Workers Reveal What It's Really Like To Work At Buc-Ee's

Think of every grimy gas station you've passed through on the open road — the stale snacks and bathrooms you wouldn't touch with a 50-foot shrink-wrapped pole. Now imagine a gas station hawking sizzling-hot barbecue and the cleanest toilets you've ever laid your tush on; that's Buc-ee's in a nutshell. Founded by Arch 'Beaver' Aplin III in 1982 (per Southern Living), the convenience store mega-center has over 40 locations dotting highways in the Southwest, with 35 residing in the Lone Star State alone (via NBC). 

Unlike the harsh indifference proffered at most rest stops, Buc-ee's ensures that a filling bite and comfortable bathrooms are always within reach. The chain boasts a restaurant-sized menu with burritos, pastries, and walls of salty, sugary snacks (Beaver Nuggets are the big fave). There are tons of trinkets to browse, and when nature calls, a restroom to safely take refuge in. It's the perfect place for drivers and passengers alike to recharge. 

Buc-ee's attractive environment has produced lifelong fans; for that, you can thank the employees. Our understanding of Buc-ee's typically comes from the consumer side, but in terms of the worker, there's a lot more to the quick-stop giant than fresh brisket and primo potties. Tasked with serving customers day and night, Buc-ee's employees shoulder a heavy load around the clock that's not without its struggles. Ever wondered what it's like to work at this Lone Star institution? Read on to find out. 

Buc-ee's employees have a lot of co-workers

At the time of writing, the ordinary gas station hires 11 employees, according to IBISWorld. But Buc-ee's is far from ordinary, including its massively-sized workforce. A single location can house as many as 250 team members under its roof to keep up with the influx of customers and daily tasks. As general manager Floyd Freeman tells Alabama Living, "It takes an army to keep Buc-ee's operating 24/7." 

Naturally, an employee pool that large can be incredibly overwhelming. On the plus side, it can also be rewarding since there are constantly co-workers around. If expanding your social circle is a goal, it'll definitely happen at Buc-ee's. Calling the job "productive and fun," a former cashier found Buc-ee's to be an excellent place for forging close friendships. "The most enjoyable part was working alongside amazing co-workers and leaders" (via Indeed).  

Taking into account the convenience store's astronomical measurements, it's no wonder the chain maintains a fleet of hired hands to perform the necessary, if not adrenaline-packed, tasks that a bustling, theme park-esque rest stop like Buc-ee's is capable of demanding. Wrapping up those breakfast tacos or stocking Beaver Nuggets isn't going to happen on its own!

Buc-ee's employees are paid more than the minimum wage

In this economy, the federal minimum wage is downright paltry at $7.25 per hour, as listed by the U.S. Department of Labor. Buc-ee's workers, on the other hand, can make double that amount. In 2021, Austonia reported that wages started at $14 an hour for cashiers or gift associates, complete with opportunities for advancement to higher-paying roles, and that figure increased to $15 or $16 in 2022. Buc-ee's takes pride in its attractive compensation, as evidenced by the signs hanging throughout the store advertising each position's hourly expectations.

To keep current workers on board as well as draw new faces into the hiring pool, general counsel Jeff Nadalo emphasizes the importance of keeping wages competitive. "We have to look at a business plan that serves the customer but also provides an environment where employees are going to want to stay and will encourage career development," Nadalo told Austonia. Consider the fact that operations managers pull in $75,000 every year (via Indeed).

Clearly, a good paycheck matters to just about any worker in any field, and plenty of Buc-ee's employees cite the high pay as a prime incentive to work there. "Pay and benefits are the best around," a gift shop associate raved on Indeed. Meanwhile, an employee wrote on Niche that they enjoyed Buc-ee's practice of paying employees on a weekly basis. The bonus? Holiday hours are compensated with double time (per Buc-ee's). 

The turnover rate is extremely high

If there's one thing that might make you reconsider working at Buc-ee's, it's the high turnover rate. That's right, for all the talk of making bank, the rest-stop chain struggles to retain its employees for the long haul, which is not without its reasons. Poor management, rigid policies, and exhausting work conditions have come under scrutiny by workers who claim the company drives them away (per The Washington Post). 

People who have worked at Buc-ee's express more than just indifference upon leaving their jobs. Take this account from a former cashier: "They work the heck out of good employees until they quit and then borderline shun them for it" (via Indeed). One employee who was anonymously interviewed by The Washington Post claimed to encounter "hard-line" attitudes from co-workers. Add in surveillance cameras and signage reading "don't forget who pays you," and it isn't so surprising that people would flee. 

People leave their jobs all the time. It's common to discover a new career path or realize your current role isn't working anymore. Yet even after boasting generous wages and a 401K plan, Buc-ee's struggles to match its employee-friendly image when it's evident hirees would much prefer taking their labor elsewhere. The retailer's Indeed profile shows a 2.8-star average from over 800 reviews. Not exactly a glowing endorsement to match those squeaky-clean toilet seats, is it?

It's normal to work under pressure

If navigating the endless aisles of nuts and plastic tchotchkes is dizzying for customers, then imagine what it must be like for the staff. Buc-ee's is a hectic place to work, and employees have to learn to keep their nose to the grindstone while juggling a variety of responsibilities. According to a merchandise team leader, don't expect any lulls or low peaks at this 24/7 rest stop."You will stay busy for your entire 8-hour shift," they wrote on Indeed.  

As anyone who visits Buc-ee's can confirm, a normal part of the experience is seeing employees hard at work in their respective departments. Whether it's slinging grab-and-go items at the Texas Round Up, batch-baking kolaches in the bakery, or replenishing the candy wall, keeping the store's metaphorical engine running means there's not a minute for workers to spare or let up on their duties. A maintenance person commented that it "can be a little chaotic to keep up with the work at times" (via Simply Hired). 

Remaining open for long stretches of time essentially demands a non-stop stream of labor. As such, workers endure a lot of pressure while on the job. To give outsiders a sense of just how much staff members hustle around the clock, take this little fact nugget from Alabama Living: A location in Baldwin County allegedly receives shipments every single hour. 

Working long hours can be grueling

Long hours are a given for just about any service job. Does that change anything about the notoriously lengthy shifts Buc-ee's subjects its workers to? Absolutely not. It's common for employees to put in eight hours a day (via Indeed), which is the standard allotment for full-time positions. 

Although Buc-ee's advertises 40-hour work weeks (a coveted rarity in retail), the chain isn't exactly consistent with scheduling. One Indeed review revealed employees often work past their shift when there's not enough staff to cover the load. However, Buc-ee's will shave off the extra time from their next shift to keep their hours below the threshold for providing full-time benefits. 

It's also not unheard of for Buc-ee's employees to clock in more than just the standard eight hours. One individual who posted Buc-ee's work schedule wrote: "These shift guidelines are never followed and you can guarantee that you'll be there for more than 10 hours at a time" (per Indeed). Eight hours doesn't seem so bad in a vacuum. But multiplied by seven consecutive days of standing on your feet non-stop? Well, you can bet even the most chipper busy beaver would be wiped out. 

Breaks are short

A job at Buc-ee's is both physically and mentally draining, which makes it surprising that staff doesn't get much of a break when working for the beaver. Former and current employees alike have attested to receiving as little as five minutes to collect themselves during a whole shift, and we know how long those can be. According to one Reddit commenter, the chain doesn't provide restroom breaks, lunch breaks, or even a break room for employees to temporarily kick their feet up.

Eight hours of work in exchange for a paid (or unpaid) lunch break is a widely accepted norm in retail work these days (via Quora). However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) writes that employers don't have to provide these benefits, or at the very least won't face trouble from the federal government for refusing. So technically, Buc-ee's is able to get away with skimping on time off. 

In addition to short breaks, Buc-ee's does not allow its employees to sit down. "They get a five to ten minute 'personal moment' where they're allowed to eat STANDING UP at a table in the back," another Reddit user confirmed. A cashier alleged that even getting a chance to use the restrooms could be a struggle. They told The Washington Post, "I've asked sometime to go to the bathroom, and it's been a couple hours before I'm allowed to go."  

Phones are not allowed during working hours

Expecting an important call during your shift at Buc-ee's? Texas Monthly writes that phones are strictly off-limits for employees, and that rule takes effect the moment workers clock in. It's a longstanding policy that if violated, could get workers terminated on the spot. Should management spy any hand-held gadget on you, TikTok user @alabamablackchic says workers will immediately be fired, even if it's on break time. 

Of course, it makes sense that a retailer would enforce rules surrounding phone usage — grocery stockers don't need to be browsing Twitter. At the same time, banishing phones from the premises — even with the presence of storage lockers (per The Washington Post) — has been a hassle for employees who need to make childcare arrangements or tend to personal responsibilities. "Your family has no means of contacting you the entire time you are at work, even if it's a life or death emergency situation," one food service associate wrote on Simply Hired. 

Surprisingly, workers aren't the only ones expected to grind off the grid. Per Buc-ee's, it axed phone lines from stores years ago due to the inconvenience caused by workers answering the calls. Now, customer inquiries are taken through the website. With this in mind, it's crucial to keep phones off — and out of arm's reach — if future employment is of any consideration. 

It's easy getting a job at Buc-ee's

Are you friendly and eager to lend a helping hand? Then you should have no trouble getting a job at your neighborhood Buc-ee's. Applicants aren't required to have much experience in order to secure employment (via Climb). Besides maybe a high school diploma, potential candidates can woo the recruiter with a few simple traits: an upbeat attitude, a strong work ethic, and plenty of flexibility. Buc-ee's is a customer-facing business looking for employees willing to go the extra mile to ensure that visitors leave happier than when they walked in. 

Many Buc-ee's alumni who've posted on Indeed agree that the hiring process at Buc-ee's is fairly routine for a service gig. Applicants are contacted by management to set up an interview to determine if the individual is a good fit for the team. If selected, they'll complete a background check and drug test. Depending on the particular circumstances, candidates might even go through multiple interviews before finding out if they got the job. 

Like most entry-level positions, going from the interview to wearing the badge is also quick. Climb reports a couple of days on average, but some employees allege scoring the role in 24 hours. "I filled out [an] application and got called the next day for [an] interview. Went in and got hired immediately," a gift associate wrote on Indeed. "You spend about 9 hours training on [a] computer and then you are officially an employee." 

Buc-ee's enforces a strict dress code

The uniform at Buc-ee's consists of a bright red polo with khaki pants. It's basic, sure, yet also put-together. Buc-ee's is adamant that its workforce presents a clean-cut image, which is why when walking into one of its locations, you won't see body piercings or ripped jeans on anyone wearing a name tag. Strict dress codes aren't unusual in the world of retail, but Buc-ee's enforces some staggeringly rigid rules on personal appearance that might not register to visitors passing through. 

Buc-ee's dress code is posted on its website, and the list makes quite plain what the company does and doesn't allow for anybody considering a job. Open-toed footwear, unnatural hair dyes, and disheveled attire are firmly prohibited by the company. Male employees can't grow out their hair (via Texas Monthly), and ear piercings are the only valid body modification, assuming that they're single studs in the ear lobe (per Indeed). 

The store bars "visible tattoos," but a former team lead cashier confirmed on Indeed that the rule doesn't stop there. "They frown upon an employee having ANY tattoos, but as long as they're not visible, what they don't know won't hurt them." As far as facial hair goes, it's better to play it safe according to another commenter. "Beards are acceptable, but keep it neat" (per Indeed). It's safe to say that at Buc-ee's, creative expression is simply not tolerated. 

Employees are hired just to clean the bathrooms

There's a reason why long-haulers hold it just to use Buc-ee's bathrooms. As The Nashville Ledger writes, employees are hired specifically to clean, scrub, and polish every toilet bowl until it sparkles. Furthermore, workers are assigned to monitor the restrooms on a 24-hour basis, ensuring that the cleanliness the chain successfully markets is always on display (per The St. Augustine Record). 

Buc-ee's stores are downright huge, and the location in New Braunfels, Texas, boasts 83 stalls (per Convenience Store News). Word on the street is that workers scour the bathrooms on an hourly basis (via Eater Nashville), so by that token, the company doesn't exaggerate when touting its squeaky-clean washrooms. 

"We try real hard to keep the bathrooms as clean as we can keep them," one employee told FOX San Antonio, adding, "I think we do a pretty good job" (via YouTube). When the aforementioned Texas store won Cintas' coveted Best Bathroom in America back in 2012, it was the hard-working Buc-ee's staff who received a shout-out for a well-deserved victory. "Whenever I go here, there's always someone — seemingly right behind me — cleaning up," raved market development official Gary Gonzaba (via San Antonio Express-News). 

Barbecue meat cutters endure intense training

From the moment you approach Buc-ee's Texas Round Up, you'll see pit masters wearing cowboy hats while wrangling slab after slab of smoked meat. How do they make it look so easy? It turns out, training to be a meat cutter at Buc-ee's is no walk in the park. While the chain keeps the process under wraps (via The Nashville Ledger), there's plenty of evidence to suggest the standards are astronomically high for any worker wielding the knife. 

Randy Pauly, the company's director of barbecue who oversees the Daytona Beach store, has shed light on what it takes to become a meat-slinger at the store's infamous pit stop (per YouTube). In the case of one employee, it took three weeks to go from learning the basics to manning the chopping board on their own without any assistance. According to Pauly, they "went through an intense knife training, how to break down the brisket, when day one [the employee] is in the back of the class saying, 'what's a brisket?'"

Knowing that Pauly's resume includes eight world championship wins (via Food Network), it's a telling sign that Buc-ee's takes its barbecue extremely seriously. By that logic, it's not afraid to invest time into employees to truly let their skills marinate, and with lots of practice, become the reigning kings of the grill. 

Buc-ee's promotes employees from within

The American Dream — it often feels out of reach, doesn't it? Despite some of Buc-ee's iffy store policies, employees do get the chance to climb up the corporate ladder if they desire. The company has been known to promote workers from within, Austonia writes, encouraging retention by making the store atmosphere a place team members can enjoy long-term. Simply put, there's a lot of potential for lower-rung hires seeking out a higher station at the company. 

According to Jeff Nadalo, "We've had folks who started out as cashiers and now they're at fairly senior levels within the home office" (per Insider). Operations district manager Mandi Carlile reveals that it took six years as a cashier to eventually land the corporate role they're in today. "I believe I am an example of what job opportunities are available to all employees at Buc-ee's," Carlile wrote in a testimonial on Buc-ee's website, adding that it's possible to "start at an entry-level position, work hard, and be supported in your growth."

Even with these rosy promises of career advancement, the reality isn't always so pretty. One Indeed comment attests to management favoring certain people for promotions, while another claims job growth is a rare occurrence: "About 1-2 get promoted a year." In fact, some employees accuse the chain of choosing to hire outside the company, rather than granting an existing worker a new title (via Indeed). 

Breaking your contract could land you a lawsuit

Should you violate the terms of your Buc-ee's contract, you just might land in a heap of legal trouble. In 2016, a former assistant manager was sued by Buc-ee's for over $67,000 after breaking their agreement early. The Houston Chronicle writes that because the employee quit a year prior to the original agreement, they would need to pay the company back the 'retention pay' that was included in their salary, hence the lawsuit's eye-popping sum. 

Retention pay is a method of compensation provided by a company to motivate long-term employment (via Glassdoor). According to The McKinney Law Firm, P.C., for a business like Buc-ee's to mandate such strict conditions is unusual. Not only did the employee's contract demand six months advance notice for leaving before the agreed-upon time frame (originally 48 months), but the chain expected a refund of the retention pay accrued during their tenure if they bailed prematurely. 

Initially, the employee lost the case and was handed a $100,000 bill for Buc-ee's side. However, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the ruling in 2017, forcing Buc-ee's to cough up the amount to the affected employee instead (via The McKinney Law Firm, P.C). Considering they were hired on an at-will basis, the San Antonio Employment Law Blog argues the original agreement was out of bounds with the employee's role, and therefore unreasonable for Buc-ee's to enforce. Moral of the story: Read the contract, then read it again.