- Jason Cabrera, 19, is the new general manager of a Layne's Chicken Fingers in Texas, earning $50,000.
- Cabrera has bought a new Dodge Charger Scat Pack and is saving up to buy his parents a house.
- He can now eat at nice restaurants and regularly attend Texas Rangers baseball games, he said.
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Jason Cabrera started out buttering toast and washing dishes for $9.25-an-hour at a Texas fast food chain in 2018 – and now earns $50,000 as a general manager, after being promoted just one week after his 19th birthday.
Garrett Reed, the CEO of Layne's Chicken Fingers, told Insider in a separate interview that the industry-wide labor shortage had pushed him to promote three workers aged 18 or 19 to manager positions earlier this year, including Cabrera.
Cabrera's annual salary far exceeds the $28,860 that the average 16 to 19-year-old can expect to make, per US Labor Department data – and it also doesn't include any performance-linked bonuses he might receive throughout the year.
Cabrera told Insider that his biggest expense since starting his new job was a Dodge Charger Scat Pack 2020, which he has been paying off in $1,360 monthly instalments.
"I plan on paying it off by next year. All my money I get, I really just throw it at my car. Not upgrading or whatnot, just paying it off," he said.
Cabrera said that his new salary has also allowed him to eat out at nice restaurants, and attend concerts.
"I really didn't have the option of going out as much as I do now," he said.
In particular, Cabrera enjoys attending baseball games after work to see his favorite team, the Texas Rangers, in action. His new paycheck means he can do this far more regularly.
"I would only go to one game a season but now I go to like 12 games a season," he said.
He said that he still lives with his parents rent-free, five minutes away from the restaurant, and they often stop by to check on him when he works double shifts.
"My goal is to eventually hopefully buy them a house," he said. "I'd love to do that for them."
When he told his parents last year that he did not plan on going to college, they were initially upset, Cabrera said. But this decision has "paid off a year later," he said, referring to his new manager role.
"They're proud, you know, they're not going too crazy over it, but they're pretty happy about it," he said.
Cabrera also estimates that it could take five years to save up enough money to open a franchise.
"If I'm smart with my money, which I have been, I'll probably get there real quick," he said.
Cabrera's new role involves managing 22 people, checking their payroll, calculating inventory, and dealing with suppliers, among other tasks.
He embraces this responsibility: "Just knowing that anything that happens inside of that store is on me. Anything that goes wrong, anything that goes right, it all comes back to me," he said.