Waffle House workers to get $3 pay increase

Waffle House is a popular restaurant chain serving breakfast and dinner foods.

A first wave of Waffle House employees is getting a pay raise this month.

CEO Joe Rogers III announced last month the $3 pay raise in a video to employees. The base hourly rate will rise to $5.25 by June 2026, Fox Business reported.

The raises will be in the form of standardized base pay increases, tenure bonuses and shift premiums spanning the next two to three years, Rogers said. He said the plan was “five years in the making” after being delayed by events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tips will remain in play, with Rogers explaining that there will be no tip pooling or service charges added to bills.

The costs of the increased wages will be paid for by higher menu prices, he said.

Rural markets will have a slower increase than urban areas. Workers who receive tips are paid a lower than minimum wage, with tips making up the difference.

The federal minimum wage will be $15 an hour in 2025, Fortune reported.

Rogers said Waffle House wages will be made of three components: a base hourly rate (determined by restaurant location), a tenure bonus and shift premiums. The hourly rate will be based on how long someone has worked at Waffle House over their lifetime. The years of service do not need to be consecutive.

The shift premiums will be 50 cents or $1 paid to employees who work shifts where tips are typically lower, Fortune reported.

The Union of Southern Service Workers had been pushing for Waffle House to increase employee pay by staging strikes, running letter-writing campaigns and collecting signatures on petitions, according to Fox Business.

The labor group had asked for a $25 hourly wage, 24/7 security at restaurants and ending mandatory meal deductions, going so far as to ask the U.S. Labor Department to investigate the company’s policy that deducts the cost of mandatory meals from worker’s pay.

Waffle House was created in Avondale Estates, Georgia, in 1955. Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner opened a 24-hour sit-down restaurant that “focused on people on both sides of the counter.”

The company expanded across Georgia, eventually opening more than 1,900 locations, open 24/7, in 25 states.

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