This week, a Chick-fil-A location in Hendersonville, North Carolina, posted about the job opportunity on its public Facebook page, where it noted that it was looking for volunteers to work its drive-thru.
“We are looking for volunteers for our new Drive Thru Express! Earn five free entrees per shift (one hr) worked,” the Facebook post, which has since-been deleted, read. “Message us for details.”
Chick-fil-A’s website notes that its entrees, which include chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and Cool Wraps, are priced between $4.29 and $7.49. The price of a Chick-fil-A Cool Wrap translates to just four cents over the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour noted Today.
The post was met with backlash almost immediately, with users flooding the restaurant’s Facebook page to criticise the offer.
“Did y’all really try to pay people in food?” one person asked in the comments under a recent unrelated post on the franchise location’s Facebook page, while another person said: “Appreciate your ‘team’ by paying people instead of begging for volunteers.”
Under another post praising an employee who works at the franchise location as a “morning full time hospitality professional,” someone else wrote: “How many sandwiches has he accumulated? I’m so glad he’s able to pay bills with his chicken sandwiches.”
The criticism also expanded to Twitter, where people continued to condemn the restaurant’s “job” offer.
“Talk about tone deaf. Chick-fil-A in North Carolina wanted to pay workers in chicken sandwiches. What the hell is wrong with people?” one person tweeted, while someone else shared a screenshot of the deleted Facebook post and said: “Chick-fil-A wants to pay workers in chicken sandwiches. Former CEO Dan Cathy has a net worth of $5bn, the entire Cathy family is worth close to $15bn, and Chick-fil-A itself generated a combined revenue of $10bn between 2020-2021. Pay your workers.”
The North Carolina restaurant eventually addressed the backlash in a since-deleted comment, in which it said that it had had multiple people sign up for the volunteer opportunity.
“Thanks for everyone’s concern on this matter. This is a volunteer based opportunity, which means people can opt in to volunteer if they think it’s a good fit for them,” the store wrote, according to Fortune. “We’ve had multiple people sign up and enjoy doing and have done it multiple times. People who sign up for this chose it voluntarily. We are still hiring full time and part time team members, so if you are interested in working in our store, we pay $19/hr.”
The North Carolina Chick-fil-A location, like other franchise locations, is run independently from the fried chicken chain’s parent organisation. The Hendersonville location’s website states that it is operated by Joel Benson, while Mashed notes that a Chick-fil-A operator typically earns $200,000 a year.
“@ChickfilA how much is a fine for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act? Do all your stores pay workers in French fries instead of actual wages?” one person tweeted. “Why do franchise owners make $200,000 a year and they’re hiring for $0 an hour?”
The Independent has contacted Chick-fil-A and the Hendersonville location for comment.