If McDonalds were to double the salaries and benefits of all of its employees, from the CEO down to the minimum wage cashiers, it would still only cost an extra 68 cents for a Big Mac, according to a new report.
As fast food workers across the country are going on strike to demand a livable wage, University of Kansas research assistant Arnobio Morelix tells the Huffington Post that it would cost the average consumer mere cents to give them just that.
Currently, a minimum wage McDonalds employee makes $7.25 per hour. The CEO makes $8.75 million. But if the former were raised to $15 and the latter to $17.5 million, the dollar menu would only have to become the $1.17 menu and the Big Mac would go from $3.99 to $4.67, Morelix found.
These numbers underscore what low-wage workers already know: It would take very little for McDonalds to vastly improve the lives of those who make the company run. In fact, minimum wage raises have proven beneficial to a company’s bottom line.
Current wages for the lowest paid McDonalds workers are unworkable, and even the company knows that; a recent budget released by McDonalds told employees to get by through getting a second job and spending $0 on heating. Still, the company’s leadership has tried to frame itself as a charitable “above minimum wage” employer.
This post has been updated to reflect the fact that removing CEO pay would not significantly change Morelix’s estimates.
Ryan Chittum of the Columbia Journalism Review crunched the numbers and found that the price rise of 68 cents per Big Mac, or 17 percent overall, is only true for company-operated restaurants. Including franchises, which make up 80 percent of McDonalds restaurants, puts the increase at 25 percent. This post has also been updated to reflect that the study was not issued by the University of Kansas. The University of Kansas has clarified that Morelix, an undergraduate at the school, did not vet his research with the university. The report is not part of KU’s academic studies.