What can a Teen Learn at a Fast Food Restaurant Job

Do not underestimate the power of a “burger-flipping” job in teaching a teen some very important life lessons. Having had similar jobs myself as a teen, I can vouch for that, and in this article I will list a few of these important lessons that can be learned while working in the fast-food industry.


It can be an eye-opening experience for a teen the first time they work for their own money. They may realize that it is much harder than they thought to earn a paycheck, for example I recall being surprised how hard I had to work for an hour to make $6. This can lead to a greater appreciation for money and more care when it comes to choosing what to spend it on. Handling money also builds financial skills such as budgeting, making change and understanding how a business works.


Seeing how fast-food is made, for example the amount of grease involved in French Fry production, can be a lesson in health (I know it was for me!) This could lead to healthier food choices. A teen in any kind of job in the food industry will also learn valuable lessons about food-handling such as cross-contamination issues, proper cleanliness, hand-washing etc. They may even pick up some cooking skills as well. These skills can be applied in the teen’s own life and will be useful when they move out on their own.


A taste of a minimum-wage job could be the key to showing a teen the importance of trying hard in school and going on to post-secondary education. While a job in the fast-food industry is good for after school or in the summer, it is likely that your teen will have loftier goals for their lifetime career, and education is the key to those goals.


There are people out there who think that certain jobs are “beneath them” and that it is better not to work at all than to be seen doing these jobs. While this may have been humorous in the TV show “The Simple Life” it is not so humorous in real-life especially if your teen adopts this attitude. This is a very negative attitude about work, and a fast-food job can help to ingrain respect for all jobs and realize their importance in society. A teen will learn that they have skills that are valuable to an employer, and will feel the pride of earning a paycheck. They will also learn to respect the people who do these jobs once they realize the amount of work involved. I can honestly say that for the rest of my life I will never be rude to a server after being one myself! It is one of the hardest jobs out there!


Learning to work alongside others is an important skill to master early-on and these types of jobs typically involve a team so are a good training ground for this. A teen will learn to work with different types of people, possibly even serving the public if that is the type of job they get. They will learn to manage conflict effectively and to handle difficult working relationships. These may not be fun lessons but are important since these situations are inevitable, and they will carry these skills into all their future jobs as well.


A job in the fast-food industry has the potential to be an excellent learning experience for a teen, or for anyone else for that matter. It instills important skills and values, builds character, and helps to foster a respect for all those who work in these jobs everyday.