Restaurants and Food Chains that Pay for College and Provide Health Benefits

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By Donna Wright 5 minute read

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More restaurant and supermarket chains have recently implemented free college scholarships and reimbursement programs with reasonable stipulations. In addition to earning a paycheck, hourly employees from select companies can now enjoy access to employee benefits that alleviate out-of-pocket health, vision and dental costs.

Here’s a list of places that offer free college tuition, health, vision, retirement, paid days off and parental leave benefits.

College Health

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Restaurants That Offer College Reimbursements and Scholarships

  • Arby’s
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Chipotle
  • McDonald’s (Staff)
  • McDonald’s Restaurant Crew
  • Starbucks
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy’s

Baristas at Starbucks can now earn their degree 100 percent tuition-free at Arizona State University via online classes. And as a bonus, all those late-night cramming sessions will be fueled by free caffeine, compliments of Starbucks. Learn more about qualifying for this program.

McDonald’s® HACER® National Scholarship awards students who qualify for scholarships from $5,000- $100,000. 

Learn more about scholarships and funding programs at McDonald’s if you meet the following criteria: 

  • Are you a high school senior?
  • Do you have a minimum 2.8 GPA?
  • Do you have one parent of Hispanic heritage?

Most of these restaurant chains are looking to bolster employee loyalty with benefits and higher wages. Chick-fil-A’s hourly wage varies widely depending on which state you reside in. In Florida, the average hourly salary for a kitchen team member is $13.26. Florida’s minimum wage is $11.00 per hour, which will rise to $15.00 before 2026 due to an approved constitutional amendment.

In California, kitchen team members earn approximately $17.00 per hour due to the higher cost of living. California’s minimum wage is $15.00 per hour.

While restaurant chains are trying to raise the employees’ wages above the minimum wage marker, some restaurant chains are still lagging. A team member at Arby’s will receive a 401k, health, dental and vision, plus paid time off, which are great perks.

However, their hourly salary will be comparable to the minimum wage of the team members. A shift manager or restaurant manager is typically paid better than the crew members. As a general manager, you can earn more than $40,000 annually.

Restaurants That Offer Health, Dental, Life insurance and 401K

  • Arby’s
  • Burger King
  • Coffee Bean
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Chipotle
  • Del Taco (Restaurant manager and general manager)
  • McDonald’s (staff)
  • Popeyes
  • Starbucks
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy’s
  • Yoshinoya

Restaurants college health

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Supermarket Chains With the Best Benefits

Target extended its healthcare benefits to employees in 2022. The new plan will include fast 401(k) access, enhanced fertility benefits and acupuncture coverage. Job seekers looking for roles as baristas, cashiers or sales associates can expect to be paid over minimum wage. The pay scale will vary from state to state. Ohio’s minimum wage is $9.30 hourly. A barista at Target will earn approximately $15.00 hourly, depending on experience. According to Indeed.com, a Target store manager’s annual salary is roughly $104,333.

Target extends additional perks to employees, including health, dental, vision, life insurance, 401k and parental time off.

Supermarket Chains That Offer Health, Dental and Vision

  • Publix
  • Safeway
  • Target
  • Vons
  • Walgreens

Supermarkets college health

Walgreens released a statement last year declaring that they will invest in hourly employees by increasing the minimum wage to $15.00.

Walgreens also plans to include bonus payments in their package and already offers employee benefits in health, dental, vision, life insurance, 401k, paid holidays and parental leave.

Supermarket Chains Offering College Reimbursements and Scholarships

  • Publix
  • Kroger
  • Ralph’s
  • CVS
  • Walmart
  • Costco

Supermarkets college health

At Publix, employees working at least 10 hours per week can apply to the tuition reimbursement program with their manager’s approval, and if they have been working for the required 90-day probation period.

The following undergraduate majors are approved for the tuition reimbursement program:

  • Accounting
  • Business administration
  • Business/Data analytics
  • Business management
  • Communications
  • Computer engineering
  • Computer network services
  • Computer programming
  • Computer science
  • Cybersecurity
  • Economics
  • Engineering (Electrical or mechanical)
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • Industrial engineering
  • Information technology
  • Management information systems
  • Marketing/Advertising
  • Pre-pharmacy
  • Public relations
  • Supply chain management

Whether employees looking for a good health, dental and vision benefits package, paid time off or a recent high school graduate needing college tuition assistance, the supermarket and food chain landscape looks brighter for hourly employees. Mid-career employees looking to return to college and earn their degree while working can qualify, too.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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