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A Perspective from ME!

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posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 09:03 PM
Hello everyone! Been awhile since I posted anything. I have started working at McDonald's recently and felt the need to share. While this is not directed entirely at McDonald's, being back in this business has reminded me why I left to begin with...the integrity by which most I work with is lacking severely. Why am I doing it all over again? Part of me hopes one day I will find my ideal situation and be proud of where I work, I am naive to think the nature of this business could actually be different anywhere. I am an eternal optimist forced to be a realist. I like the food business because I like food. I like taking care of customers and making sure I do my part to WOW them. I gravitate towards jobs that require attention to detail and take a certain amount of patience to excel at. Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority of management that actually give a crap. Even as a crew member I have always been 10 steps above on the customer service scale (blame my parents)! Just wanted to share a perspective from my eyes.

I have worked for many companies in my life and they all seem to have one thing in common…they are great at creating philosophies with core principles that extol the virtues of taking care of the customer. They want their employees to treat customers with respect, go the extra mile, give quality service and products and present a clean environment. It doesn’t really matter what company I am speaking of at this point; what you are trained to do is different from what you are expected to do.

I happen to believe very strongly that certain principles should never be compromised. However, when dealing with management at different levels the principles seem to change when it comes to cost of services and products. The customer becomes an afterthought when it involves the bonus structure of upper management, particularly in the food service industry. In all my training at these various companies there has been one set of rules during training and another entirely different set of rules in reality.

I have been involved in every aspect of the food service industry as a server, cashier, cook, bartender and manager. I have had bonus structures tied to my salary that are controlled by food cost, labor and speed of service. Personally, I do not believe I deserve a bonus if I can’t provide these things in a reasonable manner. I want to hit food cost, labor and provide great speed of service, but I do not want to cheat to do it at the expense of the customer.

As a customer you will never really know when it comes to the food you are eating if it was actually prepared the “right” way. There are different variations of the “right” way. If you order something a certain way and it doesn’t come that way you have a definite idea, but do you have any clue if that food you are eating was dropped on the floor and still served to you? Would you know if the quality of the produce that was used in your salad was up to company standards in the handbook? How sure are you that what you are eating was handled properly by the person that made it?

Let me take you through a 15 minute scenario from the moment you walked into a fast food restaurant. Doesn’t really matter which one…

You walked in and looked at the menu board at 20 minutes to closing time.
You ordered for 4 people.
You asked for special instructions on your food.
You paid $30 and waited.
You think you see what is going on, but you don’t have a clue (unless you have been in the business).

The holding times on all the food you ordered has already expired, so the quality will be sub-standard.
The holding times for any of the condiments used on your food has already expired, so the quality will be sub-standard.
There are 3 people in the kitchen preparing to close, so they have begun the cleaning process and have started using chemicals to clean the grill area, the floor and the prep area.
They have gloves on and you think they are all being careful with the handling of your food.
They have been wearing the same gloves for the last 3 hours. They have not washed their hands. They have touched every surface in that kitchen, along with the other people and they are preparing your order for you.
They had some food already prepared, but you wanted it done without something on it…maybe you don’t like pickles on your hamburger or onions on your chicken sandwich…don’t worry…they will take the pickles off or the onions and give you the same sandwich they had sitting there.
The bun you think was fresh was dropped on the floor and used anyway.
The burger or chicken you asked for well done was not made fresh…they just pretended to do that and put a special sticker on it, fried food can be re-fried to seem like it is fresh, but it was sitting there for an hour.

You took your food home and ate it.

The management of various places instruct their employees to never throw away anything that can be used. Some take it to an extreme. Pizza places will used expired dough to make your fresh pizza. Some will pick off the meat from a “dead” order and reuse it. The ingredients that get dropped in the make table tray will be picked up and used on your pizza. Don’t like mushrooms…too bad, they are in that pizza you ordered because they were in the tray and got stuck to the sausage or pepperoni that was used on your pizza.

You went to the buffet the other night and had pot roast…it spoiled the night before, but instead of throwing it in the trash it was bleached and cooked anyway; 11 trays spoiled and they served it to you rather than eat the food cost. The kitchen manager needed his bonus.

Something that goes hand and hand with labor cost is the speed of service…which is part of the bonus structure. They want you to cheat. They want you to pretend the service was quicker than it actually was. They want you to “bump” the order before it is actually served or dispatch a delivery before it was actually delivered. This gives a false impression to upper management that service issues are in line with labor.

This creates problems for the crew to deal with and causes orders to be overlooked and makes lower level managers work harder to fix mistakes while dealing with a lack of help because scheduling was done based on false times.

Another issue at hand is corporations have franchisees that are supposed to adhere to these guidelines. They are supposed to provide the same quality of service and products set forth in their operations manuals. Sadly, there is a disparity between corporate and franchise funds that causes the franchisee to cut corners whenever possible. The customer doesn’t care, they still expect the same no matter who is serving them.

As a manager, I can only control what I do. I have integrity and I operate on my own core principle; treat others the way I would like to be treated. There are way to many hypocrites that think they can do to others what they don’t want done to them.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 09:18 PM
Ewwwwww!!!! Do they seriously do that stuff? how is that allowed!!! If only every manager in the fast food industry could be like you!!, maybe then I would eat it and enjoy it..considering most major fast food chains are franchises it doesn't surprise me that majority of them are cutting corners, they don't care about tarnishing the brand either as long as they are bringing in money, it's not their name behind it...

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 09:25 PM
Maybe a bit off topic:
30 years ago, when I was a teenager, I worked the McDonalds night shift. We would have homeless guys down on their luck com in to just get warm and order a coffee for 35 cents.

The expired food would go to the trash bin when expired, but instead of some of it going into the bin (which went straight to the trash can) we would sneak it and give some to the homeless for free, coming in for coffee.

They appreciated it, it still got counted as "waste" and everyone was happy.

Yeah, expired food should be thrown away for those who pay for fresh. But it was still good enough for those that were really hungry and can afford none.
Times have changed, that expired food now gets recycled into "fresh".

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 09:26 PM
a reply to: soulpowertothendegree

That's why I eat at steak n shake and Wendy's. Always fresh.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 09:36 PM

originally posted by: Shana91aus
Ewwwwww!!!! Do they seriously do that stuff? how is that allowed!!! If only every manager in the fast food industry could be like you!!, maybe then I would eat it and enjoy it..considering most major fast food chains are franchises it doesn't surprise me that majority of them are cutting corners, they don't care about tarnishing the brand either as long as they are bringing in money, it's not their name behind it...

Yeah. They really do. I have worked at McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Dominos Pizza. I saw some disgusting people, some disgusting food habits, some disgusting insect issues, etc. at all 3. Granted... This was when I was a teen, but I can't really see things changing that much in 20 years time. I saw people drop food on the floor and pick it up to use it. I got a hard time when I would walk up to those people (who were always there longer than me) and ask them what the hell they were doing? I took it from their hands more than once.

If I didn't want to eat it, if I didn't want my mother to eat it... I didn't serve it. Period. I wish others felt the same, but a lot do not.

As to the above poster saying they gave out food?? That is FANTASTIC!! When I worked at McD's we were not allowed to take the left over food or give it to anyone else. We were forced to throw tens of pounds of food away a night and were threatened with automatic termination if we were caught taking it or giving it away. A manager always watched as we threw it away at closing. It was sickening to watch it.... even as a teen.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:01 PM
a reply to: soulpowertothendegree

I have family members in various levels of food service, so I can totally relate!
My sister used to work in a grocery store that had a bakery & a deli.
When the chicken in the meat department started to go bad,
they had to wash it in bleach water & use it to make fried chicken in the deli!
Anyone ever wonder why they didn't feel well after they ate something?

How about the customer with allergies that asks for food with something left off?
They bring it with the unwanted item on it anyway.
When it's sent back, they just take the item off instead of dishing up a new plate.
In some cases that could be a matter of life or death!

Then there's the kitchen worker who resented the restaurant
being bought by someone younger than he was.
He even confronted the new owner with,
"What does someone your age know about running a restaurant?"
When the new owner recognized him as a slacker & troublemaker he kept an eye on him.

He asked the worker if he had added bleach to the wash water.
The worker said that he had.
The new owner whips out a test strip & proceeds to test the water.
No bleach! The worker is immediately fired with no second chances!
As the new owner said to him, "It's my restaurant, & my reputation that's on the line!
I don't need some kitchen worker with an attitude to sabotage things for me.
And I sure don't want one of my customers to come down with salmonella!"

And he wasn't too happy with one of the long time, slow waitresses.
But I told him, "When I come into a sit down restaurant, it's to have a relaxing meal.
I'm not expecting fast food service. Good food takes time.
If someone is in that much of a hurry, they should hit a drive thru!"

What's more important to me, is someone who is personable, friendly,
looks you in the eye, gets your order right the first time,
does not act like they hate their job, but need the paycheck,
& help make your time there enjoyable!
If that takes a little more time, it's fine with me!

To me, that is what I am paying for & what I expect,
because that is what I would give to someone.
And anyone who provides that, gets a big tip from us,
because there are so many who could care less!!!

Too many people hate their jobs, or working with people,
& unfortunately don't bother to hide it!!
That's why we try to always eat at owner operated places.
And no fast food places if we can help it!

Like you, I used to be an optimist, then a realist.
The way things are going, I just hope I don't ever become a pessimist!
It's like the saying, "They won't remember what you wore,
probably won't remember exactly what you said,
but they will remember how you made them feel!!!

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:03 PM
a reply to: mattsawaufo

Hate to burst your bubble but you are delusional. Just because you can see them cook it doesn't mean it is fresh meat and not kept at the right temperature. Also, those raw meat hamburger are being handled by someone with gloves touching everything in the area .

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:08 PM
a reply to: Kangaruex4Ewe

Giving away food is a liability issue. It only takes one instance of someone getting sick and suing to make that an issue and sadly it has happened. That is why most places refrain from doing so. There are some controlled situations where food gets donated to soup kitchens, but they are forced to sign a waiver.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:13 PM
a reply to: wasobservingquietly

The health department has added bleach to a list of chemicals not to be used in any food preparation or cleaning. It can be used to wash linens, but it is not supposed to be used for anything else in a restaurant. I am highly allergic to bleach. Quat sanitizer is the standard and a mild degreaser can be used to clean surfaces where food is not directly in contact.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:19 PM
a reply to: Kangaruex4Ewe

and let us not forget about the employee that wants to get back at a customer by doing disgusting things to their food and the customer will never know. Like the time one of our phone girls got yelled at by a customer for "screwing up their order" by forgetting to add bacon to their pizza...they made the girl cry...guess what, her friends were the cooks and they specifically asked me...the go smoke a cigarette out back for 10 the clock I found out what they did...they took his dough and put it in the toilet, they each spit on it, they dropped all the ingredients on the floor, they pissed in his sauce...the guy called back 40 minutes later and said it was the best pizza he ever had and they laughed their asses off about it.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:26 PM
a reply to: Shana91aus

Well Shana dear....I am afraid so...I could tell you stories about bugs in the pizza sauce, ants and roaches in the dough, old crusty moldy pizza crust being left in pans and new pizzas being cooked on top of them, fast food is not the issue and this problem extends to every single restaurant... mom and pop, franchise or corporate...where there is a profit to be made food cost is paramount, but these issues only scratch the surface...personal hygiene, cooks that go to the bathroom with their aprons on and then wipe their hands on the same apron while wearing gloves and pick up your bun to place a burger on it that they just dropped on the floor...etc. It happens everywhere. I had more than one issue to beat, but the main one was how companies train you one way for 8 weeks to do it by the book, then when you try to apply those rules you get told with a wink and a this is the real way we do it off the book.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:30 PM
a reply to: tinker9917

30 years ago that was actually allowed in most places, but then somebody decided to sue and the practice became a liability issue. The store where I work now we have a lot of indigent people close by, most employees treat them like dirt, but I treat them with respect, I can't give away free food, but I can buy a few burgers from my own pocket and put a smile on someones face. I wish I could feed the whole world.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 11:12 PM
a reply to: soulpowertothendegree

And very good reasons for not eating at fast food. Higher priced places aren't a whole lot better - some are, it helps when owners actually work the place, I've found.

Eat at home mostly myself.

Thanks for you insight - find a higher class joint to work - you may find it better.

posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 11:18 PM
a reply to: FyreByrd

Really, it doesn't matter higher class or not...they all have the same issues with food cost and employees.

posted on Jul, 29 2014 @ 12:02 AM
I agree with every word you posted.

I have worked in that industry when I was younger and was everything including dishwasher, ran fryers, ran a broiler, ran a grill, assistant manager & manager at 4 different establishments.

Yes non believers everything said is 100% true.

Some people have higher standards but when you think about it maybe someplace that where people make minimum wage isn't going to have the best work ethics for the most part. Some do don't get me wrong but most don't.

posted on Jul, 29 2014 @ 12:51 AM
a reply to: mwood

unfortunately those making the decisions about food cost are not min. wage workers, they are taking their cue from upper management.

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