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Living the fast food dream: Why one Montana woman stuck with Wendy's for 30 years

bentz, bonnie.jpg
Posted at 8:52 AM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 10:52:38-05

BILLINGS – Thirty years is a long time for anything, but what about holding down the same job for three decades?

That’s exactly what one Billings woman has done while working at the Wendy’s restaurant on Grand Avenue.

Her name is Bonnie Bentz.

Bentz says she wouldn’t trade her job for the world.

“You’ve got to love your job and your management,” said Bentz.

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Bonnie Bentz

No other words have been truer in today’s economy.

Jonna Jones, the director of marketing for Wentana, the Wendy's franchise owner in Billings, says hiring these days is hard.

“We need people to come and show up to work,” she said. “We are definitely feeling employee shortages, staffing shortages.”

That’s why seeing Bentz’s work ethic is so refreshing.

“That work ethic she has is almost unbelievable,” she said. “Thirty years it's almost unheard of.”

But she adds, Wendy’s has a good list of benefits to offer a potential worker.

Nationally, the hourly wage for a fast-food worker across the country sits somewhere near $12 an hour. But a recent job listing for Wendy’s offers as much as $16.

However, there are people still looking for work in town too.

Of Yellowstone County’s 88,000-person workforce, 2,100 hundred are unemployed. That leaves employers like Wendy’s trying to entice those still looking for work.

And when it comes to those benefits, Bentz knows all too well the perks.

“My middle daughter had her twins they were born premature,” she said. “They put me on automatic pay at least in formal vacation,” said Bentz.

And that work ethic helps too.

“You've got to have it instilled in you when you're younger. My mom was a single mom, worked three jobs to take care of us kids,” she said.

At 62 years young, Bentz says she’s not sure when she’ll hang up her apron and call it quits, but one thing is for sure.

“I’d miss my customers too much,” said Bentz.

So she’s willing to keep at it and hope others will start on this career path too.

Related: Is restaurant staffing better in Billings, or is this the new norm?