After 50 Years With McDonald’s, Franchisee Declares “I Wanted To Get The Hell Out”

Imagine you start with a company at the age of 16 and remain with it for half a century in a position that provides you with a not-insubstantial living. How does that relationship sour to the point where you pull the plug on it and publicly declare your frustration?

A Michigan man who spent his entire adult life working for McDonald’s — and who, until recently, had been a McD’s franchisee since 1980 — says the company he’d grown up with had lost sight of its core business.

“The people were different, the company was different,” he says. “It became very frustrating.”

He tells Bloomberg that, rather than focusing on making good food quickly, McDonald’s has made a habit of introducing new menu items that cost franchisees money and take more time to prepare.

Regarding his former corporate overseers, he admits, “I don’t think they know what they want to do… They’re saying, ‘Let’s go back to basics,’ then they’re doing these customized burgers, and they’re talking about all-day breakfast.”

The McDonald’s standard window for getting food to customers is 90 seconds, but for complicated items like the McWrap, “I was happy with three minutes,” says the former franchisee.

“The service times went up because of the expansion of the menu,” he tells Bloomberg. “I think they went a little overboard. It was difficult in the kitchen.”

Another new item that bogged things down was the introduction of McCafé beverages in 2009. The franchisee says he didn’t have room for two of the new machines needed to make these more upscale drinks, so his operation slowed down as employees tried to fill orders.

“The drinks are all very good, but you have one machine, and it only makes the drinks so fast,” the general manager of these franchises explains. “It has really slowed things down.”

The former franchisee recalls getting knots in his stomach when he’d see the drive-thru line backed up because these new menu items took so long to prepare.

Even after investing $100,000 to build a second drive-thru lane, the wait times were still bad because employees simply couldn’t keep up with making everything from a menu of around 100 items.

So as he neared his 50th anniversary with McDonald’s, and his 35th year as a franchisee, he realized, “I wanted to get the hell out,” and sold his two franchises earlier in 2015.

That said, he acknowledges that “McDonald’s was awful good to me,” and that he believes in the brand.

But as for the imminent launch of all-day breakfast and the extra work and equipment it will entail, he says, “I’m not going to miss that at all.”

McRevolt: The Frustrating Life of the McDonald’s Franchisee [Bloomberg]

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