Smoothie King is a popular smoothie franchise with over 1,300 locations across the United States and internationally. Many young people are interested in working at Smoothie King due to the fun, fast-paced environment and opportunity to earn income while still in high school or college. However, there are regulations regarding the minimum age to work at Smoothie King that prospective employees should be aware of.
Federal Child Labor Laws
In the United States, the minimum age to work is governed by federal child labor laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum age for employment and restricts the hours worked by minors under the age of 16. Under federal law, the general minimum age to work is 14 years old. However, there are additional restrictions on the types of work 14- and 15-year-olds can perform.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 14- and 15-year-olds may work in food service establishments, but their duties are limited. Permissible jobs include:
- Bussing tables
- Wrapping silverware
- Dispensing napkins
- Cleaning and wiping down tables and chairs
However, 14- and 15-year-olds are prohibited from performing any cooking duties or operating heavy machinery such as blenders. They also cannot work during school hours, and their total hours are capped at 3 hours per school day and 18 hours per school week. During summer break, they may work up to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
State Child Labor Laws
In addition to federal regulations, individual U.S. states have their own child labor laws that may be stricter. These state laws can affect the minimum age requirements and hours limitations for minors working at Smoothie King locations.
For example, the state of Massachusetts prohibits 14- and 15-year-olds from operating any power-driven machinery, while the state of Wisconsin limits their total hours to 3 hours per school day on school days. Smoothie King franchise owners must abide by both federal and their specific state laws regarding child labor.
Smoothie King Internal Policies
Beyond complying with federal and state labor regulations, Smoothie King franchises may set their own internal minimum age hiring policies. These policies can vary from one location to another.
Some Smoothie King franchises only hire workers who are 16 years or older. This is the company’s recommended minimum age, as 16-year-olds are not restricted in the same ways as 14- and 15-year-olds under federal child labor laws. For example, 16-year-olds may legally operate blenders and other kitchen machinery integral to making smoothies.
Many Smoothie King locations only employ workers 18 or older. At age 18, there are no longer any federal or state-imposed restrictions on the number of hours worked. This gives Smoothie King franchises the most flexibility in scheduling workers.
Ultimately, the youngest age a teen can work at Smoothie King depends on the following factors:
- Federal child labor laws
- Applicable state child labor laws
- Internal policies at each franchise location
The typical minimum age is 16 or older, but some locations may hire workers as young as 14 or 15 within the constraints of child labor regulations.
Working at Smoothie King as a Young Employee
For teens interested in working at Smoothie King, the earliest they may typically begin employment is at age 16. However, each franchise owner can choose to set their own entry-level age minimum, so long as it complies with federal and state laws.
Here are some tips for beginning work at Smoothie King as a young employee:
- Check your state’s child labor laws to understand restrictions on working hours based on age.
- Bring a work permit if required for 14- or 15-year-olds in your state.
- Understand that operating blenders or other equipment may be prohibited before age 16.
- Ask the franchise owner about their specific minimum age policy.
- Inquire about job duties to ensure they are compliant for your age group.
- Prepare for customer service tasks like working the cash register or taking orders.
Working at Smoothie King as a teenager can be a fun first job opportunity. With some preparation regarding state and franchise policies, qualified candidates can gain skills in food services, operations, and customer interaction – along with earning a paycheck!
The youngest age an individual can work at Smoothie King depends on federal child labor law, state regulations, and the internal hiring policies of each franchise location. While some sites hire employees as young as 14 or 15, the minimum age is more commonly 16 or older due to federal restrictions prohibiting younger teens from operating blenders and other restaurant machinery integral to making smoothies. Candidates should research state and local Smoothie King age policies but typically must be at least 16 years old to land a job making refreshing, nutritious beverages for customers.