How Much CEOs Make At Restaurants Where ‘People Don’t Want To Work’

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Crappy corporate burger chains and fast-casual restaurants nationwide are short-staffed, and many have resorted to taping sad Microsoft Word-printed signs on their doors and drive-thrus  claiming that “people don’t want to work.” It is not true that people “don’t want to work,” it’s a combination of factors including lack of access to childcare with many schools still being closed, inadequate safety at the restaurants, and people leaving the food service industry.

We thought it might be a fun exercise to look at the which U.S. restaurant chains are claiming people “don’t want to work,” and then see how much they’re paying their CEOs. 


This Texas McDonald’s sign says that “No one wants to work anymore.”

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski made $10.8 million in 2020, and made $18 million in 2019.


These Chipotle workers were quite direct with their sign: “Want to know why we are closed? Ask our corporate offices why their employees are forced to work in borderline sweatshop conditions for 8+ hours WITHOUT BREAKS. We are overworked, understaffed, underpaid, and underappreciated. Almost the entire management and crew have walked out until further notice.”

Chipotle Mexican Grill CEO Brian Niccol made a staggering $38 million in 2020.


Here we see an Outback Steakhouse sign claiming “Due to the stimulus money and tax time, people just do not want to work.”

Outback Steakhouse is owned by a conglomerate called Bloomin’ Brands. Bloomin’ Brands CEO David Deno makes $7.9 million a year. The company is also paying its former CEO $5.4 million a year to not work for them anymore.


This Hardee’s drive-thru sign says “Due to NO STAFF WE ARE CLOSED.”

Hardee’s is owned by something called CKE Restaurants Holdings. CKE Restaurants Holdings CEO Andrew Puzder, who Trump wanted for Secretary of Labor and also has a long history of wage theft violations, makes between $4 million and $10 million per year, depending on the year. 


“We all quit!! CLOSED!! Bye Alisa, Love, Wendy’s,” says this sign, apparently drawn up by some employees who had a little fun on their way out.

 Wendy’s Co. CEO Todd A. Penego makes $7.2 million a year.

We expected to find CEOs making millions at these fast food chains. What we did not expect to find is that so many companies who claim people “don’t want to work” are still paying out their former top executives in golden parachute deals. Because in a capitalist system, departed executives get sweetheart deals on the way out so they can, you know, not work.


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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.