To continue a conversation we had in one of the classes….


To be or not to be (a burger)

To be or not to be (a burger)

I just wanted to share this with you – McDonald’s explains in this video, why their burgers served don’t look anything like the burgers from the commercials. Enjoy!

Mc Donalds – like a family for its employees?

The first thing when you check up the German Mc Donalds page for career and working opportunities is a video which pops up immediately after opening the page. In this video there are showed people who work at Mc Donalds and love their job, smiling and laughing a lot. And Kai Pflaume, a German television presenter probably not from personal experience an “expert” for Mc Donalds career chances, explains, why it’s good to work at Mc Donalds: It offers a wide spectrum of opportunities.

But the message of this and other videos seems to be a different one: Except for the high apprenticeship quality one thing is most important: That beeing part of the Mc Donalds team is like beeing part of a family – within three month like one employee explained. It seems to be this emotional message which is so important, because the image of working at Mc Donalds in Germany is quite bad, somehow linked with the idea of an underqualified rough job you only accept if you really need money. The chief human resources officer so explains in another video the importance of improving that image with the new campaign Mc Donalds started. All in all it seemed to me like Mc Donalds right now wants to give an “honest” view behind the scenes which shows that you are accepted, your qualities and talents are seen and used and that Mc Donalds gives you a lot where others don’t – for example with a low graduation others only give a look to your grades whereas Mc Donalds sees your talents and advances them.

Interestingly the campaign differs very much from the US Mc Donalds employee campaign where I coulnd’t find any video at all. Instead I found a lot of facts that should proof the advantages and benefits of working at Mc Donalds. So the question is why these campaigns do so much differ from each other  and what that says about the employment situation in both countries.

Working at McDonalds

When scrolling through the employee profiles on the German website, I noticed a lot of them praising the good team work and how close and friendly everyone was. According to McDonalds, this atmosphere makes working enjoyable. Funny enough, I never experienced any of it when visiting McDonalds. Either the staff were yelling at each other or gesturing due to language problems. 
The question is: Why does the company portray an obviously stressful, horrid job as a relaxing, family friendly business? 

Who wants to work for the greatest company in the entire world?

When I went on the homepage of McDonald*s Germany, what first caught my sight was that they really try to turn bad things into good things. What is a “flexibles Arbeitszeitmodell”?. To be fair this means nothing else than just that one has to be very flexible. Is this really a good thing when you have to work in shifts which can vary each day? They promote that McDonalds is a really good place to gain many experiences even in other countries of the European Union and that one should be really proud of to be a part of a really great company. But in fact every time I have visted a McDonald’s restaurant so far it didn’t really look like the stuff members were really happy to work for McDonald’s, to be a part of this company or to feel challenged every day. I find it quite interresting how McDonald’s tries to address its future workers. But I’m not really sure whether nice pictures and well sounding texts help to ignore the reality, to ignore the truth in order to attract as many workers as possible.

to work at McDonalds

From the videos I have watched and the experiences I have heard about from friends in the US, working at McDonalds seems like a pretty miserable deal. The pay is not enough to live off, the customers are generally disrespectful, and the environment is depressing. 

The workers in the restaurants are paid minimum wage in the states. And even though they are mostly teenagers, most are teenagers that HAVE to have a job. I know that when I worked in high school, if my only option was to have a job at a fast food restaurant, I just wouldn’t work. But some don’t have the option. My friends from school were either coming from a low-class family or had children while they were in school and had to support a family.

As if the pay wasn’t bad enough, dealing with rude customers and being around miserable co-workers (none of which want to be there) really makes fast food workers hate their job. The customers demand ridiculous things like free food and drinks because they believe they somehow deserve it. And when they don’t get anything they become upset..? Makes no sense. I know from working in a restaurant that this occurs occasionally, but it  seems to be more prominent in McDonalds eateries because they are “fast food” and deemed cheaper (with food and workers), therefore easier to push around. All of the unhappiness in the workplace can really add up to bigger issues too, example: The fact that they hire people with such a violent past is one thing, but in the workers defense they most likely deal with terrible customers often… It was just a matter of time before they snapped from stress. (ok, the metal rod is a bit much, but you get my point)

The McDonalds corporation seems to think that everything is quite lovely at McDonalds restaurants and it is full of opportunities. “We believe the best people in the world work right here. And we believe you could be one of them. You’ve got enthusiasm, responsibility and drive. We’ve got flexible schedules, benefits and jobs that can turn into satisfying careers. It’s a perfect match.” But all I have observed from people working there is they smell permanently of fried food, most are unhappy and they all complain about the low pay. Granted, not all McDonalds are the same. Some are much more well-kept and respectable than others. I just have more knowledge on the run-down, gross restaurants in South Carolina.

McDonald’s as the Epitome of the Perfect Working Atmosphere

McDonald’s Germany presents itself as an innovative, modern, German middle-class (!) company with an international character. Moreover, it shows itself as a company not prejudiced against gender, religion, nationality, and age and with the possibility to climb the social ladder easily. Furthermore, it stresses its flexible working hours as a chance to manage family and job hours, advertises its possibilities in career, training (2131 ‘Azubis’/ persons in training) and academic studies (148 bachelor students), and shows in personal reports the satisfaction and long-term staff member-ship of its workers (eight years and two months on average)

No respect for employees?

What I noticed when watching the videos by people who worked for McDonald’s was that the main complaints were about the customers whom they had to serve. It seems like everybody who goes out to eat at McDonald’s is generally rude, can’t make their mind up on what to eat, doesn’t know how to pronounce things and on top of that – wants their order as quickly as possible (in a fast food restaurant! can you imagine?!).

So, do the consumers lack respect for the workers at McD’s? If so, why do they look down so much on the people that serve them? Is it cause they don’t consider serving people at a fast food restaurant to be a real job? Or have the employees just not watched enough of this:

Going into another direction

On Saturday, I already talked about working for McDonald’s. I think it is a really interesting fact, that working for McDonald’s has a very negative image in Germany even though the quality of apprenticeship with McDonald’s is supposed to be really good.

When someone answer to the question what he or she is doing for a living “I am working for McDonald’s” the first thought would be “What?! Why would anyone who graduated from school do that?”. A lot of people just forget that McDonald’s actually has more job offers than just frying fries and making BicMags.

In Germany you can do a full 3-year apprenticeship with McDonald’s with focus on management or catering (Systemgastronomie?). This education has a good image; it is said to be a really good program. However, it still is McDonald’s – that is why it is not appreciated.

Think about it: What company would be more suitable to show how business management is done than McDonald’s?!  We already talked about this in class – Ray Kroc knew what he was doing, and now McDonald’s is one of most successful and known companies in the world. Again: who would be more suitable to give insight into successful management?!