As McDonald's moves to boost pay for its company-owned U.S. restaurants—about 90,000 workers or roughly 10 percent of its locations nationwide—the question now is whether pressure will mount for the fast food chain's franchises to follow suit. They set their own local wages.
Beginning in July, the company will raise the minimum wage by $1 over the locally mandated minimum pay for its corporate-owned locations. McDonald's estimates the hourly average will be higher than $10 by the end of 2016.
The raise will not affect its more than 3,100 McDonald's franchisees nationwide that operate individual businesses and make their own decisions on pay and benefits.
"This is an initial step for our U.S. business. I understand that some may believe it doesn't go far enough," McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook wrote in an op-ed in The Chicago Tribune. "These actions demonstrate meaningful progress, and it is what we can do right now in our company-owned stores."
The McDonald's announcement comes as other big employers have raised starting wages amid a tightening job market. "At McDonald's, we must recruit and retain talented people and motivate them to bring their best to the job every day," Easterbrook wrote. The fast-food giant also announced benefits including paid personal time off.