Working at a fast food restaurant or a chain has a reputation of being a menial, unskilled job, but anyone who has worked in the industry will tell you that that is far from the truth — not just anyone can work at a Starbucks. I think the reason for this assumption is that fast food jobs are thought of as low paying. But as these companies have come under a bit of fire for making so much money without paying their workers fair wages, and chain restaurant companies beginning to unionize, it’s nice to celebrate some of the spots that do pay better. A recent study from CashNetUsa, a financial company for personal loans, found the fast food chains with the highest entry-level pay.

About The Study

The study used salary listings from Indeed and local wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine entry-level wages. The findings looked at all fields, not just fast food, and ranked the companies by what percentage of their entry-level job positions are above median wage in the given city. Then, CashNetUsa determined the company with the highest percentage of entry level jobs over the median pay in each state and overall. The findings were split into four categories: top company overall, restaurant chain, retail chain, and top firm.

For example, Tenet Healthcare Corporation is the best overall, with 87.84% of its entry level positions paying above the local average salary. Some other notable food companies in the overall category are Target, in fourth with 79.74% of its entry-level jobs being high-paying, Tyson Foods in tenth with 65.64%, and PepsiCo in eleventh with 65.20%.

The Big Winners

Arby’s came out on top for fast food chains, with 46.14% of its entry-level positions paying above the local median. This percentage also puts them fourteenth in the overall category. The chain specializing in meats also had the highest percentage of entry-level positions over the median pay in 12 states: New Mexico, Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida. It’s important to note the state difference, because minimum wage can differ drastically from state to state. A lot of states are still at the federal minimum hourly wage, which is $7.25, while D.C. stands the highest at $17.

Photo courtesy of CashNetUSA

Though the study doesn’t list exactly how much Arby’s is paying, Glassdoor shows reported salaries between $12 and $15 per hour. Arby’s also offers “instant pay,” which allows employees to withdraw money from their paychecks right after clocking out.

Denny’s comes in at number two, with 37.27% of entry-level jobs paying above the median wage. The rest of the top ten companies are between 20% and 27%, with KFC, Red Robin, Red Lobster, Whataburger, Bojangles, Outback, Panda Express, and Popeyes.

Another interesting part of this study is the fast food companies not on this list. According to a study, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Bell are the four largest fast food chains in terms of sales and number of locations, and none of them are on this list of high paying jobs. So with this new study out, if you’re seeking out a college side hustle, or a summer job, go to an Arby’s!