Lauber said that McDonald's doesn't expect its employees to stay with the company forever, but the benefits of having veteran employees stay on staff, even as they work toward a new career, is invaluable to the company.
And for those that stay on with the company, there is opportunity for growth internally.
The same is true for those that go through Taco Bell's college tuition program. Taco Bell's Start With Us, Stay With Us program allows employees to pick from a wide variety of majors and career paths and doesn't require them to commit to staying with the company for any length of time.
Like McDonald's, Taco Bell's human resources team knows that its employees might not consider their time with the company as a career and want to explore other paths post-graduation. However, even those that do not pursue further restaurant industry training or a business degree could find themselves with a job with the company.
Bjorn Erland, vice president of human resources at Taco Bell, told CNBC that employees who, for example, explore vocational school could be hired on as a contractor. Erland said that Taco Bell is very interested in growing its own talent, whether that is an in-store staff member becoming a manager or part of the finance team.
Through Taco Bell's partnership with Guild Education, a tuition reimbursement and education platform, the company saw a 98 percent retention rate over six months, a 34 percent increase over employees that were not enrolled in the program. Some 2,000 employees have worked with a Guild coach since 2017.
Guild helps large employers extend education benefits, including tuition reimbursement, to workers who have dropped out or not completed collegiate level degrees.
Taco Bell offers its employees $5,250 per year towards tuition, books and supplies as well as college credit for on-the-job restaurant training. Employees can sign up for this program on their first day with the company.
Like Taco Bell, Chipotle Mexican Grill also has a partnership with Guild and offers employees $5,250 toward tuition each year as well as discounted tuition. So far, more than 7,000 Chipotle employees have taken advantage of these education benefits since 2015, according to the company.
The burrito chain said that employees enrolled in the Guild program are twice as likely to stay with the company, with 89 percent sticking with the brand nine months after enrolling in the program.
While Taco Bell's owner Yum Brands operates two other restaurant companies, KFC and Pizza Hut, each has a very different college tuition program.
Pizza Hut offers $5,250 per year towards tuition as well as a 50 percent discount on undergraduate tuition and 15 percent for graduate programs at Excelsior College. The restaurant partnered with Excelsior College because of its track record with adult students. The school was ranked as the number one college for adult learning by College Factual, a website that helps students find their right college fit.
KFC offers a free General Education Diploma program for those that have not yet completed their high school education in both English and Spanish as well as grants through the KFC Foundation. First-time grant winners are awarded $2,000 towards tuition. Those that have previously received a grant through the program and are selected again the next year receive $2,500. Managers who are selected received $3,000 per year.
Since 2006, KFC has awarded $17 million to more than 4,500 students towards their education goals. These grants are funded by KFC and its franchisees.
The structure of these benefit programs may seem restrictive in some cases.
Kimi Sugino told CNBC she worked at a number of restaurants chains before she settled at Starbucks for the last decade. A friend who was a manager at Starbucks had used the college tuition program and suggested Sugino enroll.
"I was really hesitant at first because I was horrible at online school and had it ingrained in my head that I needed to be on campus," Sugino said. "After having her walk me through her classes and what the layout was and what was expected, I decided to give it a shot."
Sugino is now in her second year in the college tuition program and studying psychology, and she finds she enjoys the online format.
"I love the flexibility to do my homework when I want," Sugino said. "I work a weird schedule of 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Thursday (and sometimes Friday) and go to bed at 1 p.m. and get up around midnight. So the flexibility of doing lectures, quizzes, videos, discussion posts between midnight and 4 a.m. is really good."
Of course, these programs aren't for everyone.
"I think about going back to school about four to five times a year," a Taco Bell crew member from Virginia with more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry, who wished to remain anonymous, told CNBC. "But what it usually comes down to is I know that I'm going to be in a business arena for most of my life with foodservice and honestly, networking, experience, and overtime hours are going to get me farther than a degree would."
He said it has been his experience that promotions and growth inside of these chain restaurants come from working hard, the length of time you've been with the company and who you know.
"I've met more salaried people with 401K and benefits that have just been with the company for over 15 years, than I've met people have been there for two years who have a bachelor's or master's degree," he said.
He did say that he will likely take advantage of Taco Bell's leadership courses when he reaches the level of store manager at a local chain.
"I know I can get there on my own with some dedication," he said.