In-N-Out wages in Tennessee will exceed $44 per hour

Published 4:10 pm Monday, February 20, 2023

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The Center Square

The new In-N-Out Burger regional office in Franklin in suburban Nashville set to open in 2026, will have an average $44.11-per-hour wage for its 277 workers, according to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

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The wage was made public Wednesday at Tennessee’s State Funding Board approved $16 million in incentives for companies expanding or moving to the state including $2.75 million for In-N-Out.

“I am very excited about the In-N-Out headquarters building,” Comptroller and Funding Board Member Jason Mumpower said. “I am more excited about those buildings with the drive-thru.”

In-N-Out will begin opening restaurants in the Nashville area in 2026.

While the state provides an average wage at the new territory office, which will house workers “from operations management to HR and IT,” it compares the numbers to a median wage for all Franklin County workers, $21.53, to justify the incentive. Median takes the middle wage instead of the average, so that outlier salaries such as a company executive, do not skew the rest of the numbers.

The largest incentive approved Wednesday was $9 million for SK Food Group in Cleveland.

SK Food Group plans to spend $205.2 million to build a 525,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for its mobile catering business, this time in Cleveland. The company supplies sandwiches, wraps, snacks, flatbreads, burgers and other protein snacks for branding by corporate customers. The company has promised 840 new jobs and an average wage of $23.50 by 2030.

Starbucks is one vendor that SK Food Group provides food.

The Department of Economic and Community Development announces projects but does not reveal the incentives given to the company’s by the state at the time, instead posting the information within 30 days of an announcement.

In this year’s proposed budget, Gov. Bill Lee has proposed adding $103 million next year to the TNECD for new business incentive grants along with supporting workforce training, marketing, and education. Even larger is the recommendation to add $340 million to the TNECD’s budget for the current fiscal year for new development incentives.

The TNECD said during a budget hearing Tuesday it collected $3 million in clawbacks last year of incentives from companies that did not fulfill their promises of employees or pay. It said that number is lower than most years.