My! - a little about my experience - I was(still am?) a loser high school sort of drop out, who started out with a part time job at the Golden Arches in a small New England town, and later moved way south to a suburb of a major metro area.

I worked my way up through the McD's ranks - from crew person to general manager. This was 99% with a franchisee - I started in late 90s, and left a time or two. I remained with them, for the most part, for the greater part of 15 years. I tremble saying that.

The experiences I went through were interesting, I suppose. I like to tell myself that I got promoted because I was the best, but probably I was just there long enough. I did, however, go through McDonald's transition to the Made for You system 15 years or so ago, saw many sandwiches come, go and die, watched them do stupid things from a store view. I ran several stores that were about to be repossessed by the McDonald's Corporation, and kept that from happening (this, in particular, will kill you, and there is no reward), watched a sexual harassment case that startled me, fought the labor board, fended off ravenous health inspectors. Fun times.

I know, or at least I think I know, quite a bit at the store level. Or did. Do. Sometimes. There is a ton I don't know - my focus was a grunt store manager making others a bit of money. A lot of money to us poor wage slaves.

Here's my proof -

Hope that linked up well - I certainly can't compete with the importance of some our more distinguished guests (Dawkins, have you ever had a Shamrock Shake?), but here I am.

My Proof: Enter link here

Comments: 105 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

brandonsmash68 karma

I see that you have a Bachelor's degree in Hamburgerology. How did you arrive at that discipline over, say, Nugget-American Studies?

McLeanDeluxe31 karma

This made me laugh so terribly. McDonald's University in Oak Brook was an interesting experience. My disdain follows to that degree. But everyone I show it to cracks up, so I did get that out of it.

Cloud_of_Twat_Mist24 karma

You talk about your time with McDonald's with almost a disdain. Did you just become complacent and roll with it? Why did you stay for so long if you didn't really enjoy it? I'm quitting my current stable job because I fear exactly this happening.

McLeanDeluxe38 karma

There's a lot of disdain. I enjoyed aspects of the job; I was very good at it. I had kids. I needed money. They always paid me just enough to not flee, worked me hard enough to not have the energy to go looking, and, frankly, I didn't (and sometimes still don't) know how to find something better.

My bosses have always known I hated the job. Always.

I work in retail now because it's not so bad, and because I'm a single father. I'm almost 40; my youngest is now 16. Is it too late to find something else, is it too late to run? Am I now stuck in this forever?

I did several other things, but never gained enough skillz to do anything else. I did attend a university for about 4 years. It wasn't enough to get my degree; I'm about 80 hours in with a 3.9 GPA. I moved, so I just established residency and am about to start a state school. Wish me luck.

If you have the option to leave, do so. I didn't feel I had that option with a family. Maybe I did.

ThatSubstanceD8 karma

I hope for the best in every regard my friend, as long as you keep trucking, life ends up, in a very fucked up, roundabout sorta way, that if u give out love, u receive love, not from who you want, but from who u deserve, and probably have some sort of affection for as well. Overall , through the act of bettering yourself, you are doing the best you can for every last person on this rock. Keep going man, we all have fairly insignificant roles to play on the physical level. However, that is transient, well t least what is told to me, that we are only here for seemingly a flash, which may feel like an eternity at some points, yet we are still animated for a reason, once that reason is up. Cya, truck or cancer or something, sadly, the only certains are life and death, cause I'm certain you have thought about fucking the IRS.

Don't know u, but feel for you, how u get out of the chicken coop Mclean, can do a lot for a lot. Trust me. Or don't, hope it works out either way man !

McLeanDeluxe5 karma

thanks, man.

muthafuckenkatlaydee11 karma

What's your opinion on unionizing fast food workers and the fight for fifteen?

Related to that, does McDonalds have specific anti-Union training for managers?

McLeanDeluxe24 karma

Unionize. It's needed. I support it. There are aspects I wouldn't like, I bet, but the overall gains would be worth it. There are many, many arguments "paramedics only make 12 bucks an hour and they save lives". But my thought is that if you are willing to work, why shouldn't you be able to live? We aren't all suited to do more, but can all contribute, and we shouldn't piss on those who are willing to contrinute.

In my time there was no anti-union training. But I worked in a southern state. I had the right to work! Unions aren't going to have a shot. McDs does have their anti-union squads, but I've never met anyone from them.

muthafuckenkatlaydee4 karma

Thank you for your response! While trying to organize protests for fast food workers in my state we were kicked out of a few places by gm's so it's nice to know there is management out there that is pro-Union.

McLeanDeluxe8 karma

Good luck. You're needed.

Desparia10 karma

What's your weirdest experience, if you can pick one?

Also, Have you seen the Hamburgler?

McLeanDeluxe35 karma

My lord. Weird. Well. Ok. I walked in on two employees having sex in the bathroom. I asked them to remember to stock the lids, and I left. Oh, having to do a disciplinary on that. Why didn't they at least close the stall?

Ever seen one of those huge McD's clamshell grills? I watched a manager plug one in (fucking huge voltage) standing in a huge puddle of water. She went to the hospital. You can't protect some people.

I was in work one day and large woman began speaking in tongues to the lord. She ran around for about 20 minutes doing this. It was incredible. Meanwhile all the customers are staring at me like I'm supposed to jump this woman and hold her down or something.

Appalling? A manager, who was besties with the owner, dated a 15 year old girl for 4 years (she didn't remain 15 for all of those years, though) and it was pretty much ok. He was 28? I think?

Sad? I watched one of my closest mentors go blind, another have heart attack after heart attack (and the owners would get pissed at him because he'd leave early when he'd have chest pains). I watched a friend who had been in the industry for 30 years die on the floor in the grill. She was a great person. It hurt.

I've been the Hamburglar.

Cloud_of_Twat_Mist7 karma

Your McDonald's sounds like one in a movie.

McLeanDeluxe5 karma

It wouldn't be that great of a movie.

ahab_2 karma

You write really well. No questions right now, just wanted to say that.


McLeanDeluxe1 karma

Thanks. I reread some of the things I posted and every grammar and punctuation error I've made leaps out at me.

Desparia1 karma

Wow!! Thank you so much for sharing all this.

McLeanDeluxe2 karma

Thank you for being interested. There's some really impressive people who post AMAs. That's intimidating, to say the least.

leclittoris-1 karma

Did you get a boner from the two employees going at it? I kinda did reading it

McLeanDeluxe2 karma

I've seen better...or worse...or more bonerific.

guccilewis10 karma

About how much money do you make in that profession?

McLeanDeluxe21 karma

As I left I made about 45ish and was able to earn a bonus. I realized that was never going to happen because the owner was not going to be able to afford it. The stores were barely holding it together, and similar to how us employees had to pay our rents, the owner had to pay his rent, as well as he had to pay loans on all these stores.

You can see the V12 Mercedes they drove up in from the drive thru window.

ScruffMcgruff606921 karma

Cant pay its bills or bonus but has a V12 Mercedes? Sounds like a bit of sarcasm.

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

Perhaps a little.

LOL-ocaust1 karma

$45/ hour, or $45k/year? It's gotta be the latter, right?

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

If it were the former I'd bite my lip and still be there.

cabrafilo1 karma

I worked at a ridiculously busy McDonalds and made $12 an hour in 1995, when the minimum wage was $4.25. I was just a regular crew person as well, the managers did very well. The work was intense though, on weekends from 11:30 to 3:00 the place was filled with people (it was in a busy outlet mall outside NYC). It was great money for a 17 year old kid, the owner was a great guy.

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

That's incredible. That's 30 bucks an hour in today's money.

baddozer9 karma

Could you expand on the sexual harassment case? Or at least explain what was startling about it?

McLeanDeluxe44 karma

Sure. I was working for an McDonald's Operator. This operator was a very, very long time operator. We're talking about knew Ray Kroc during the early years. He has a younger wife, who has a son. The son works for them in a manager capacity. A lowly manager (they know better than to go any higher with him). This young man (sort of) is a sociopath. I say that without reservation. I say that knowing the term is overused, misused, tossed about.

He sleeps with anything and anyone he can. Usually, this isn't a huge, huge deal. The owners are very involved in their stores, they sort of try to hold him in check (mom's an enable, step-dad/owner deals with it because of mom. Think Cersei, GoT style, and I don't really exaggerate).
Well, he meets this single mom who works for them(she's 18, he's 28) and they sleep together. Despite having a kid at an early age, the girl is not stupid and is getting her stuff together. She does, however, date him, bang him, realizes he's nuts, breaks up. He goes off the deep end. He's not used to this behavior at all, and goes crazy that someone is not playing by his rules in his backyard. You know those super blatant sexual harassment videos everyone has to see? The one's where you think "no one is that stupid, maybe 30 years ago, sure, but no one actually does those things so...blatantly". Every damned one, and I kid you not. Texting, calling, stalking, cutting her hours, sending her home 5 minutes after she's arrived at work. It was terrible. I talk to mamma owner; she says back off, she'll handle. Ok. It gets worse. Two weeks later, I talk to mamma owner; she says back off, she'll handle. Ok.

The girl is coming to me crying every day. The girl won't just quit (she does need the job, and this is when unemployment was bad. Even McDs is better than nothing). And mom wants her gone.

Mamma owner starts harassing her - with the son. I can't tell you how sick to your stomach you get when you see this. I just can't. I advise mom - "As your store manager(I'm right below her in whatever authority level this farce had), I advise you to transfer her to your other store, away from your son. You are in a bad legal way with this".
Mom doesn't like this advice (or me, really, we butted heads.., and she's not the type to be ok with that). She refuses, tells me to fire her.

The girl come's to a manager for advice. That manager advised her to talk to a lawyer.

Her lawyer and I sat down. I wasn't going to lie for people like them(perhaps lie for better, people, but not for people like them).

Girl won the case. I'm not sure what she got; a decent settlement, I'm sure. The owners have quite a bit of wealthy, 50 million or so, I was told. I stayed out of it after talking to her lawyer and haven't talked to her in four years. Just seemed wiser.

floridavet9 karma

You mention in one reply that you would never earn a bonus because the store owner couldn't afford it and the stores were barely hanging on. You also mention multiple times that wages should be raised for the employees. How do you rectify those two opposing thoughts? If they can't pay one manager a bonus how could the franchise support substantial wage increases across the board and still stay in business?

McLeanDeluxe20 karma

I also mentioned how I could see the owner's Mercedes V-12 from the drive thru window. I had been to his and his children's houses several times. I knew they had each got there trust fund with over a million dollars each at the age of 40.

They had the money.

As far as bonus, the owner would spend hours explaining the bonus program to us, and then we'd never earn it, because it was fucking impossible to understand. Starship Bistromath type shit "across a waiter's pad the numbers dance".

In my case, I was put in broken stores for 4 years running. I worked stores that were about to be repossessed. There was no earning a bonus in those stores. I was in a permanent bind. I would be expected to turn operations around, do so, and then be assigned to a new store to do the same. I probably could have pushed for a premium for doing this, but when I realized that I had been taken total advantage of, I left.

They have the money. They lie. The powerful have the money. They lie. They are lying to you, to me, to each other.

kyled85-5 karma

so then these stores were not "barely hanging on"?

McLeanDeluxe2 karma

They were not operating at full potential, not at all. The stores I was assigned were stores that were about to be repossessed by the corporation for very, very poor operations. They still made money - only one store I worked in didn't make money, and that store was brand spanking new. But losing a store to the IPUR/F process meant some serious issues for operator income, and, worse, made o/o's ineligible for rewrites (renewing the franchisee agreement on existing stores).

The store that didn't make money? They thought it was going to do about 2.8 million a year; the first year didn't gross half a million. The GM at the time was a friend of the owner/operator, and they let him run it for too long. He was awful and lazy to begin with. My rants on him would be depressing (he stole a lot of the manuals I wrote for new managers for some of the new tech. Didn't find that out til much, much later).

He was spending money hand over fist on labor. This store was part of a llc that had the store I was in, and my store was paying for that store to stay open. They switched me over. We were good 3 weeks later. We weren't making shit for money, but we breaking even.

jessisgonz7 karma

What is your opinion at the level of work expected at McD's and on increasing minimum wage?

McLeanDeluxe8 karma

McD's is like any shit job. You are going to work hard, and you are going to work long, and you are not going to better yourself unless you hit the jackpot and become an operator.

As a basic crew person, you cannot support yourself on that income. In fact; it's getting worse. I'm sure many redditors have seen the farcical budget McDs came out with a couple or so years back. Operators, as they have with all of the service industries, have cut hours in response to Obamacare (28/24 hours or less. I got that notice from Corporate, the franchisee, meetings, etc). One operator I worked for was very smart; they own two McDs, and both are separate businesses. If they really like you, you get to work 40 hours and one restaurant and 40 at the other(people do this. Seriously). If not, you get 25 at one and 25 at the other. Nice, huh? I wish I could find the emails, I've been gone 3ish years and I deleted many due to utter rejection. But this was advised by McD corp. There's always been a gentlemen's agreement between McD's operators that they wouldn't poach from each other's stores. The memo we got was the operators should start working together so people could get hours without anyone becoming full time. Nice, huh?

Most managers are step above, and by step above, I mean a step below. Flex time (I could explain that, you'd be horrified). Salary was set at 24k, and they would get as many as feasible under that umbrella (again, utilizing flex time) as they could.

Raising Minimum wage is necessary (until every job is automated and we all get a guaranteed state income!). As best as I've been able to observe, McD's has become more and more labor dependent as the years go by. When I started, you could run the grill area on 3 people who were very good, 4 or so on high volume. When I left, 8 were needed on high volume. In the late 60s/early 70s/80s (I think, I wasn't alive yet for those times) McDonald's was a trailblazer for coloreds and homemakers(on the videos). But really, you could hire minorities at far cheaper rates than white men...really.

The threatening "automation" of McDonald's is needed, but still funny. How many times does the shake machine go down, and that's a simple machine. But they'll do it. And with most of the store automated, the store will probably have the right amount of payroll where they give decent service and don't rape society. Well, not really. They'll always look and find a way to do that.

SpiderPigUK3 karma

What are you doing now?

McLeanDeluxe11 karma

I work in retail, now. Imagine that being an improvement, but it is. I manage a book store in one of the larger book corporations.

PearIJam3 karma

Are they going to bring the MC DLT back? And what about the Arch Deluxe?

McLeanDeluxe2 karma

Sure, they largely did, the McDLT is basically the Big and Tasty. But in Styrofoam! Which they won't do again. The Arch Deluxe. We had to wear stupid little buttons that said "if you don't like it, I'll eat it". I liked the Arch Deluxe. It was supposed to bring a grown up feel to McDonald's, since McDs largely catered to children...which they should have kept doing. Customers did not like the Arch Deluxe; I'd be shocked if you ever saw it again.

SpreadItLikeReddit3 karma

Why arent you a dm/aom by now?

McLeanDeluxe5 karma

I frequently have spoken my mind - if I didn't think something was right, I'd say something. I was frequently spoken to about moving to DM. Plus, I could perform. You generally don't waste talent by putting them in an unnecessary position.

I had to fix stores DMs and their GMs messed up. That's not a conceit or shifting responsibility from myself for that ceiling of sorts. I chiefly worked for a 12 store operator. Four of their stores went into something called the IPUR process. We called that the "F" process. It's an intense, horrible experience and it sucks out your soul. I did that process 3 times; my second time was a major reason my marriage failed. I wasn't capable of working 70 hour weeks, taking 9 hours of college credits, and being married. I brought the stores out of the F process, and maintained a 3.9 GPA. The marriage didn't do so well.

tl;dr Because I don't always know how to shut up.

LAZY_IAM2 karma

How unhealthy is McDonalds ? Can you tell us something that a very few people know about McDonalds?

McLeanDeluxe9 karma

McDonald's is not as healthy as that lean chicken breast, a sweet potato, and some broccoli. McDonald's Big Mac meal has less than half the calories of a Regular burger at Five Guys (how many calories are in a fucking bag - not container - bag - of fries? Remember when the McDs guy didn't want to give you extra fries on that medium fry you ordered? He's saving your life!)

So make your best judgment on health. I love Five Guys hamburgers, but I know not to eat it everyday.

McNuggets come in 4 shapes - bones, balls, boots, and bells.

BooniesBreakfast2 karma

What was the grossest and / or most unsanitary thing you have witnessed while working? (In regards to the food.)

McLeanDeluxe8 karma

3rd assignment as store manager. 99,00 iirc. This one I almost got demoted in, because it was too much for a new store manager. It was a very high volume store that had had a series of shitty GMs and ineffectual DMs.

This store was 25 years old or so. It was a rare one for that model year of store, cause it didn't have a basement.

The store had a massive, insanely massive roach problem. Like nothing you have ever seen, unless you grew up in a pretty serious project. The roaches would walk up and down the cords to most of the equipment, in and out of the light sockets - it was fucking...shit.

So the shake machine has problems. It was always down, and trust me, you wanted this shake machine to be down. If you walked into this store, asked for a milk shake, and was told it was down, just thank your karmic stars.

I opened it up to start cleaning and fixing this machine. Shake mix, after months of build up, will turn into this rock like substance as it calcifies(I guess). The moving parts, the motor, everything in the machine was a block of shake mix. To this day, I can't explain it - it looked like it hadn't been cleaned in YEARS. Which shouldn't be possible, right? Right? And going up down that cord, into that machine, were thousands of roaches. One morning it poured out roaches out of the freezing chamber.

It was also old enough to have syrup lines that ran under the store through pvc piping conduits. These had been cut and left wide open under the store when they put in the self serve fountains in the lobby. The fucking pipes had never been sealed. I called out some coke techs to close the holes. When they started yanking the syrup lines out the roaches swarmed out. Like a tsunami of epic proportions, but black, undulating, writing, raging all over the floor. Employees threw up, screamed, ran. It was funny in a way.

I got yelled at for spending money on coke techs.

Ceredan2 karma

So this probably gets asked at alot of other McD AMAs but, who was the rudest/worst customer that you ever had the displeasure of serving?

McLeanDeluxe16 karma

Had this one lady, oh my. I was working (very short term) for an operator I had never worked for. This lady was a beast; I didn't find out her life story until later (self-entitled, disliked everywhere, ugg). I watched her slam through the door and go hollering for a manager. I was helping another customer, and the only manager at the time. I'm in the dining room, and the customer doesn't see me for a minute or two. I finally extracted myself from the other customer, and walked over to her. I apologized and asked her what I could do. "Where have you been" "Helping another customer" Why weren't you helping me" "I was with another customer; he was here first" "You should have helped me first" "He was here first" "You should have helped me first, and I promise you will regret not helping me". So I go about trying to help her, and she's getting ruder and ruder - insulting me, telling me I was lazy. Finally, I had it, and told her to leave. She was goading me into this point (didn't realize that til just now. Whoa). She ranted at me, cussing for a few minutes, then left. She left, and called another store, who called our district manager. This DM was an ass - the customer was always right, didn't matter what the situation was. He told me that she was coming back to the store, and I was going to apologize to her, and give her what she wanted. I told him I didn't feel comfortable with that; he said I was going to do it and that was that. I explained to him again that I did not feel comfortable with that. Bullying tactics all the way with me. So I said ok.

The lady came back with that smug look - you all who've been there know which one. It's that look of power over a nobody.

So she walks in and said "So you have something to say to me?" I said, "Yes ma'am; the company has asked me to apologize to you for your behavior and for my inability to tolerate people like you. They also said you could have this for free. Is there anything else you'd like?"

The look on her face. The look of shocked disbelief on my coworker's face.

I didn't work there for much longer.

Karpathos811 karma

How cheap is it for McDonald's to buy the goods that they sell to the public to generate their profit?

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

It depends on the volume of the store, but 25-28% is pretty standard.

ColoredUndies1 karma

Strangest thing that came through your doors at Mickie Ds?

McLeanDeluxe6 karma

We got a shipment of frozen turkeys once. That was odd.

Trixsterxx1 karma

hi op just wondering what your back in school for and is being a book manager better than the arches? Certified Accountant is always a reasonable route if you've got a math brain.

I read through most of the comments and I don't know how you ever survived, life has a way of bumbling forward though, so don't give up on doing better.

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

Oddly enough, I'm not going to make any money, ever. I really, really love sociology. Like not some kid who thinks I want to be a social worker and save the world and study hows and why groups relate to each other.

When I went into school I wanted to learn why my life was so fucked up, why everything went bad. I went in as a declared psych student. You have to take a soc class as part of the psych curriculum. The professor was only an average skilled teacher, but I took soc 1101 and realized that you can't understand fully why someone is fucked up until you see where they came from. You have to understand that, or you know nothing.

I'm a white male, and I wanted to know everything about everyone. So I took every class dealing with people who weren't me - African American studies, women's studies, LGBTQ classes, and then some. I completed the requirements for a philosophy minor (now that's hard), but still have so much more to understand. I've also picked up an enjoyment of statistics, oddly enough.

I'm very good at math. I'm not a gifted at it, but I can do it without whining. CPA would be interesting, surely, but I've worked around people so much I think I'd miss them, assholes and all.

Trixsterxx1 karma

You got enough for a book then or at least a weekly cplumn somewhere. Carry on op and good luck.

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

Thanks. Since I'm in the book business now, I'm dead set against writers.

newshoebluedoos1 karma

If you didn't have kids young what would you have done differently?

McLeanDeluxe4 karma

College - I really, really love to learn. Always have. School was awful for me (poverty is a bitch, man). Since I was a kid, voracious reader, school was too easy. Aspects of my life, though, were too much, and I went seeking what I was missing down the wrong trails.

I could go in college, and never ever come out again. Sigh.

WhiteCocoChief1 karma

What does McDonalds look for on an application and resume?

McLeanDeluxe4 karma

Life signs. No, not really. Certain aspects have gotten harder. Online apps are the norm now, and that sucks, because you can no longer tell if someone can write legibly. That's a lot more important than you might otherwise think.

For crew, a relatively stable employment history. We'd like you to be here for a bit. I probably wouldn't hire you for the summer if you're just looking for a summer job. McDs is harder than a lot of people think, and I'm not wasting money on you for the summer. And stable for a fast food job isn't a five year employment stay-more like 6 months to a couple of years.

I also watch out for "overqualified" people. If you are a nurse (CNA/LPNs frequently apply in between offices - they have just enough qualsto eventually get a job, but not enough to be snapped up typically - of course, what do I know of nursing?) I know you are gone in 3 days to 3 months, when you get that shiny new job, and that goes for whatever job you normally apply for. I also don't like to hire college students. It rarely works out. When it does, they are great, but it's very, very rare.

For management - dunning-kruger pops up here a LOT. I once interviewed a former colonel in the army. It was odd - how are you a colonel in the army and don't have enough connections to get you a cushier job than managing people flipping burgers (which is actually you flipping burgers a lot of the time). You can be qualified to send men to die, but that doesn't help a whole lot in the drive thru. We can get into leadership and management skills transferring wherever you go at some other point, but sheesh. There's a difference.

An MBA (happens) means you can dissect my P&L, but not everyone can figure out why the drive thru times are bad and who's stealing cases of meat.

A degree in anything really doesn't qualify you for anything we do. It may get you an interview (maybe) but because you wrote 2nd rate papers for 4 years doesn't help a whole lot.

I'm a big person for education - I like to learn. But my bachelors in hamburgology (lol) qualifies me for nothing other than making hamburgers fast.

jrbr5491 karma

I've heard the ball pits in the play area are absolutely filthy. What's the grossest thing you found in there?

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

I've never seen a syringe, supposedly that's an urban legend, but that's what made them have us clear the ball pits of balls. Bandaids, food, trash, vomit, condoms. I've seen people have sex in the ball pit. A number of times. Mostly employees, though.

Still, you should let your kids play in it. I've heard that kids that have more exposure to germs have better immune systems. Maybe they could resist aids or herpes or some such.

MarleyB931 karma

McNuggets come in 4 shapes - bones, balls, boots, and bells.

I feel like I understand what your saying here, but please elaborate.

Question: I used to work at a Hungry Jacks (Read: Burger King) for all of two weeks when I was a teen between cook work. Couldnt stand the bureaucratic bullshit and the way they treated people. Whats the worse case of bureaucratic bollocks that you've seen working in the industry? Do you feel like its more like manufacturing than food production?

Whats some of the worse stories of your employees? Kinda makes a dude a little cynical seeing some 26 year old sandwich maker celebrating their first fathers/mothers day working for the 8th straight shift for nothing.

McLeanDeluxe2 karma

I was lucky enough to not deal with a lot of bureaucracy within my capacity as a GM of a franchisee. I typically dealt directly the owner. There's typically more exposure to that within the corp itself.

The job is exactly manufacturing, and is not at all like a typical restaurant. A hamburger takes 38 seconds +/- 3 seconds to cook. The mustard comes before the ketchup, every time. The ideal is for the human factor to be disposed of and every person a machine capable of performing all functions of the job.

People don't work like that.

20160416mossack1 karma

Is it true about Mcdonald's hamburger being a really crappy product ?

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

lesterhaus1 karma

Thanks for doing this... I've been wondering for the longest time why the steak bagel (the best menu item they have, IMO) isn't on all McD's menus. Seems only the northern/east coast states carry it. Any ideas?

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

Some. I know it's in some southern states. McDonalds throughout the country are split into regions and such, and they have boards comprised of corporate types, franchisees, and McOpCo. The boards make motions and such to carry certain products and when to carry them, and its voted on. If they think it'll sell, they'll probably sell it. Sweet tea started in the south, and its moved up north. Doesn't move as well, though. In the south it's liquid gold.

jayman4191 karma

A lot of money to us poor wage slaves.

Isn't the GM a salaried position? In fact, don't you move into the salaried money at lower levels of management?

Seems a bit disingenuous to describe yourself as a "wage slave" when you're probably at more than 4 times what your crew makes yearly, and even breaking it down by the hours you put in, you're likely still well over double their money.

While we're on the subject, do you think higher wages for entry-level employees (often required to do the nastiest and/or more dangerous jobs in the store) would attract higher quality applicants, reduce turnover, and ultimately result in a better product, and better experience, for the customer? Wouldn't that ultimately drive same-story year over year... that magic number that franchises tend to look for?

McLeanDeluxe13 karma

It is rather disingenuous, isn't it? I did make far more than my employees, and I was on salary. Since I was 21. I had the option to move farther up, too, probably exchange my service into a small ownership stake. Probably.

That doesn't mean I do not recognize the problem. I was never able to hit that point where people didn't matter to me. I didn't like cutting hours to gain an extra 10 bucks for the owner - and watching employees without winter jackets for their kids, or unable to afford the power bill, or a myriad of issues. So you are right in a lot of ways, yes indeed.

Yes, I do think higher wages would help. I've lost good people who liked the job who didn't want to leave but needed the extra dollar or two an hour. 40 or 80 bucks is a lot of damned money, even as it's not.

I've worked in a factory(a chief draw of fast food employees. They make a whole two dollars, sometimes, over minimum wage). It's boring, repetitive. McDs can be engaging and exciting at times, believe it or not.

Some people do like it and would just do it cause they do. So paying them what they could be worth might be a decent idea. Would you prefer some dick at the drive thru who hates you and the job and cant' wait to leave, or Todd or Mary who's been there 8 years, likes the job, goes home to their families, and generally gets your order right and fast every damned time?

So yeah, I think it would attact better applicants, lower turnover, present a better value for the customer. I think it'd do more than drive same store sales - if McDs gave a great product, every time, you'd come back, because you could rely on them.

jayman4193 karma

There's a pretty big push for a $15 minimum wage. I'm not sure if that's the best number to shoot towards, but it seems likely that increases are on the way.

Most places seem to be preparing to replace cashiers with touch-screens. I'm not sure what your franchise's plans are regarding that, but if you could apply your experience to the general idea... Customers may prefer touch-screen ordering (I've seen them at the MTO's fast food snack bar things that some Sheetz have and they work pretty well, especially for building your own sandwiches and stuff). They may improve the customer experience.

But given how big crosstraining is, and how a cashier can slide around and do other things when the line locks up, how an employee assigned somewhere else could be assigned a drawer to take orders when, like the fries are locked up for a minute... all that sort of stuff... do you think eliminating cashiers and having order-fillers act as the floaters the best idea?

If it's not the best idea, if having an order-taker (other than drive thru) is essential in your opinion, where can those extra labor costs come from before restaurants start seeing improvements in sales and satisfaction?

I understand that the profits, overall, can be pretty decent for owners of a fast food joint. But the margins on a lot of things are really small (especially McDonald's, which is sometimes willing to be a loss leader on some items to get those higher margin add-ons).

Other than eliminating employees or cutting their hours, other than raising prices on everything... do you see an option that could increase the base pay at a restaurant like Mickey D's?

Sorry at how long this is, and how much speculation I'm asking you do to. I'm not really trying to put you on the spot and I'm not strongly for or against the wage increases.. I'm trying to see both sides of the issue but it doesn't affect me personally. I appreciate your previous insightful answer, and hope you're willing to indulge me yet again.

McLeanDeluxe3 karma

What can be done? Well. Let's get real. Almost every facet of the job could be done by a computer. So the end result could very well be an order bagger? Reddit robotics could give you more on that than me. I've been to sheetz, as well.

First of all, customers are idiots. I think we all know that. So the touch screen will help a LOT, but we've all been behind that guy at the self checkout at Wal-mart. But you could cut quite a bit of staff with that. One order-taker. I've been in stores with quite a few registers, but most have one order-taker.

The grill? Everything done there can be done robotically, but how quickly is that feasible? I'm guessing we're a long way from truly being independent in everyway, so I'm guessing you need someone to still do the greasetraps and clean. So one there, too?

Drive thru? There was a lot of talk about outsourcing drive thru order takers to call centers. And voice recognition is getting so good that in 5-10 years, that may not even be needed anymore; it'll all be computerized. So two people?

So - depending on the volume, the McDs I worked in targeted 20-26% labor cost. A low volume would take more, a high volume less. The average store runs about 2 million (I've run stores from 1.5 million to 4 million). So, divvy that up. Of that 2 mil, what 440,000? Take my 45k (fire me, though, unless I can get up to speed on the tech stuff that will replace my managing people skills), 400ish. Split that among everyone else that works there.

I also believe a major weakness McDs has is their hours of operation, but lets assume that the store is open from 6 AM to 11PM; and assuming you now need only 5-6 people to perform during a high volume time what you formerly needed 15-20.

In those circumstances, yes, they absolutely could increase pay. They will not. McDonald's is hugely profitable. The franchisees pay huge rents (4-8%) to the corporation that could go to labor. Corp has major unnecessary bureaucratic levels that could be dropped. They will, in my opinion, automate all they possibly can, and pay today's minimum wage if they can.

They'll even use "15 dollars so I had to automate" as an excuse to do it.

I'm not sure if I've answered your question; its late here. Or what you do, because frequently things affect all of us in life that we never realized.

jdubs3331 karma

What were the worst initiatives or products by McDonald's corporate ( (you mentioned the Arch). What was the best corporate decisions? Taking credit cards? I know I'm late but would really really appreciate a response

McLeanDeluxe4 karma

Worst initiatives? Trying to compete outside of what they are. McDonald's isn't Five Guys or Starbucks. They spend a literal ton of money on a items that were outside their specialty. They bought 30k dollar pressure cookers and spent even more to retrofit them into the stores - to compete with Chic Fil A's fried chicken sandwich. Then yanked them out a couple of years later. They brought the failed Angus 1/3 pounders out, and not only were they terrible (Angus is dry, people. Why do you all order this from anywhere?), anyone with brains should have been able to see they'd fail. Those huge wraps. From day one they were bulky, hugely slow, terrible to make. When every other fast food restaurant is nailing your ass to the door in drive thru times and experience, why would you add a menu item that is takes forever to make?

Do one thing, do it well. Keep a good, solid reputation. You make Big Macs and cheap hamburgers, ok shakes, fries that keep getting worse but are still considered to be pretty damned good by anyone. Do that. Do it well. Do what you became known for - decent food, fast service, cheap. An all around value for the consumer. The consumer will flirt with other places, but they'll be back if you offer them competence. Don't ever be what you're not - do what made you successful.

Going away from kids. My lord - this will sound shitty. Cigarette companies don't market to 30 year olds. The camel is there for kids (or was). You get people young. The happy meal is a loss leader. You know that. You bring in super ecstatic kids who are so happy to be there. You evolve with the current generation of kids and keep them hooked. I am almost 40. I still crave a cheeseburger from McDs - not because its a good hamburger -it's not - but because, like pb&j, it and nuggets are a comfort food from when I was a child. It makes me relax. That's sick, but it's true.

Credit cards was a great decision. They came late to the game; you can't use dial up in a drive thru to verify cards. They eat up a lot of profit in fees, though.

To go hand in hand with my first point, over 100 menu items. A major reason I left was the menu size. With what they asked me to do on a regular basis it was too overwhelming to do excellently.

Breakfast all day I haven't decided on. I left right before this became a thing, and the McDs grill (or wasn't) is so not set up for cooking eggs during the evening. They must have come up with something, though, cause it doesn't appear to be as torturous when I come in, though it does take a bit longer.

Recently the menu boards appeared to be trimmed down quite a bit. This was smart. This could probably turn them around. When the economy shits the bed people come back to cheap places like McDs. Hell, Quiznos is gone, and I'm wouldn't be surpised the next recession Jimmy Johns, Firehouse and their ilk will go the way of the dodo - but despite Jared liking baby spinach on his sandwich, Subway is still kicking around. Do your thing, do it well.

McDs has the pricing and purchasing power to outlast recessions - it needs the speed and competence to outlast boom times, when the customer can easily afford to purchase something better for their money.

jdubs3331 karma

Yes thank you. In the business publications when McDonald's gets a new ceo, it's always a big deal and each one tries things differently.

Sorry, I have another question. You mentioned turning around troubled restaurants. Has a franchisee ever "lost" a McDonald's? I know they monitor their franchises closely. How can that even happen? You need a lot of money to get a franchise and aren't they pretty much gold mines?

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

A new CEO is a ridiculous deal in every industry, I guess. And sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn't. The stock prices jump forward if they feel it's a good choice and fall down when the CEO decides to do something stupid (JC Penny iirc). Yahoo CEO is making tons of stupid decisions, isn't she? McDonald's isn't a newbie tech company. Tech can streamline it, make it go better, faster, more efficiently. But quadrupling your menu? Adding items that warp your business model (slow the speed of service)? Any CEO's idea other than - "Let's get back to what made us rich" is idiotic, and I think we'll all watch them fail over and over. McD's is too big to fail, though. I suppose. Maybe they'll get a bail out and not have to pay anyone back. This is exactly why Taco Bell is going to win the franchise wars.

Yes, franchisees do lose their restaurants. It's not easy to do. No, they do not monitor them that closely. A McDs typically gets (this changes from year to year, believe it or not) an announced, very detailed formal visit, and two surprise visits which focus primarily on the service aspect a customer would typically receive. The formal is typically a gimmee - I've seen people fuck this up, and it's hard to do. You know they are coming. Be ready. The surprise visits...not so easy. But if you give ok service, and the corporation currently likes you(politics play a role, I witnessed this myself), and the corporate inspector isn't trying to make a name for themselves by making an example of you, it isn't too bad. But it really, really can be.

I believe they wanted to take a store from my operator, to prove a point to them. I'm very sure of this. I can't prove it - but I'm very sure. So fail your visits, consistently, fail a couple of health inspections as well (McD's food safety inspections are normally far more rigid than any country/state inspection) and you are in for it.

Once they begin the repossession the lawyers take over. I don't know details of that - I'd imagine it depends on who has the deeper pockets, wouldn't you? And most of the time, even if you come from money, the corporation has quite the piggy bank.

The franchisees must have about a million, liquid, to be considered. There are exceptions and programs for minorities. They used to be gold mines, indeed. Now it's not quite so lucrative (iirc franchisee fees used to be .5%? Now they are 5-8ish, not to mention a slew of other things they tack on). I had a P&L somewhere. I'd upload it but someone might come after me, huh? But they still do well. Nowadays a new operator will typically get a shitty, marginal store, and if you do well, they'll give you the opportunity to buy a better store. You will work for your dollars.

They hid the figures from me, but a brand new operator of a starting store would be their own store manager, probably, and make 60-100k...maybe. Maybe not. If I combed the P&Ls I could tell you pretty well. I was good at ferreting out information I wasn't supposed to know. But sometimes you don't want to know how badly you're being fucked.

jdubs3333 karma

Thanks a lot. Just so you know, it seems from your posts that you're pretty down on yourself. You're very intelligent and very, very few people could manage those type of stores. I know it's fast food, but management is management and not everybody can do it. Don't sell yourself short, or I hope you're not selling yourself short.

McLeanDeluxe1 karma

I appreciate the support. It's not been an easy trip so far. It's not the worst, but it's not been easy. I'm not where I want to be.

baavbanda0 karma

Is op ever going to answer?

McLeanDeluxe7 karma

Sorry - I went to fix a pond pump; I guess I'm kind of surprised this popped quickly.

1978Throwaway12-41 karma

I've read plenty of McDonald's worker AMAs. Don't need another so bye bye?

McLeanDeluxe14 karma

I can be rather boring, but I promise you can't smell the grease all the way from where you are.

1978Throwaway12-29 karma

That's cause i ate your crappy ass food for lunch today

McLeanDeluxe5 karma

But you did eat it.