Dick’s Drive-In plans to ‘invest in employees’ by increasing base wages

Sep 24, 2021, 9:14 AM
A person walks past the Dick's Drive-In in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Starting wages at Dick’s Drive-In are increasing to $19 an hour, and $20 at the Seattle locations on Broadway and in Queen Anne.

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This increase, CEO Jasmine Donovan told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show, will allow Dick’s to continue offering the best wages and benefits in the industry.

“We have always felt that it was important to invest in our employees,” Donovan said. “My grandfather and his founding partner thought it was one of the best investments that a business could make. Your employees then take better care of your customers, and then your customers help your business make a profit. So it’s a virtuous cycle.”

That’s not all either — Donovan says the benefits will be improved as well.

“We’ve had the scholarship and child care benefits for many, many years — decades, actually. The biggest change we’re making now is we’re just moving eligibility of that sooner so that those employees who passed our first skills test are instantly available for that scholarship benefit,” Donovan said.

“It makes a huge difference,” she added. “We are very proud that we have so many employees who have been able to graduate debt free. We have employees that have been able to work while going to school, who have been able to use that scholarship program to pursue something that they’re passionate about. Then they transition away from working for us and go and do that in the world, in the local community and throughout the country.”

Dick’s Drive-In also provides dental and health insurance for its employees, and the company has updated its overtime policy through the rest of 2021, so that employees who work more than 32 hours a week will earn overtime for those additional hours.

Donovan says the company is doing what it has to in order to keep employees. And customers are sticking with them too, she says, despite higher menu prices.

“As wages have gone up over the years, there’s always price increases. That is not just for labor, that also covers the cost of goods over time,” she explained.

The company had a price increase in July, which Donovan says was mostly due to the cost of goods going up due to shipping and other issues in the supply chain.

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Donovan explained that Dick’s is able to increase the base wage in part thanks to their customer base.

“We’ve been around a very long time, and we do what we do very well. We’re very blessed to have amazing customers who stood with us throughout COVID,” she said. “We never had to close, we never had to furlough anyone, and our customers have seen us through this. And we have to invest in our employees if they’re going to be there to serve our customers.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dick’s Drive-In plans to ‘invest in employees’ by increasing base wages