McDonald's Pushing Employees To Be Cheerier
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 Glassdoor.com. 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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