By Mike Pomranz
Updated December 30, 2014
Credit: © Jess Lander /

Fast-food restaurants—in fact, restaurants in general—are often mentioned as some of the toughest places to work. Fast-food workers were protesting nationwide this year. But one burger chain has achieved cult status not only for their food but also for how they treat their employees. This dedication to worker satisfaction has landed the company a spot in the top 10 in a recent survey of the best places to work.

If you live in California (and, increasingly, Nevada, Arizona, Utah or Texas), you’ve almost certainly heard of In-N-Out. The family-owned chain is known for its small menu featuring fresh-cooked burgers and fries, as well as their “secret menu.” But they’ve also been regularly talked about as a great place to work. As The Motley Fool reports, “All employees just starting out with the chain get paid at least $10.50 per hour, some 17 percent above the median hourly wage of $8.94 nationally for front-line fast-food workers and 44 percent above the federal minimum wage […] Hourly employees can earn as much as $14 on average.” The restaurant also offers up strong benefits, “from flexible schedules that accommodate school and other activities to paid vacations, free meals and comprehensive training” as well as “insurance that covers dental, vision, life and accidents, while establishing a retirement program with a defined contribution profit-sharing plan and a 401(k).”

All of these perks earned In-N-Out the No. 8 spot on Glassdoor’s recently released Top 50 “Best Places to Work 2015” list. Glassdoor is a site that allows employees to anonymously review their own companies, so their year-end rankings are determined not subjectively but by looking at what workers themselves have to say about the companies they work for.

No other restaurants of any kind, fast food or otherwise, made the list. As Eater points out, it’s not surprising when “a new report by the Economic Policy Institute found that almost 40 percent of restaurant workers live in poverty, and that just 14.4 percent of non-union restaurant workers are provided benefits by their employers.”

As fast-food workers continue to fight for better wages, other restaurants are looking to the In-N-Out model for inspiration. New York-based Shake Shack, which just filed for a major initial public offering, seemingly has modeled much of what they do after the California chain, paying workers around $10 an hour.

Perhaps this news will provide even more reason for In-N-Out to finally open in NYC.