Fast Food: Feeding Or Killing
Fast food is a growing industry, one which in the 1960s was thought of as the epitome of American superiority and bliss. Following the war people wanted things to return to the way they once were. People were becoming busier than ever and even the middle class had extra money to spend. But where could they spend that money? The fast food industry became the standard location where in expendable income could be used and faster meals could be had. Fast food restaurants and chains were popping up across America in addition to easily prepared meals that could be found in box form at the store. Working mothers to head contributed significantly to the war effort and no longer wanted to return to the kitchen we're starting to break into the world of business and in holding down a job they had less time spent preparing meals. But fast food came to their aid.
In the 1960s convenience style frozen dinners, consumed in front of the television became incredibly popular meal. Americans began to eat more meat than they have ever consumed in the past. Given the sacrifices that had to be made during the war many people felt that having access to any type of food they wanted quickly was the epitome of growth and success for their nation, a nation that was now the world leader.
And yet unfortunately what many Americans failed to realize was that the fast food they thought was feeding themselves and their families quicker was actually killing themselves and their families. There were doctors at the time conducting studies throughout places such as China, studies which were re-created in the United States to verify the results, which indicated that America's high consumption of animal products, particularly high doses of animal proteins from the fast food that we were consuming, lead directly to higher rates of certain types of cancer. The risk of heart disease increased dramatically at the same time that fast food began to spread throughout the nation. In spite of the risks that the fast food consumption brought with it many people turned a blind eye and in fact still do today.
Fast food consumption continues to skyrocket in spite of the fact that it has been directly correlated to hire risks of certain cancers and heart diseases. Rising medical costs from these health concerns has placed a great burden on our nation, and yet the fast food industry continues to thrive.
At first glance, a job at a fast food chain may not seem like a lucrative option for students looking to pay for school. However, you may want to reconsider. Many restaurant chains offer employee tuition assistance benefits, which allows you to pay for school and earn some extra dough on the side.
As reported by U.S. News & World Report, “Yum! Brands, TGI Friday’s and Arby’s are just some of the many restaurants offering tuition assistance, and this is definitely something we’ll be seeing more of in the future,” says Christin Fernandez, a spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association.
And, according to U.S. News & World Report, “most fast-food chains offer hourly employees some form of financial support for colleges through scholarships, such as Burger King’s scholars program or Taco Bell’s Live Más Scholarship. A small, but growing number of fast food companies, now offer tuition assistance programs.”
This small number includes the four following fast food chains, which all have student tuition assistance programs for their employees. Meaning: you may want to consider getting a job at one of the following restaurants and receive some serious tuition benefits.
Learn more about the details of the four restaurant chain employee student tuition assistance programs below:
Tuition Assistance Program Details: The well-known Seattle-based coffee and restaurant chain offers employees full tuition at Arizona State University’s (ASU) online program. The program gives Starbucks’ hourly employees an opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree, with Starbucks covering the tuition costs.
Starbucks developed a partnership with ASU, which reimburses its employees’ tuition costs at the end of each semester. The program’s tuition assistance is valued at over $47,000 or the estimated cost of attending ASU’s online program for four years as a full-time student.
Eligibility: Any Starbucks employee working an average of at least 20 hours weekly, at any company-operated store, is eligible from the very first day of their employment.
Student Participation: Since introducing the program, more than 5,000 Starbucks employees are enrolled in the program, with 44 participating employees who have already graduated after taking advantage of the offer. Due to the program’s success, Starbucks reportedly plans to spend an additional $250 million to help 25,000 student employees throughout the next ten years.
2. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Tuition Assistance Program Details: Chipotle reimburses its employee’s student tuition up to $5,250 – the IRS’s limit. Plus, employees are able to reimburse tuition costs from two- and four-year colleges, as well as technology and vocational schools.
Eligibility: Hourly employees must have at least one year of employment at Chipotle under their belts, but salaried and hourly managers are eligible immediately after employment. Slight stipulations are attached: employees looking to qualify for the program must maintain at least a “C” average, provide course descriptions and submit their grades in order to be reimbursed by the company.
Student Participation: The popular restaurant chain expanded its tuition assistance program in July of 2015 to include hourly workers – previously, only salaried employees were eligible for the reimbursement program. According to a company spokesperson, adding the additional assistance benefit option to hourly workers has been successful and has exceeded company expectations.
Tuition Assistance Program Details: McDonald’s “Archway to Opportunity” tuition program can be used for both on-campus and online degree programs. Hourly paid restaurant workers are eligible to receive up to $700 yearly in tuition assistance. Additionally, restaurant managers are eligible to receive $1,050.
Eligibility: Employees must work a minimum of 20 hours weekly and be employed at McDonald’s (both company-owned restaurants and at over 3,000 franchise locations) for at least one year before qualifying for the program.
Student Participation: It may not seem like much, but the program is estimated to cover the cost of two classes for hourly workers and three for managers, which adds up. This estimation is based on the average cost to attend a community college course (about $300-$400). The program began in July of 2015 and aims to assist McDonald’s employees in building their skills to move up within the company internally.
4. Pizza Hut
Tuition Assistance Program Details: Owned by Yum! Brands, the popular pizza giant offers a tuition program known as the “Life Unboxed EDU” tuition reimbursement program. The program offers hourly employees discounted tuition at Excelsior College – up to 45 percent off undergraduate tuition prices and 15 percent off graduate degree programs.
U.S. News & World Report reports that, according to the college’s net tuition calculator, employees attending school part-time in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree can cut costs from nearly $6,000 down to just over $3,000.
Eligibility: This tuition reimbursement benefit is offered to all Pizza Hut employees and their immediate family members after being employed at the company for at least 60 days.
Student Participation: Pizza Hut launched the program in December of 2015 and has had around 99 employees take advantage of the opportunity.
As reported by U.S. News & World Report, students taking advantage of the program span both hourly employees and regional coaches. Additionally, the majority of the students are mature, within their mid-twenties or early thirties, according to a Pizza Hut spokesperson.
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