McDonald's Pushing Employees To Be Cheerier

McDonald's friendly employeesIt's hard to be cheery when you're earning minimum wage, but McDonald's is "pushing franchisees" to improve service after complaints about rude employees, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reports that McDonald's execs held a webcast with its franchise owners last month, and noted that more customers are complaining about "rude or unprofessional" employees. "Service is broken," one slide read, according to The Journal's report.

The fast-food giant pays its crew members an average wage of $7.63 an hour -- or $16,000 a year for working 40 hours a week for a year, according to the employer review site That's about on par with other fast food outlets. But fast food service is among the lowest paid, and fastest growing, jobs in the country. While flipping burgers used to be a part-time pocket-change job for teens, it's become a major employer of working families in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that two thirds of fast food workers are female; their median age is 32 years old.

On April 4, the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Fast Food Forward, a coalition of activists and fast food workers, staged the biggest walkout ever of fast food workers in New York. "We are sick and tired of working like this every day," one McDonald's worker told AOL Jobs, noting that he works 30 to 39 hours a week and so doesn't receive benefits. The strikers were demanding raises to $15 an hour, with full-time schedules, so that they get benefits. A spokesperson for McDonald's defended the company's pay scale, saying wages are competitive and that employees have "access to a range of benefits to meet their individual needs."

According to the Wall Street Journal, McDonald's franchisees are taking several actions to improve service, including adding staff at peak hours and trying a new system to take orders. Surveys show that customers consider customer service as important as price, The Journal noted.

Pret A Manger, a fast-growing chain, is known for requiring employees to adopt the genuinely creepy "Pret behaviors": Employees must be "enthusiastic," "genuinely friendly" and "happy to be" themselves, and the chain reportedly sends a "mystery shopper" to each branch to gauge workers' emotional status. If a report comes back that is positive, the worker gets a bonus. If the report is negative, the investigator is likely to name the responsible workers, according to British journalist Paul Myerscough's fascinating piece in the London Review of Books.

Update April 15, 4:00 pm EST: A McDonald's spokesperson said the chain does not "comment on leaked information or information we believe is obtained through unauthorized means."

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Pay ='s a Smile? So if employees act poorly to customers - but get $1 more in their pay with benefits from working the hours necessary - I can get a smile? As a customer - I'm coming into the establishment - handing over my money for a product - and if I PAY more I get a smile? So would the work effort be different? Is that a guarantee? Would the CEO come smile for me when he gets his lower bonus? I'm not responsible for the way a corporation runs it's business - but apparently McDonald's has no lack of workers willing to suffer for it. Can I write to someone? Vote for someone? Do something besides think that you'll spit in my food from now on? (Hey, come on - you can talk to me - I put fly's in microwaves at BK for heaven's sake when idiots complained.) But challenge me because I wanted to have a quick meal? Git up in my face with 'tude? Why? I'd gladly pay more for a McDonald's quarter pounder or Big Mac. I'm on your side! Everyone has a bad day - but if this is endemic to corporate McDonald's or franchise McDonald's (how in heck would I know?) I'll stand by workers if this is the dilemma. I'll pick up a sign for a half hour or so at lunch and walk with workers. But, I may have had a crappy day myself. I fought for what I get paid and continue doing it. Worked my butt off and I need come into a fast food place and have my chit shot off? No. Not right. ~~ Yes, I WILL write to whoever and I WILL have your crappy little job - because - I'll fight for you - but you just twisted my hands when I'm paying what it costs on the sign. You wanna put out cups for tips? Go ahead. But I'll speak with your manager and get the name of the person who WILL take your job from you if the manager themselves can't do it. If you're going to take it out on me and mine - you do that - but I'll do you and you won't even know who it is. Been where you been and a smile is the least of one's worries. "I'll have another paycheck next week Mr.Gas Man - no problem. You don't have to turn off the gas to my hot water heater for my baby!" - Yeah, been there. I'll fight with ya - but not gonna have no one fightin' me and mine for no Big Mac. My **** storm is so much larger than yours. Cause, after all, we're at YOUR job. Not mine. And maybe I'VE HAD A BAD DAY TOO. Hit the RIGHT target - don't be shy. If it's the CEO you want - go at them. Not me or mine. Won't do you no good in the long haul anyways. Makes hundreds of times more than you. Customers aren't the enemy here - at least have the stones to go for the right person(s) - cause a customer needn't complain much and you'd be outta jobs just the same. Or just make sure no one catches ya puttin' a fly in the microwave.;)

July 31 2013 at 5:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Indeed customers aren't the enemy. To get to back to business McDonald's and others have management models that their Founders presented and have well stood the test of time. They didn't just fall out of the sky. Sure, people don't want to pay $12 for a McDonald's hamburger. But look at the alternative. Sitting in a restaurant and waiting for a "Deluxe Burger, with Pickles, Ketchup, Mustard, etc.," they don't want to do that either. So, whether it's the food, service or time - a balance need be struck. Worker's have to find value also - not only the customer - but service is important also - BALANCE. I know when I managed a Burger King - I had so many hours scheduled for labor and I surely worked my butt off myself to make it. I never got paid for those hours I had to put in - but what was I going to say? It was against the law - but my Head Manager found ways of keeping me happy. Idiot that I was. I never cut hours to fit into the benefits - since back then even working 40 hours there were none. Today however, if people desire cheaper food - let them shop for it. But looking at what CEO's make and Return on Equity and Shareholder Equity with all else held equal shows - maybe it's time for those following the FOUNDERS to realize they can do with less in order to get MORE. More customer service seeing's that at fast food SERVICE is much more important than at say,...Walmart, et al. Hungry folk don't want to feel challenged just to get a Whopper Jr. Meal for their daughter or son. But they can't get one at Walmart or their local car dealership can they? They don't like your 'tude' - they'll find a way to placate little Suzie or Johnny and bye-bye BK or Mickey D's. Long before prices have to be raised to pay employees the same as "other's in the industry" - since it all sucks - as if "INDUSTRY" is the active adjective here - try looking at the FOUNDERS lead. If it's so HARD to keep a CEO at 400 X's what the FACE appearing to the customer is - perhaps it's time for a new CEO? Or like Dunkin' Donut's ya could try putting a cup on the counter for tips? Yeah, like that's kosher customer service.

July 31 2013 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't expect a ******* smile, they're working in McDonnalds for Gods sake. They are probably hot, embarrassed, and have been working hard to serve ******* customers all day. As long as they are polite, I don't expect them to be happy. Nor do I want some fake smile when I go to stuff my face with heart-attack inducing shitfood.

April 26 2013 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Will's comment

So,...what are you saying Will? You don't go to fast food places then? Or not often? Or since you're so ready to pig out - you'd go back and make your own "heart-attack inducing **** food" if they got up in your face with your kids standing right there for a "Happy Meal" and be glad for it? Let us all know what you REALLY feel. Guess you just setcher self up here and let it all out instead of letting them know how you feel? Like spit with your food? Let 'em know here since it's all cool with you HERE yet not there. I'd like to be the one behind you in line puttin' up with it as brave as you are here not caring how they give it to ya. "Did you say you wanted cheese on that Will? Tough nuts. Have a nice day!"

July 31 2013 at 4:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

McDonald's simply needs to make sure their employees speak English. I will no longer visit a McDonalds beacuse I am sick and tired of the staff all speaking to each other in Spanish. I don't know if they are speaking to me, speaking about me, or talking about my order. I think its rude and unprofessional and I will not put myself or my family in this position again. If your in the USA I think it should be EXPECTED that you are all speaking english.

April 22 2013 at 7:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to allenconsulting's comment

Yo allen - there are more Spanish speakers in America than English speakers. Up to you - but you're going to have a hard time of it soon. It may be rude - but if you don't like it there's always an alternative.

July 31 2013 at 4:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Teresa Minton

I know one thing... We are all struggling in one way or another...So people need to stick together. These company's that treat their employees like crap should NOT get our business!!! If you cannot treat my family,friends, sisters and brothers with dignity and respect then YOU WON'T BE GETTING ANY OF MY HARD EARNED MONEY!!! So the companies listed here will NEVER see me darken their doorsteps... SAY NO TO DILLARD'S, ROSS, RADIO SHACK,SAVEMART AND ESPECIALLY THE HARDASS, CHEAP, RUDE AND DISTRUSTING OWNERS AT FOREVER 21!!!

April 20 2013 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mastecoupons Moneyma

you can never make a black worker smile no matter how much you pay them because they think they are entitled to everything. Do like chic fil a and hire white and you will get a smile and hard working people who earn there wages.

April 18 2013 at 10:54 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mastecoupons Moneyma's comment

I am a black worker who works hard, smiles and shows kindness to others all the time, and customers can still be cruel. Some are just as nice, but there are good black employees out there!

April 19 2013 at 6:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Wow what a pretty sad comment. I most certainly don't act like I'm entitled to anything.

I work hard where I am now and I always exhibit fast and friendly service to all my customers. The only thing that could ruin my day, as is with most retail workers are the extremely rude and self-important customers that walk in and demand everything and anything under the sun.

Don't group all of us in the same category just because you saw a few incidents.

April 20 2013 at 1:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Money McNubb

I hope they install that at my local McDs

April 18 2013 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Living Legend

Right...and they also want them to be smart enough to know how to give change.

April 18 2013 at 9:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Fine, cheerier attitudes would be a plus....but how about teaching some of them how to count. As far as pay is concerned, from some of the posts, it would seem that many would be willing to pay $1 more for a big Mac, so the worker could make more money....or would they?

April 18 2013 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

pay your people some decent money maybe you wouldn't have to force a smile from them

April 18 2013 at 6:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment
Della Jean

...absolutely ..

April 22 2013 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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