- Jason Cabrera, 19, earns $50,000 a year and manages 22 people at Layne’s Chicken Fingers in Texas.
- The Laynes CEO said he had appointed three teenage managers this year amid the labor shortage.
- Cabrera said some customers were “shocked” by her young age. Here’s what his day looks like.
Jason Cabrera became the manager of a Texas fast food restaurant just a week after his 19th birthday. He started buttering toast and washing dishes for $9.25 an hour, and now earns $50,000 a year in his starring role.
Cabrera, who joined the Allen branch of Layne’s Chicken Fingers in late 2018, took the job in January as a severe labor shortage prompted the restaurant’s CEO to promote three of his teenage employees to managers.
The young manager walked Insider through his average workday, from making a batch of lemonade at 8 a.m. to checking in with some of the 22 employees he manages.
At 8 a.m., Cabrera enters the restaurant before his team arrives and prepares a large batch of lemonade for the customers.
By 10:30 a.m., all team members have arrived — Cabrera typically handles about eight per shift — and the restaurant is open for its first customers.
Cabrera said managing 22 people, all between the ages of 16 and 21, forced him to mature quickly.
“When I started working, I was still a young, fun-loving boy,” he said. “That was the problem. I had too much fun but I guess as I got into the role and so on, I matured so quickly without really realizing it.”
From 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Cabrera is constantly on the move, checking in with his team and tending to guests.
When asked if he finds it tiring to be on his feet all day, Cabrera said he “didn’t feel anything” because he was “really young”.
“Probably once I, you know, start getting older, I’ll start having back issues,” he said.
On Tuesdays, when Layne’s offers a range of meal deals, including discounts of up to 20%, the restaurant is usually busier.
Cabrera said he particularly enjoys these days because he can interact with more guests.
“It’s something I look forward to every week,” he said. “I really like seeing our parking lot filled with a bunch of cars.”
Cabrera said he enjoys dealing with “shocked” customers who ask to see the manager and don’t expect to see “a 19-year-old running a whole store.” Several customers have asked him his age.
“I love seeing the reaction. It’s really funny,” he said. “They start complimenting me and just letting me know, hey man, when I was your age I wasn’t doing any of that stuff.”
At 3 p.m., Cabrera retires to the restaurant’s office to do paperwork, which includes calculating labor costs, ordering inventory, and tallying sales and turnaround times..
“I calculate these numbers every week. So next week we have our company meetings here at the office and we go over those numbers,” he said.
Cabrera said he recently spent much of his time trying to recruit workers. Garrett Reed, CEO of Layne, previously told Insider that he raised shift supervisor wages by 17% to $14 an hour to attract applicants amid labor shortages at the company. industry scale.
At 4 p.m., Cabrera hands over to a team leader and often goes to see a baseball game.
After work, Cabrera watches the Texas Rangers in action. His new salary means he can do it much more regularly.
“I would only go to one game per season, but now I like 12 games per season,” he said.
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Cabrera said he was saving part of his $50,000 annual salary to buy his parents a house and eventually open his own Layne franchise.
“If I’m smart with my money, which I have been,” he said. “I’ll probably get there very soon.”