1.7 million teens are working as restaurant employees, according to the National Restaurant Association. As surprising as it may sound, this is certainly not a piece of new news anymore.
Often, individuals tend to work a job in their free time. And in the past few years, more and more students decided to follow suit. Maybe you know someone who works for a local fast-food chain, or you are a working student.
Though most of the statistics stated above refer to college students, many high schoolers are already working.
In an October 2019 survey, high school and college students were asked whether they want to work at a local business. The results showed that 22.3 percent of high school students and 50.2 percent of college students want to be involved in the labor force. They want to be employed, either full-time or part-time, at restaurant jobs or other places that hire teenagers.
This is great news for youth is that more restaurants are willing to hire at 14 and 15.
But scouring the internet for “restaurants hiring near me with no experience” may cost you valuable time with outdated content.
Our researched definitive guide of available part-time restaurants that hire young students will give you straightforward answers.
Restaurant in a Restaurant for the First Time
Here’s a short video on the basic tips of working in a restaurant.
Can Teens Work in the Fast Food Industry?
Yes, they can work in the fast-food industry. Restaurants and the local fast-food industry are the leading employers for teens looking for their first job in the labor force.
What Are the Top Jobs For Teens In the Restaurant Industry?
First-time jobs for teens at a local restaurant will be based on your skills and interests. If you’re an extrovert, apply to work the drive-thru or as a cashier. The worst jobs for an introvert would be a server vs. working food prep or dishwashing.
Here’s a list of the top jobs for teenagers to apply for in the restaurant industry:
Cashiers or Counter Clerk
One of the most common types of teen jobs is to be a cashier. They welcome the arriving guests from behind the counter, take orders, tender the payment, and fill drink orders. Sometimes, they can also be assigned to the drive-thru window to either process the order or complete it.
Dishwashers or Bussers
Being a dishwasher or a busser are not the most glamourous jobs at a restaurant. Bussers clean the table after a guest has finished eating, while a dishwasher’s primary duty is to clean the dirty dishes. Smaller restaurants employ one worker for both roles, while larger stores have different positions.
A server takes the guest’s orders, serves the food, and processes the payment. It also includes cleaning their respective workstation, relaying the menu to the guests, being organized, pleasant, and communicative; it’s not a good job for an introvert.
See my guide on “How to be the Best Restaurant Server” with proven tips and tricks.
Food Preparation Assistants
Though they are not the head chef, working teens can find a position as a food preparation assistant. They work under the head chef’s wing, and they generally prepare the ingredients for the menu. A food prep assistant will chop vegetables, slice meat or prepare coffee beans. They can also assist in maintaining the cleanliness of the kitchen.
Some restaurants, like the Olive Garden, employ teenagers to be door attendants. They are in charge of opening and closing the door for arriving and leaving guests. Their tasks are to welcome and thank the guests for coming and answer basic queries such as the availability and wait times.
Among all of the industries that hire teens, the restaurant and fast food industry offer arguably the best first-time job for someone with no experience.
How many hours can a 14 and 15-year-old work legally?
Generally, the number of hours that a 14 and 15-year old can work will depend on the day or the type of week. For example, a student can legally work a maximum of 3 hours during a school day. They can work up to eight hours on a non-school day. Also, on a non-school week, such as vacations and holidays, teens can work no more than 40 hours.
What is Considered a Minor?
In almost all states, someone below 18 years old is considered a ‘minor.’ Minors should be under the care of their parents or guardians during their minor years unless they opt for emancipation. Being emancipated means that you and your parents waive their responsibility for you, and you will begin paying for all of your expenses and your taxes as an individual.
How old do you have to be to work at Fast Food Restaurants?
The Federal Laws have set age 14 as the minimum age to work. Hence, a limited amount of restaurants will hire at 14 and no younger. However, they cannot employ you to work in precarious or hazardous positions.
Most restaurants have the first job for a teenager starting at 16 years old. The minimum age requirement will vary by location, state, and franchisee.
What are the Pros and Cons of Working in Restaurants?
Working at restaurants have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Our list includes the most common and significant pros and cons of working in restaurants, from the salary and benefits to the problematic coworker.
What Are The Pros Of Working in Restaurants?
Here are the advantages of being employed in a restaurant:
Earn Lots of Fast Money
Some of the teenagers who work in upscale restaurants as servers may receive some amazing cash tips. Some of the best servers can earn upwards of $200 per night in gratuity. This is a significant advantage of working in a busy restaurant, as you get rewarded not only by your minimum salary but also by the friendly and appreciative customers.
Free Food From the House
Most restaurants either give you an employee discount or free food for your shift. This is a token of appreciation from the management for your hard work. It’s a benefit for you if you’re working at your favorite pizza, burrito, or breakfast restaurant. Even if it’s not your favorite, who doesn’t love free food?
Have you ever heard of the saying “teamwork makes the dream work”?
In a restaurant, this principle applies to its strictest sense. From the manager to the door attendant, all workers must cooperate, so every working day or night is a success. This cooperation is the root of the friendships and healthy relationships that blossom in the workplace. It is easy to develop a friendship with your coworkers, and some may become lifelong friends.
Learning Essential Work Ethics
If you are working while studying, you have to juggle your academic workloads and your job. If you are successful in doing this, you are developing crucial time management skills and discipline. You can also develop your ability to follow instructions and deliver against the daily rigors.
You Can Meet Many Wonderful People
Working as a ‘public figure’ will expose you to many new people. Meeting these people can lead to other opportunities in the future. While waiting tables, I received several job offers, a college grant, and a job interview for what became my professional career.
What Are The Cons of Working in Restaurants?
For every advantage, there are disadvantages to working in restaurants.
Less Guest Equals Low Earnings
Depending on the location and the type of restaurant, you may make a lot of money in tips, or it’s so slow that you make no money. For example, during COVID, some states and towns closed restaurants resulting in servers making no money in tips. Sometimes customers don’t leave their house due to snow, rain, or inclement weather.
Rude Guests and Coworkers
Unfortunately, some guests mistreat treat servers and expect them to grant their every wish at the snap of their fingers. In addition, sometimes you’ll get stuck working with unpleasant coworkers, and you’ll need to learn how to deal with them.
Your teenage years let your body develop into an adult. This means that you are not yet biologically built to carry out large tasks. If you are working more than the legal limits, it can take a toll on your overall health and development.
Restaurants That Hire Minors
Now, here is the part that you must be waiting for. The following part is the compilation of restaurant jobs for youth. Together with the restaurants’ names, we’ll provide you details on each job and why working in restaurants is the best job to get as a teen.
In the U.S., about 30% of fast-food workers are teenagers 16 and older. You can get an entry-level job at any of the following food service restaurants.
Applebee’s is known for its casual dining menu with mainstream American dishes such as burgers, chicken, salads, pasta, and many others. The company has over 1,600 restaurants across the US.
Depending on the location, the minimum age to work at Applebee’s is 16. A job for youth would include working as a host or curbside delivery.
Complete an Applebee’s job application online for a location nearby.
Arby’s is a fast-food sandwich restaurant chain in the U.S. It has over 3,300 restaurant locations that hire teens.
Arby’s employee perks include a training program with 50% meal discounts, competitive pay, and flexible hours for teenagers. Its training program makes it a great place to work with no experience.
Does Arby’s hire at 15?
You must be 15 years old to work at Arby’s. You’ll be taking customer orders, prepare food made to order, and clean the dining room and all areas behind the counter, among other jobs.
Complete the Arby’s application online here.
A&W was America’s first restaurant chain to reach 100 years old. They have over 550 quick-serve restaurants in the US, with near 100 locations in a convenience store and gas station. It’s founded on A&W root beer, and it invented the original bacon cheeseburger in 1963.
Generally, A&W hires teens starting at 16. The responsibilities could include preparing food, serving guests, cleaning, and cashiering.
The A&W part-time employee perks include a 25% food discount, free root beer (of course), and flexible hours for students.
Download an A&W application here and return to your local restaurant.
4. Baskin Robbins
Baskin-Robbins is a multinational chain of ice creams and cake decorating with over 2,500 locations in the US. They’ve created over 1,300 unique ice cream flavors in its 70+ year history.
Baskin Robbins is the best job to get as a 14-year-old teen with a work permit. It’s a friendly work environment to have scooping ice cream as your first experience. Perks include a free scoop of ice cream per day, a flexible schedule for students, and two weeks of employee training.
Find your Baskin Robbins locations near you here.
5. Ben and Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s manufactures and sells ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. It has over 615 locations in over 40 states across the US.
Ben & Jerry’s will hire teens starting at 16 years old with a valid driver’s license.
The employee perks include free ice cream, fun music, and a flexible work schedule for students.
Find a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop job here.
6. Bruegger’s Bagels
Bruegger’s Bagels sells authentic New York-style bagels along with sandwiches, salads, soups, and catering. They have about 200 quick-serve locations in over 20 states.
You can work in any of the 300 stores located in 26 states in the United States that hire teens 16 years and older.
The Bruegger’s Bagels employee perks include 50% off meals or a free meal after an 8-hour shift.
Find Bruegger’s Bagels team member jobs near you here.
7. Burger King
Burger King is the second-largest hamburger chain with 7,200 locations in the US. They’re known for their flame-broiled fast-food burgers.
Does Burger King hire at 15?
No, Burger King doesn’t hire at 15 but does accept applicants with a minimum age of 16 years old. Applicants have responsivities such as a team member who works the cash register, clean the restaurant area both inside and out, stocking, and unloading product.
Apply for the Burger King job line here.
8. California Pizza Kitchen
California Pizza Kitchen is known for its California-style pizza. They have nontraditional combinations such as their “Original BBQ Chicken Pizza,” Jamaican Jerk Chicken, and Thai Chicken. CPK has over 150 locations in over 25 states.
The California Pizza Kitchen age requirement is 15 years old. Duties for a minor include being a host that greets and seats customers or a dishwasher that cleans and maintains dishware and cooking utensils.
California Pizza Kitchen’s part-time employee perks include a training program, flexible work schedules, discounts, and free meals.
Find the California Pizza Kitchen job application online here.
9. Captain D’s
Captain D’s is a restaurant chain focusing on fast-casual seafood like shrimp, fish and chips, and its signature batter and breading. There are over 530 locations in about 22 states in Midwest and the south.
Captain D’s is a restaurant that hires 16-year-olds and older. The responsibilities for youth workers include cashiering, cooking, and guest specialists, which makes the customer experience a positive one.
Apply online for a Captain D’s job today here.
10. Carl’s Jr.
Carl’s Jr. is known for its charbroiled burgers at its over 1,000 fast-food restaurants in 14 states.
The Carl’s Jr. hiring age is 16 for entry-level jobs. The type of work includes preparing food orders, stand for long periods of time, lift boxes, event promotions, cashier, work the drive-thru, and cleaning and organize the restaurant.
The Carl’s Jr. employee benefits for part-time workers include meal discounts, competitive pay, and educational reimbursement.
Find Carl’s Jr. locations near you for youth employment here.
Chick-fil-A is famously known for its specialty chicken sandwich with constant long-lines of customers trying to meet demand. The fast-food chain has over 2,600 locations in over 46 states.
Chick-fil-A has independent restaurants that hire at 14 but is subject to each location and state rules. It’s a great job for students because all locations are closed on Sunday, allowing kids to do their homework. An additional employee perk is Chick-fil-A employees can apply for college scholarships and tuition discounts.
Visit Chick-fil-A online to find available jobs near you here.
Culver’s is a casual fast-food chain that operates primarily in the Midwest with over 770 restaurants in 25 states. Most people know Culvers for their “Butterburgers” and frozen custard.
Culver’s hires at age 14, but some positions and locations require a minimum age of 16. First-time jobs include cooking, cashiering, delivering orders to the table, maintain the inside and outside so it’s clean and safe for guests.
The Culvers part-time employee perks include training, 50% off your meal during your shift, get paid every two weeks, and flexible hours for students.
Easily apply for Culver’s jobs online here.
13. Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen is a fast food restaurant with burgers, soft-serve ice cream, and more. It has over 4,300 locations in 49 states. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns the chain.
Does Dairy Queen hire at 15?
Unfortunately, the minimum age to work at Dairy Queen is 16 years old. The types of positions include cooking and wrapping menu items, cake decorator, or general staff that serves customers, stocks the shelves, and maintains a clean working environment.
The Dairy Queen employee perks include a 50% employee discount, new employee training, flexible hours, and up to a 3% salary raise per year.
Find a nearby Dairy Queen to apply for your first job as a teenager.
Domino’s pizza is a multinational pizza chain with over 6,100 locations across the US. They’re the largest pizza seller worldwide. A fun fact is that there are over 34 million Domino’s pizza topping combinations.
The minimum age to work at Domino’s is 16. Unfortunately, they do not hire 14 and 15-year-olds. The tasks include taking phone orders, operating kitchen equipment, stocking ingredients, and handling money.
Domino’s pizza employee perks are flexible schedules, free meals, employee discounts, competitive pay, and benefits.
Apply for part-time Dominos jobs online here.
KFC is the second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald’s. The fast-food establishment specializes in fried chicken has over 3,900 locations in 50 states across the US.
The KFC restaurant hires teenagers 16 years and older. First-time job responsibilities include tasks like taking and serving orders, prepare food, cleaning, and organizing.
KFC employee perks include free drinks, discounted meals, and flexible part-time work schedules.
Apply here for KFC part-time jobs for students online.
16. Papa John’s
Papa John’s is the fourth largest pizza-delivery restaurant chain in the U.S. It has over 3,000 stores located across the US.
The minimum age to work at Papa John’s is 16 years old. Most first-time pizza shop jobs require no previous experience. The typical job for a teenager is a pizza maker, taking orders, or processing payment transactions.
Papa John’s employee perks include competitive pay, meal discounts, and flexible work schedules for students.
For Papa John’s jobs, apply online here.
17. Panera Bread
Panera Bread is a bakery-café fast-casual restaurant with over 2100 locations across the US. Most people don’t realize panera means bread bowl.
Does Panera hire at 15?
Panera Bread starts hiring at age 16. They do not hire 15-year-olds at the restaurant. Part-time jobs for teens include being a café-bakery associate or catering coordinator.
Panera Bread employee perks include a 65% meal discount and flexible shifts and hours ranging from 5-40 hours per week.
Apply here for Panera part-time jobs nearby.
Starbucks Corporation is a multinational coffeehouse with over 15,000 locations across the US. Some fun facts include Seattle’s Best coffee is actually owned by Starbucks, and there’s a secret menu of drink recipes.
You have to be at least 16 years old to work at Starbucks. First-time jobs for teens will include taking orders, make drinks (barista duties), and keep the line moving quickly.
Starbucks employee perks include a free meal for every shift, a 30% product discount, and a flexible work schedule for students.
Apply online to work at Starbuck here.
19. Steak ‘n Shake
Steak ‘n Shake is a casual restaurant chain known for its premium burgers and milk shares. There are over 540 locations in 28 states, with a concentration in the Midwest.
The Steak ‘n Shake minimum age requirement is 16 years old. They will not hire anyone who’s 14 and 15. There are many jobs with no experience necessary like taking customer orders, handling money, answering the phone, bring food to the tables, and assist with the drive-thru.
The Steak ‘n Shake employee perks include meals, one-on-one training, cell phone discounts, and flexible scheduling for teenagers.
Click here to find a nearby Steak ‘n Shake to apply online for a job.
20. Taco Bell
Taco Bell, known for its Mexican fast-food, has over 7,200 restaurants across the US. They’re known for the continued food innovations like the Doritos Locos Taco. The restaurant chain serves more than 2 billion customers a year.
Does Taco Bell hire 15-year-olds?
Typically, Taco Bell restaurants hire at 16, but there are exceptions. The majority of locations are owned by a franchisee which can make exceptions and hire a 15-year-old. Teens can be expected to greet customers, take orders, prep food, handle payments, and work the drive-thru.
Click here for the Taco Bell online job application.
21. AMC Movie Theater
AMC is the largest movie theatre chain in the world. It has over 600 theatres in the US and has served over 250 million guests per year in recent history. Though it’s not a restaurant by definition, an entertainment venue, like a movie theatre, makes much of its money serving food.
The minimum age to work at AMC is 14. The minimum age will vary by state and likely require a work permit. The jobs for teenagers at a theatre are usually working the concession stand or checking tickets upon entry. It’s the perfect place to work if you’re a teen who loves movies. You can watch new releases as a perk.
Apply online to work at an AMC near you here.
22. Six Flags
Six Flags is the world’s largest regional theme park company with 21 locations in the US. They operate thrill parks and water parks. In 2019, they had approximately 48,000 seasonal employees across their parks in the US, Mexico, and Canada. Each park has several themed restaurants ranging from pizza to burgers to ice cream.
The minimum age to work at Six Flags is 14 years old. The jobs for 14-year-old minors include a games attendant or a parking lot attendant. Six Flags hire a 15-year-old to be a lifeguard, merchandise, handle food service, and ticketing.
Entertainment Corporation is an American amusement park corporation. You can work in any of the 26 locations. There are teen job positions at Six Flags for 14 years old and over.
Complete an application for Six Flags online here.
Does Zaxby’s hire at 15?
According to Zaxby, the minimum age for working with them is generally set at 16 years old. However, some franchisees can opt to hire 15-year old teens as a counter or kitchen staff, provided that you can keep up with a fast-paced restaurant setup.
Does Popeyes fast-food hire at 15?
The minimum age for anyone to be hired at Popeyes is 16. A youth crew member must provide a work permit and citizenship proof. If you want to be a cook or management, you have to be at least 18 years old.
Does Subway fast-food hire at 15 years old?
Though the unofficial minimum age requirement is at least 16 years old, some states allow Subway to employ 15-year old teens at their fast-food chains.
Does Bojangles hire at 15?
No, Bojangles does not hire teens at 15. You have to be at least 16 years old before you work at Bojangles and serve their grilled chicken burgers and fish sandwiches.
Does KFC hire at 15?
Some KFC franchisees can hire 15 years old for relatively simple tasks, including working the cash register or waiting for guest orders.
Does Hardee’s hire at 15?
No, you have to be at least 16 years old before you can work as an employee for Hardee’s.
Does Pizza Hut hire at 15?
Some Pizza Hut locations hire 15 years old, but the general age minimum is 16 years old. If you are under that minimum, they can hire you to be the cashier or cleaners.
Does IHOP hire at 15?
IHOP does not employ workers under the age of 16 years old. They won’t hire youth at 15 with a work permit until their 16th birthday.
Does Wendy’s hire at 15 years old?
The general age requirement to work at Wendy’s is 16 years old. Though, some locations in some states allow Wendy’s to hire at 15 with a work permit. They require employees to have reliable transportation, lift up to 50 pounds, and stand for long periods.
Does Chipotle hire at 15?
Chipotle only hires employees if they are at least 16-years old. Unfortunately, you cannot serve their nachos, quesadillas, and burritos if you are 15-years old.
22 Restaurants that Hire at 14, 15, 16 Years Old Summary
Use our list of restaurants that hire teenagers for positions as a definitive guide. Find the right place where you should apply to local restaurants hiring 14, 15, and 16 years old. The guide should also provide a brief overview of what working conditions can be expected when applying for a specific position.