Editorial: "The Chicken That Roared"

Incredible response to Chick-fil-A $16 per hour wage story
Make hay (well at least $16 per hour) while you Eat Mor Chikin (Cape Cod Today photo)



On June 2nd Cape Cod Today published a story about Chick-fil-A Cape Cod’s new starting wage of $16 per hour. 

We expected a strong response but even we were surprised by the result.  The story went national in just a few hours.  It is far and away the most far-reaching story that Cape Cod Today has published since 1997. Story readership, social media and sharing broke every record on our books. The chicken’s “roar” was heard far and wide.

Over the weekend Chick-fil-A franchise owner Annemarie Reissner received no fewer than 195 new job applications and 106 phone calls about employment.  The calls and applications continue to pour in at the Enterprise Road restaurant in Hyannis.

Ms. Reissner mentioned several times over the weekend how impressed she was by the quality of the applicants.  “I’m getting candidates who are employed, professional…a higher caliber applicant overall, and that’s what’s really encouraging.”

Raising her starting hourly wage to $16 per hour was a leap of faith for Annemarie.  She stresses that she is looking for “hospitality professionals” or enthusiastic, coachable individuals she can mentor.  For those that develop into leadership positions, earnings can rise up to $26 per hour plus incentives.

Ms. Reissner also stressed that she is looking for full-time, year-round employees to form a core around seasonal staffers.  The new wage did not bring across-the-board cuts in hours. 

Mellow and smiling, when Ms. Reissner starts talking business the steel begins to show.  The $16 per hour wage is not an entitlement.  Annemarie interviews each prospective employee.  When she hires someone she tells them what they need to do remain in a job that pays the new wage. 

“High performers” are what she seeks and now Annmarie has a much different pool of applicants from which to choose.

Meanwhile, the story has generated incredible buzz both online and in local workplaces.  Ms. Reissner said she overheard employees talking about Chick-fil-A jobs in two different establishments she visited over the weekend.  Our own editors have heard similar buzz. 

Now that the pebble is in the water, the ripples will start moving in many directions.  Will other Cape employers offer similar wages to compete with Chick-fil-A?  Chick-fil-A did not raise its menu prices – will others be able to pay more and hold the line on pricing?

Customers have thus far been enthusiastic about the new program, as evidenced by our own conversations in the restaurant and televised interviews done by NBC Boston.  Several public servants have voiced their support over social media, as well.

If you or someone you love is interested in “More Than” a job, contact Chick-fil-A Cape Cod or stop by the restaurant on Enterprise Road in Hyannis.  

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