Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The symbol of American food worldwide sadly is the amazing chain of McDonald’s hamburger joints that are in every city and along every highway rest stop getting to a city. I guess we should be proud of the automation of food processing and serving that the giant company has achieved. Most importantly how it was a quick affordable hunger satisfier and still is to Billions of people. The problem like Walmart, the American retailor of everything else, McDonald’s is also known for being the minimum wage king as well. When people protest about too low wages, they probably work at McDonald’s.

The company’s boss says he is loving his job.  McDonald’s   CEO is Don Thompson the man in charge of the biggest restaurant chain in the world. He is a tall black man that is very friendly and when he visits his stores, no one is intimidated by the biggest shot in the company. He is proud to say that he could still make fries and cook a burger but is also happy at headquarters too. Despite his happy demeanor he realizes that his restaurants are a target. They have 35,000 restaurants worldwide. Many times if someone is degrading other fast food chains,   McDonald’s gets caught up in the controversy. I find it very interesting that the big shot of this corporation is a humble black man because many of his employees are minorities and complain how he doesn’t pay them enough money for their work.

He took the job 2 years ago facing wage protests and declining sales. He is the first African-American CEO of the company. A recent Consumer Reports Survey ranked McDonald’s as the worst tasting burger in the industry. Sales have been in a downward trend with competition   like Chipolte  Mexican Grill, Wendy’s and Taco Bell eating at the profit share at lunch time. Don Thompson grew up in a tough side of Chicago and lived in a public housing project. He was raised by his grandmother and remembers only one McDonald’s restaurant in the neighborhood in his youth. He also remembers asking his grandmother for a meal and she would tell him to go home and she will make him a McDonald’s.

His wife of 26 years also grew up nearby. They both made it out of the neighborhood by studding engineering at Purdue University. Her home is destroyed and abandoned now but they say money doesn’t solve all your problems. Really? Only people who now have money say things like that.  He started at McDonald’s 24 years ago as an engineer. He dealt with the robotics keeping the kitchen automated. He never went to business school. So how did he become CEO? He now earns upwards of 9Million dollars per year. Someone tell that to his poor minimum wage workers fighting to survive in this economy.  Recently thousands of hourly employees staged protests demanding wage rises to $15 per hour  from about $8 per hour.

Thompson went to the White House and said he would support a minimum wage hike as long as it is phased in slowly.  He wants his employees to reinvest back into the company. He is proud to disclose that 60% of franchise owners used to work for the company at some time in their past working history. I say put this guy up front and let all people know that he exists and has a plan for workers and minority people in general. We could all use a bit of inspiration these days.

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