How Much Money Do McDonald's Fry Cooks Typically Make?

For decades, McDonald's has been one of the most well-known fast-food restaurants in the world. In terms of profitability and number of locations, McDonald's beats out every other restaurant chain in the world. According to Forbes, there are nearly 19,000 international McDonald's locations — as in, not counting the United States spots. Plus, in the United States alone, McDonald's earned more than $38 billion in 2018 — and it took the top spot by a landslide, nearly doubling the income of no. 2 Starbucks on QSR's annual report.

McDonald's has been around since 1948, when Dick and Mac McDonald opened up a space in San Bernardino, California, per Brittanica. But in 1954, the small restaurant was taken to a new level when a man named Ray Kroc, who eventually became the brothers' business partner, spotted the business and loved its concept: quick, high-quality burgers.

After Kroc took over the brand, McDonald's restaurants started to pop up everywhere. These days, there's a McDonald's in almost every country around the globe, and the corporation employs a total of roughly 200,000 people, per data from Statista. But if you're interested in becoming a McDonald's fry cook, you might ask yourself: How much money do they make?

McDonald's fry cooks make below the national average

Those interested in becoming a McDonald's fry cook might be surprised by the amount of money the corporation pays those who cook its burgers and fries. According to data from Indeed, the average McDonald's fry cook only makes about $9.59 per hour; the job search site also adds that this hourly wage is a surprising 20% below the national average.

However, other job search sites seem to have slightly higher numbers. Glassdoor, another popular site, reports that the average McDonald's fry cook actually makes $11 per hour. The outlet suggests there is no additional bonus, though it's unclear if that's the case for every McDonald's location.

According to job search and salary site Zippia, the fry cook position is actually the lowest-paying position at a McDonald's location, with an average annual salary of around $18,500. Zippia analyzed six different store positions, with the shift manager making the most money — about $27,500 annually. Those interested in becoming a fry cook might want to work their way up to a position that is higher paying, such as the shift manager or the swing manager, who makes about $26,800 per year. Crew trainers, line cooks, and crew persons fall somewhere in the middle, making anywhere from $21,900 to $26,700.

What does a McDonald's fry cook do?

In order to be a fry cook, you have to be willing to be around hot items, such as a grill and deep fryers. Fry cooks might do anything from cooking up burgers to dipping French fries in hot oil. According to ZipRecruiter, another job search website, fry cooks should learn how to safely operate those hot cooking tools, meaning they'll also learn the importance of wearing gloves and potentially even goggles while at work. Though the outlet suggests that culinary training or experience in the hospitality industry, such as previous work in a restaurant, is a plus, it's not often required.

A posting for a "restaurant cook" on the McDonald's website spells out the requirements for those looking to join the ranks as a cook. The job description notes that these cooks are required to follow the chain's "recipes with great attention to detail," as well as "operate griddles, deep-fat fryers, grills, and other large-volume equipment."

Beyond just operating the cooking equipment, the job description also notes that cooks are responsible for keeping up with proper sanitation and safety standards. Plus, the fry cooks can expect to have to communicate with other McDonald's employees, such as cashiers, as well as help restock.

How much do McDonald's fry cooks make compared to other fast-food restaurants?

As far as how McDonald's pay compares to other fast-food chains, there isn't too much of a difference in the general fry cook salary across the board. Glassdoor reports that Burger King fry cooks make roughly $11 per hour, while Chick-fil-A pays its cooks about the same.

According to data from Indeed, the pay for a fry cook seems to vary slightly state-by-state, with fry cooks in New York earning more than anywhere else in the country, though that isn't specific to one restaurant. On average, New York fry cooks are compensated a little over $14 per hour, while fry cooks down in Oklahoma can expect to only make around $10 per hour.

Quora, a question forum, saw one person ask how a place such as Chick-fil-A pays compared to other fast-food restaurants, and one user replied and suggested a McDonald's salary doesn't compare: "At my store we definitely made above minimum wage, and certainly more than you'd make at, say, McDonalds." While this information can't be confirmed, the salary comparisons among brands might ultimately just depend on the potential fry cook's location.