employee, along with spouse, dependent children or domestic partner coverage, which have a benefit equal to twice the employee’s base pay. Employees also have the option to purchase additional life insurance to cover their lives or their dependents.

McDonald’s provides free accidental death and dismemberment insurance for all employees, with coverage equal to twice the employee’s base salary. The company also provides free short- and long-term disability coverage. Employees can uses short-term benefits after missing 10 consecutive days of work due to disability. Long-term disability coverage pays 60 percent of an employee’s base salary. McDonald’s also provides free business travel accident insurance to employees who travel on company business, with benefits that pay $100,000 to $200,000.

McDonald management receive 15-25 days of paid vacation per year, depending on length of employment, along with 10 paid holidays. After 10 years of service, a McDonald’s manager can take up to eight weeks of sabbatical.

McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program provides employee education assistance to earn a high school diploma or college degree, or improve English language skills. The company claims to have spent $42 million to provide tuition assistance to 22,000 student employees, along with 6,500 workers who needed to improve their English skills.

Additional McDonald’s benefits include paid leaves of absence, adoption assistance and a matching gift program.

Food Service Management Education

In the past, restaurants did not require managers to have a college education. However, in today’s market, some food service companies prefer management candidates who have obtained education and training from a college, university, technical school or community college.

Technical schools and community colleges offer associate’s degree and certificate programs in restaurant management and food preparation and storage. Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in hospitality. Coursework useful for aspiring restaurant managers can include food preparation, nutrition, management, accounting and business law.

Many food service managers begin their careers in entry-level positions such as waiters, hostesses or cooks. A combination of restaurant experience and formal education can increase a worker’s prospects of advancing to upper level management positions in large chain restaurant companies such as McDonald’s.

McDonald's Manager Job Requirements

McDonald’s seeks managers who have earned at least a high school diploma, or equivalent, and prefers candidates with at least one year of retail management experience. Leadership ability is a major job requirement.

McDonald management must be willing to work days, nights and weekends. Since some McDonald’s restaurants operate 24 hours per day, some managers must work overnight shifts.

McDonald's Manager Duties and Responsibilities

McDonald’s managers have a wide range of responsibilities, from staffing to ensuring profitability. General managers direct a staff of department and shift managers, along with entry-level crew members. Managers must hire new employees, oversee training programs, schedule crews for multiple shifts and terminate employees who do not comply with company policies.

McDonald’s managers often field customer complaints and must sometimes diffuse hostile situations. A manager must ensure that the restaurant meets workplace safety regulations governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and make sure that the food preparation operation does not violate fire codes. Likewise, a store manager holds the responsibility of ensuring that food preparation and storage complies with local health codes and company policies. Maintaining safe food can include testing for proper cooking temperature or adequate cooling in refrigerators and freezers.

McDonald’s managers oversee company promotions and ensure that point-of-sale equipment generate accurate pricing. Managers must maintain stock levels of food and drinks, along with cleaning supplies and dinnerware such as plates, cutlery and drink cups. Stock management can include regular inventory counts and reconciling packing lists with incoming supplies during deliveries.

Store managers must generate and submit sales reports and take steps to ensure their restaurants remain profitable. Maintaining store profitability can include cutting staff or decreasing the number of crew members working certain shifts. McDonald’s managers also balance tills and make bank deposits.

During breakfast, lunch and dinner rushes, McDonald’s managers often help cook food, take orders or clean dining rooms. This requires managers to know how to perform all tasks in the operation.

McDonald’s Manager Job Outlook

The BLS does not offer job outlook information specific to McDonald’s. However, the BLS expects job opportunities for all food service managers to increase by around 9 percent, from now until 2026. The increase in job opportunities is rooted in the growing trend of dining out.


Michael Evans’ career path has taken many planned and unexpected twists and turns, from TV sports producer to internet project manager to cargo ship deckhand. He has worked in numerous industries, including higher education, government, transportation, finance, manufacturing, journalism and travel. Along the way, he has developed job descriptions, interviewed job applicants and gained insight into the types of education, work experience and personal characteristics employers seek in job candidates. Michael graduated from The University of Memphis, where he studied photography and film production. He began writing professionally while working for an online finance company in San Francisco, California. His writings have appeared in print and online publications, including Fox Business, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool and Bankrate.

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