A photograph shows a sign outside of a Chick-fil-A in California advertising a $16.50 starting wage.
This is not a company-wide policy; the starting wage at a Chick-fil-A varies by location; the reported average base pay is about $10 an hour.
A photograph supposedly showing a help-wanted bulletin featuring a starting wage of $16.50 for a position at a Chick-fil-A restaurant was widely circulated on Facebook in August 2019:
For starters, the sign notes that this wage is "based on position and availability." In other words, this wage isn't available to all new hires. Furthermore, Chick-fil-A restaurants are individually owned, meaning wages vary depending on location. While some Chick-fil-A franchises may offer similar wages to those featured on this sign, the wage is not a company-wide policy.
This photograph was taken at a Chick-Fil-A in Pleasanton, California. In July 2019, this Chick-fil-A location posted a similar flyer to their Facebook page:
This isn't the only Chick-fil-A restaurant that is offering close to $17 an hour. Another Chick-fil-A restaurant in Sacramento, California, raised its starting wage to $17 hour.
Eric Mason, owner of the Sacramento Chick-fil-A, told a television station in June 2019 that he was hoping to attract "hospitality professionals" with his new wage offer.
According to a CBS News report:
The owner of a Chick-fil-A location in Sacramento, California, calls it a "living wage." In Eric Mason's view, that would be $17 or $18 an hour, which is what he vows he'll be paying his workers, starting Monday, June 4. The rate represents a sizable increase for employees now making $12 to $13 an hour.
"As the owner, I'm looking at it big-picture and long-term," Mason told a local news station. "What that does for the business is provide consistency, someone that has relationships with our guests, and it's going to be building a long-term culture."
While at least two Chick-fil-A restaurants are truly offering starting wages close to $17 an hour, this pay is not available at all Chick-fil-A locations. According to Payscale, a company that surveys employees and employers for information about wages, the average hourly rate for a Chick-fil-A employee is about $10 an hour.
A spokesperson for the company told us that because Chick-fil-A restaurants are individually owned, franchise owners set their own wages:
Chick-fil-A restaurants are individually owned and operated, so wage decisions are made at the local level. With that said, Chick-fil-A strives to create a compelling employment value proposition including competitive wages, leadership development opportunities and scholarships. In fact, since 1973, Chick-fil-A has helped 53,000 Team Members attend college through a total investment of $75 million in scholarships.”
While the wage mentioned on the above-displayed sign does not apply to all Chick-fil-A locations or positions, the company truly does offer "scholarship opportunities."
The company writes on its website:
We offer college scholarship opportunities and tuition discounts
Chick-fil-A, Inc. recognizes and appreciates the tremendous talent and capabilities of Team Members working at their local Chick-fil-A restaurants. To help invest in their futures, Chick-fil-A restaurant Team Members can apply for college scholarships, as well as receive tuition discounts at dozens of universities across the U.S.