If you grew up in the 1980s, going to McDonald’s was the popular thing to do. Today, McDonald’s popularity has taken a 180 degree turn as the restaurant chain suffers from constant attacks from a public that says it is weary of McDonald’s unhealthy menu items and low-paid employees. However this examiner is wondering if maybe everyone is being too hard on McDonald’s.
The Golden Arches has been around for over half a century and in that time, it has seen good times and bad times. Yet it seems like the restaurant chain has reached a point where its public image is akin to that of your garden variety serial killer. Recently, Slate Magazine published an article which claimed that Franchisers believe that the restaurant chain is experiencing its own end of days. This comes on the heels, of the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual restaurant survey where McDonald’s ranked 17 out of 17 Limited Service Restaurants. So what is so bad about McDonald’s? In truth it depends on your point of view. Yes, many of the menu items at McDonald’s are unhealthy. However the chain has worked to add salads to their menu, as well as wraps and even an artisan chicken sandwich. Aside from that they were the one of the first fast food restaurants to introduce healthier options for their Happy Meals which include apple slices, a clementine or low-fat strawberry yogurt. So the restaurant chain is obviously trying to offer healthier choices. All you have to do is ask.
The other major complaint that people have with McDonald’s is the low wages. Okay, you will not get rich working as a crewmember at McDonald’s. In fact if this examiner worked at McDonald’s he would be publishing his articles from a cardboard box. However there is more to the issue than what is generally reported. Everyone has heard about the protests from underpaid workers, however you have to look at where those strikes occurred: large metropolitan areas. The protests started in New York City, a city that has a reputation of having one of the largest costs of living in the nation. Having grown up 10 minutes away from the Big Apple, this examiner knows that a person needs to make a six figure salary in order to survive there. Unfortunately, McDonald’s is not the place where a person will make that kind of money. Most of the other cities where protests occurred have similar costs of living.
Another point is that many McDonald’s are franchise stores. This is a game changer when it comes to wage issues. Many franchises are owned by small business men who can only afford to pay their employees minimum wage. Even those that own multiple stores only have so much money to spend on payroll. In order to raise wages and stay afloat, franchise owners would either have to raise their prices or lay off some of their staff. On a side note, many corporate-owned stores have raised their employee wages, but the McDonald’s Corp is a billion dollar enterprise that can afford it.
So what is the point? Many of the arguments against McDonald’s are surface issues. Is McDonald’s the best restaurant chain in the nation? No, but it is also not Satan’s burger joint either. You have to view McDonald’s for what it is: another restaurant chain that is selling a dining concept. It is neither good nor bad. It is about doing business.
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