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Restaurants that hire at 16

If you’re 16 years old and looking for a first job, you may feel like your options are limited. Most companies require job applicants to be at least 18 years old, but there are plenty of restaurants that hire at age 16 or younger teenagers. Here’s a look at just some of the chains that hire for teens jobs in the United States.

Fast Food Chains

Burger King

One of the leading fast-food restaurants in the United States, Burger King hires Team Members at age sixteen. Team Members may work the counter and drive-through. Burger King offers a flexible schedule as well as the Burger King Scholars program, which provides financial assistance for employees who plan to attend a college or university. Find and apply for available teen jobs on the Burger King Careers site.


With locations worldwide, McDonald’s is synonymous with fast food. The chain hires Crew Members who are sixteen years old to take orders, prepare and deliver food, and keep the restaurant clean. McDonald’s offers competitive pay, flexible scheduling, training and advancement opportunities, and employee rewards. Employees can also benefit from the Archways to Opportunity program, which provides opportunities to complete high school, work toward completing college, and meet with college and career advisors. Find out more and look for available positions on McDonalds’ career page.


Chick-fil-a takout bag
Chick-Fil-A in a park.

With over 2,600 locations in the United States, Chick-Fil-A is one of the country’s biggest fast-food restaurant chains. Serving chicken sandwiches, Chick-Fil-A is known for its unique corporate culture, which includes being closed on Sundays. The minimum age to work at the restaurant is sixteen, and no experience is required. Team members will be responsible for taking orders and ensuring quality food presentation. Applicants should be available to work at least fifteen hours a week. In addition to having Sundays off, employees access to college scholarships and flexible scheduling. Available positions are listed on the Chick-Fil-A Careers site.


Wendy’s is the third-largest fast-food chain in the world, with over 6,700 locations internationally (most of which are in North America). Wendy is popular for its square hamburgers and the Frosty. At age sixteen, teens can apply for a Crew Member position, which is cross-trained to work in several different areas of the restaurant. Wendy’s employees enjoy flexible schedules, growth opportunities, a casual dress code, and a fun working environment. Find and apply for open positions on the Wendy’s Careers site.


If you’ve ever driven through or lived in the southern United States, odds are you’ve been near a Whataburger. Specializing in hamburgers, Whataburger has over 670 locations. The minimum age to join as a Restaurant Team Member is sixteen, and the chain provides competitive pay, meal discounts, scholarship programs, and career growth opportunities. Apply on the Whataburger Careers site.

Fast Casual

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle is a popular fast-casual Mexican restaurant with locations throughout the United States. The restaurant chain hires team members who are sixteen years of age for duties like dishwasher, cashier, host, or cook. Chipotle offers its team members some great perks, including up to 100% tuition assistance, free food, training, and advancement opportunities, and paid time off. With hiring opportunities nation-wide and no experience required, Chipotle is a great option for a first job. You can browse job opportunities on the Chipotle Jobs page.

Raising Cane’s

With locations scattered throughout the country, Raising Cane’s offers high-quality chicken meals with a limited menu. The restaurant hires crewmembers at age sixteen for counter or kitchen positions. Counter employees take orders and process payments. Kitchen positions prepare and serve food. Raising Cane’s offers employees flexible scheduling and casual attire. Bonus – the restaurant is closed on major holidays :-). Find out more and apply for available positions on their Jobs page.

Del Taco

Offering American-style Mexican options made fresh, Del Taco has 580 locations in the western and southern United States. Most locations are in California. Del Taco hires sixteen-year-olds to take orders, collect a payment, and help clean the restaurant. All team members can participate in career development programs, and the chain boasts a people-driven culture. Employees also enjoy a casual dress code at work as well as flexible scheduling. Find out more and apply for available positions on Del Taco’s Careers site.


Subway is an internationally-recognized brand offering fresh sub sandwiches and wraps. With locations throughout the United States, the odds are good that there’s a Subway restaurant near you. Many Subway locations are franchised, so hiring requirements will vary based on state laws. But Subway does hire at sixteen where it is legal to do so. Employees are responsible for taking orders and preparing sandwiches. Through the Subway Pathway program, employees can build their careers with development and training opportunities. Apply for open positions on the Subway Careers site.

Noodles and Company

Noodles and Company has 455 locations scattered throughout the United States, mostly in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The restaurant offers noodle dishes, pasta, soups, and salads. Sixteen-year-olds can apply to work as a cashier. Noodles and Company offers competitive pay, flexible scheduling, employee discounts, and advancement opportunities. Apply for available positions on the Noodles and Company Career Search page.

Casual Dining

On the Border

On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina has more than 150 locations throughout the United States and hires sixteen-year-old employees as bussers. On the Border offers a fun, creative work environment with opportunities to grow in your position. You can apply on the Career Opportunities page.

Red Lobster

Red Lobster is one of the world’s major casual seafood restaurants, with more than 700 locations worldwide. Sixteen-year-olds can apply to be a Service Assistant, providing front-of-house help by pre-bussing tables, stocking service stations, seating guests, and assisting servers as needed. Red Lobster offers employees access to its RL Cares program designed to help employees who are faced with unplanned expenses, as well as the opportunity to give back to food banks and food shelters throughout the United States. Apply for jobs on the Red Lobster Jobs page.

Stonefire Grill

Stonefire Grill is scattered throughout California and hires bussers at age sixteen. Bussers are responsible for cleaning tables and enjoy a fun and family-oriented corporate culture. Apply for positions on the Careers page.


Applebee’s is a popular casual dining chain offering American food, including riblets and burgers. Applebees hires at sixteen for host/hostess positions in the restaurant. Employees receive flexible scheduling, growth opportunities, and the stability of working for a well-established brand. Apply at the Applebee’s Careers page.

Olive Garden

Olive Garden is one of America’s leading casual dining chains, offering Italian food at locations throughout the United States. The chain hires at sixteen for busser positions and offers weekly pay, flexible schedules, meal discounts, and ongoing training and development opportunities. Anniversary bonus, cellphone discounts, and paid sick leave are also available. Apply at the Olive Garden jobs page.

Coffee Shops


Starbucks is by far the world’s largest coffee shop. The chain has thousands of locations throughout the United States and hires baristas at age sixteen. The chain is known for the perks it offers employees, including paid time off, 100% college tuition coverage, and a free pound of coffee every week. Apply for available positions on the Starbucks Careers site.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Pink glazed Donut in hand

Dunkin’ Donuts has a variety of coffee and pastry products and is scattered throughout the country. Sixteen-year-olds can apply as a Crew Member, performing basic duties like taking orders, making change, and cleaning the restaurant. Employees receive food discounts, flexible hours, and training and development opportunities. Apply online at the Dunkin’ Donuts Careers page.

Caribou Coffee

Scattered throughout the United States, Caribou Coffee offers a wide array of coffee beverages and breakfast food. Team Members can be sixteen years of age, and employees enjoy development opportunities, employee discounts, and paid volunteer time of up to eight hours a year. Apply at Caribou Coffee’s Careers site.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a unique chain with over 1,000 locations in the United States offering quality coffee and tea. Baristas can be sixteen years of age, and employees enjoy a fun corporate culture, member discounts, and professional growth opportunities. Apply at the chain’s Careers page.

Tierra Mia Coffee

Tierra Mia Coffee operates locations throughout California and hires at age sixteen for Barista positions. Applicants can fill out and submit an application on the chain’s website. As a locally-owned chain, employees enjoy local management and family culture.

Finding teens jobs doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are many restaurant jobs that make a great first job or a stepping stone for a teen who’s interested in a career in the service industry!

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