McDonald’s Outsources Jobs

26 02 2009

You know the economy is in the crapper when McDonald’s is outsourcing minimum wage jobs.

I ordered a cup of coffee today from a woman in North Dakota. It was in my hands within about 10 seconds, and was plenty hot enough to scorch a lap.

The process went like this: I pulled up to the drive-through squawk box at the Charlotte McDonald’s.


After thanking me for my “persistence,” Scott confirmed that the Charlotte McDonald’s is, indeed, a test site for an experimental “call center” approach, and that drive-through orders went “out of state

Go to the LSJ’s website and read the whole article.  Great job by LSJ columnist John Schnieder for digging this up.  A few weeks ago, there was a storyline on King of the Hill where Bill fell in love with the drive thru lady who worked for a call center out of state and went on a road trip to find her.  I thought it was all a joke.  I never imagined that someone would actually outsource their drive thru operation.  I laughed out loud when J pointed out this article to me.  Seriously?  They’re outsourcing minimum wage jobs? 

I hate drive thrus as it is.  This is even more incentive to stay the hell away.  I can never understand the person on the other end.  What if the call center is in the south or New England and the person on the other end has an unfamiliar accent.  I’ll never get my food.  I’m at a loss for words.  Outsourcing drive thrus.  Wow.




5 responses

26 02 2009

I knew Taco Bell had been doing this for years, but like you said, you know the economy is bad when McD’s resorts to outsourcing their drive-thru…Remember the old McD’s drive-thru parody of the guy ordering the “egg mmmmuffin?”

26 02 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

I never heard of Taco Bell doing that….I did a quick google search and they were quoted a month ago that they’ve never tried it. Jack-In-The-Box is experimenting with it now too…still..wierd concept. How much can McDonald’s save by eliminating a few $6.50/hr jobs?

26 02 2009

I saw a Modern Marvels — Food Tech tv program not long ago that showed a Wendy’s center in I believe Kentucky.
So although it’s not a commonly known practice, I don’t think it is all that new.

26 02 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

What are the advantages? Seriously?

26 02 2009

Well, I don’t want to be seen as defending the practice since I am not a fan of outsourcing on many levels for many reasons.

This is a guess, but the advantage to the franchise owner is they have several less employees to worry about scheduling, training, supervising etc.
In the fast food business those are major hassles what with the turn over in workers.
With a central operations unity, those problems are shifted on to somebody else.
I would expect the centralized staff is better trained in the menu, equipment, etc. and probably much better paid than a local part-time person.

I would hope (expect) that such a center will have English speaking employees who can communicate better than many local operators.

At a call center, the people are probably better supervised than at a local facility since I’m fairly confident there would be a supervisor of some sort on duty during a shift. That supervisor’s sole duty would be to oversee the “drive up” people — not like a store manager who bears the whole weight on his or her shoulders.

The operation I saw on Modern Marvels was actually quite small— maybe six or so operators. But they were said to be covering many restaurant in many states so there was probably little down time for them.

I guess the bottom line to the whole thing is what difference does it really make that someone in North Dakota keys the order into a computer since the only communication with the kitchen/delivery staff at a local site is by computer anyway.

It’s probably cheaper for the local franchisee to buy the remote service and if that’s true, they are paying less money for hopefully better service.

All in all, it’s sad I guess, but with a centralized menu like the chains have, it all kind of makes good economic sense IF A LOT OF THE ASSUMPTIONS I have made here are accurate.

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