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Is McDonalds Outsourcing their Drive-Thru Windows?
The rumor I heard was that McDonalds would be outsourcing the job of taking orders at the drive-thru window to some company in North Dakota, because the minimum wage in North Dakota is only $5.15, whereas it's higher in other states, so they figure they can save some money. In other words, you could be going through a drive-thru in San Diego and giving your order to some guy in North Dakota. This struck me as very odd. But it appears that the story is basically true, except that McDonalds denies that its reasons for doing this has anything to do with trying to pay their employees less. They claim that when employees have to take orders over the drive-thru mic and deliver food at the same time, they start making a lot of mistakes. So this is just an effort to make the system more efficient. Maybe. But I've read Fast Food Nation so I know that McDonalds is one of the worst companies in terms of underpaying their employees, and I'm guessing that they are hoping this will reduce labor costs.
Business/FinanceFood
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 18, 2005


Okay... This is going to sound really dumb but... How can someone outsource working the drive-through? I mean, is there going to be someone in North Dakota with their ear glued to a headset taking orders for something half a state away? Personally, I think that would make matters worse. I don't know about in other places but all the McDonalds I've ever been to have terrible communication because the microphones/speakers are so terrible.
Posted by Fay-Fay  on  Sat Mar 19, 2005  at  01:13 AM
$5.15 an hour is a rediculously low price to pay a person, even a person working at McDonalds. Unfortunately, that's the minimum wage for Arizona as well. I refuse to work a job in Arizona unless I'm getting paid over California's minimum wage. That probably explains why I'm an unemployed poor student.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Sat Mar 19, 2005  at  01:30 AM
Fay-Fay said:

"Okay... This is going to sound really dumb but... How can someone outsource working the drive-through? I mean, is there going to be someone in North Dakota with their ear glued to a headset taking orders for something half a state away? Personally, I think that would make matters worse. I don't know about in other places but all the McDonalds I've ever been to have terrible communication because the microphones/speakers are so terrible."

It isn't a rumor, they really are doing it. They've got a "pilot program" going here in the Northwest with a few Mickey D's (they won't say exactly which ones). What they've done is set up a "call center" in North Dakota (you know, just like when you call Customer Service and get a guy in India).

I didn't realize that North Dakota minimum wage was the same as the Federal one, but that explains everything. I figured it was to eliminate some employees, but I didn't realize the remaining ones would be paid starvation wages. Duh, I should have realized: it's Big American Business!
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Mar 19, 2005  at  04:15 AM
I should have remembered Cranky Media Guy's Rule Number One: The more emphasis a company puts on the "family-like" atmosphere of their business, the shittier the job.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Mar 19, 2005  at  04:16 AM
Yeah! Just the other day I saw a McDonalds press gang kidnapping people off the street to work in their restaurant. Then I saw a McDonalds manager forcing people at gun point to buy burgers prepared by slaves chained to a grill.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Sat Mar 19, 2005  at  03:26 PM
from the info available, "outsourcing" is an assumption here.

do we know that they are hiring an outside firm to run the call center?

what's with the marxist rant?

aren't there plenty of people out there who are only worth $5.15 an hour?

i never go there, so they could make a billion dollars a day using remote controlled monkeys for all i care.
Posted by york donkerson  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  02:24 AM
Come to think of it, this does not make a whole lot of sense to me. Each Rotten Ronnie's is an independant franchise, so it's up to the owner of each one to hire their own employees.

Not that it could never happen, stranger things have. If it were true, I would have to guess (yes, guess) that all of the involved "restaurants" were owned by the same person or people.

Any info on that, anyone?
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  02:45 AM
Captain Al said:

"Yeah! Just the other day I saw a McDonalds press gang kidnapping people off the street to work in their restaurant. Then I saw a McDonalds manager forcing people at gun point to buy burgers prepared by slaves chained to a grill."

And your point is...?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  04:17 AM
Rod said:

"Come to think of it, this does not make a whole lot of sense to me. Each Rotten Ronnie's is an independant franchise, so it's up to the owner of each one to hire their own employees."

Not accurate. While many Mickey D's are franchises, there are also a lot which are owned by the corporation. Feel free to ask the next time you're in one; they'll tell you.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  04:18 AM
York Donkerson said:

"i never go there, so they could make a billion dollars a day using remote controlled monkeys for all i care."

I rarely go to Florida so I don't care if it cracks off and sinks into the ocean. I mean, if something doesn't affect you personally, why care about it, right? Compassionate Conservatism at its finest.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  04:22 AM
...not cracking off any time soon...

Okay...from experience, I was getting paid less as shift management at a video store than the 16 yr old down the street who salted fries. $.02 less. And I had just gotten a raise. So they're not underpaid all that much, as far as I'm concerned. The only problem w/ this that I can see is that if they're doing it at a drive thru, why aren't they doing it up front? I spent 5 minutes just STANDING in the lobby of a McDonald's the other day. Not a single person made eye contact or said, "I'll be with you momentarily." There were about 6 employees chatting with each other, milling about the lobby. About 20 more employees behind the counter were laughing, joking, saying dirty words, and generally not doing their job. When I (finally) ordered my cheeseburger I told the CSR, "No onions, extra pickles, & a manager. Thanks." I told the manager that the old man behind me better not get charged for his food b/c he had been standing behind me with his cane waiting for acknowledgement...being a hell of a lot more patient than I had been, and he deserved more respect than that. Also, could he be sure to supervise his employess who apparently didn't know how to keep their traps shut & PC in front of customers.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  07:13 AM
My point, CMG, is that no one is forced to work there and McDonalds is not really obligated to employ any people if they don't want to. So if they feel they should reduce their work force, that's their right, like it or not. They are only doing what every other business owner on the planet is doing and that is keeping costs as low as possible. If they don't do this then maybe their competition will, putting McDonalds at a disadvantage. I guess it only makes sense that they would put it in a place that has the lowest minimum wage. It's up to the people in North Dakota to lobby for an increase in minimum wage if they feel $5.15 is too low. And if consumers feel the employees are being cheated they are well within their rights to go elsewhere.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  11:20 AM
CMG

"...more than 65 per cent of our restaurants are owned and operated by independent business people who hire locally and are committed to giving back to the communities" - The McD Canada website

See what I can find AFTER I post about something I'm not entirely positive about? I hate proving myself wrong, but hey, now I have a new useless bit of knowledge. Thanks for pointing it out.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  01:27 PM
Rod said:

"See what I can find AFTER I post about something I'm not entirely positive about? I hate proving myself wrong, but hey, now I have a new useless bit of knowledge. Thanks for pointing it out."

Hey, you're willing to learn stuff; that's important. I'm sure you've seen how defensive some people around here (and elsewhere) get when they make a mistake. Sheesh, learning about stuff (even trivial stuff like Mickey D's ownership) is half the fun of life. Now all I have to do is figure out what the other half is.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  04:25 PM
Like that stupid "SchoolHouse Rock" series of songs says, "Knowledge is Power". People can philosophize all they want, but philosophy does not make planes stay in the air or burgers cook.

The meaning of life? I know what MY meaning of life is, but that's better discussed elsewhere, methinks.
And no, it's nothing gross or anything, but I think it's a subject all to itself.

As I have said before, I'll be happy if someone can prove me wrong, as long as they can PROVE it and not just say it, because then I will have learned something new.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  06:11 PM
i'll take compassionate conservatism over snarky marxism any day ...

the point is still not addressed: there is so far no justification for claiming that mcdonalds is OUTSOURCING labor. unless you don't care what outsourcing actually means -- then go right ahead and say "they're outsourcing!"

by this standard, they're already outsourcing: fries arrive at the store pre-cut and ready to toss into the fry-o-lator -- what a shame that these local people are denied an opportunity for more work peeling and cutting potatoes!
Posted by york donkerson  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  06:31 PM
Snarky Marxism, huh, york?

Last time I checked it was you with the class distinctions in you post..."aren't there plenty of people out there who are only worth $5.15 an hour?"

out
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  07:01 PM
didn't look at the blogcritics post -- i don't see a source for that info, nor have I seen corroboration. if it is true, that's fine. i'm not on a mission to demonize outsourcing, so it's a management decision from my perspective.

and you're way off in your charge of classism. it's classist to say that different workers with diffent skills and experience should get paid a different wage? let me answer my own question: perhaps from a marxist perspective, yes, that is classism at its most insidious.

my bad.
Posted by york  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  07:21 PM
If you are pissed about this - take a stand, follow through, and DON'T PATRONIZE McDonalds, then!
It's a sweatshop/factory farm to its employees and mass produces products to those standards.
Is this really news to anyone?
Their workers are sadly uniformed about nutrition and what they actually represent to the educated consumer. Plus McD's recruits poor minority groups as a source of cheap labor (minimum wage) within this falsely portrayed 'charitable' and 'family-like' monster of a corporation...do I really need to go on? Is this actually news to anyone?
(But they sponsors the Olympics, you anti-American freak!)
And someone was actually left STANDING in a McD's lobby, NOT greeted w/a warm smile like I saw in the McD's ad featuring the slim, well-spoken, white customer service superstar? An elderly person was ignored and probably actually charged for his delayed meal? Shocking!
For those of you that have not already done so, PLEASE RENT 'SUPERSIZE ME!, read 'Fast Food Nation,' and 'Diet for a New America' by John Robbins while you're at it.
DO SOMETHING ANTI-MC DONALDS. DON'T BUY THEIR STUFF. And if you're not vegan/ vegetarian, at least buy locally raised, organically fed lean ground beef and fry it up at home. (This way you'll be skipping the processing, chemicals, hormones, deep-fried lard, extra calories, outsourcing, and the support of unfair employee pracitices.) Or at least pick up a take-out burger at your local diner. I guarantee you it will taste better and that thestaff is actually working harder for their pay.
McDonald's: 'I'm hatin' it.'
End sermonette.
Posted by Electra  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  07:23 PM
Captain Al said:

"My point, CMG, is that no one is forced to work there and McDonalds is not really obligated to employ any people if they don't want to."

In an absolute, amoral, Libertarian sense, perhaps. The thing is Mickey D's runs ads in which they attempt to portray themselves as "part of the community" (just like Wal-Mart does) and they then turn around and pay people as little as allowable under the law. Is it legal? Yes. Is it "being part of the community?" Not to me, it isn't.

Haven't you noticed that it's almost invariably companies that have been accused of taking advantage of their employees and/or ignoring the wishes of the REAL community which run ads telling you how "family-like" they are? It's a P.R.-based distraction.

"They are only doing what every other business owner on the planet is doing and that is keeping costs as low as possible. If they don't do this then maybe their competition will, putting McDonalds at a disadvantage."

That, of course, if a BIG part of the problem. It isn't only McDonalds that acts like that; it's all of big business. One company does it, so their competition does it and the wheel goes round and round.

"I guess it only makes sense that they would put it in a place that has the lowest minimum wage."

Well, yes, if you assume that they have NO obligation to do anything for the communities they operate in. Ever notice that when corporations want relief from some tax or government regulation they defend it on the grounds that they are "providing jobs to the community?" Then they take jobs OUT of the community and say, "Well, we have to do this to stay competitive." The bottom line is, they don't give a damn about the "community" and only use that when they think it will cause "warm and fuzzy" feelings toward them.

"It's up to the people in North Dakota to lobby for an increase in minimum wage if they feel $5.15 is too low. And if consumers feel the employees are being cheated they are well within their rights to go elsewhere."

On these points, we agree.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  08:07 PM
Yay, go Electra!

I never ate at McDonald's to being with, I've hated their food even when I was a kid, but after watching Super Size Me, that just sealed the deal.

And you should NEVER feel like you have to "stand around" waiting to be acknowledged. That's why the words EXCUSE ME were invented. Personally, I think if you were waiting in the lobby that long, you should have just walked out. They probably spit in your food anyway.
Posted by Sarah  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  08:10 PM
For anyone who actually cares, the original article from "The Oregonian" is here...
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1106398522172300.xml#continue

Also, the company is called SEI-CCS, not CCS-SEI, so the link in the blogcritics article doesn't work.

Their actual website is http://www.seiccs.com/

Maybe sending them email or phoning them will get some answers, and stop the debate right there.

Have fun with that.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  08:40 PM
At least CMG and I agree on one thing. But I think he is forgetting who 'Big Business' really is. Today they are publicly traded corporatations owned by thousands (or milllions) of shareholders from all walks of life. That's you and me. And we certainly don't mind if it makes us a little money, do we? If it didn't, we wouldn't hesitate to drop that fund like a hot french fry.

If McDonalds wants to run fluffy ads, let them. You don't really believe them, do you? Is it wrong for them to claim to be part of the community and pay minimum wage? I don't think so. Lots of private citizens don't support charities but they consider themselves part of the community. As long as a business pays its corporate tax, it has fulfilled its obligations just like everyone else. Any contributions to charities should be considered a bonus. For many young people, a fast food job is their first. They gain valuable job skills to take with them to the next one. They were never meant to be careers. But if someone chooses to drop out of school to flip burgers, they don't have my sympathy. Amoral, libertarianism? No, just real world common sense.

The wage thing by the way, is a double-edged sword. I know a town where fast food places pay more than double the minimum wage. Why? Because they can't get enough workers. But I don't hear those employees saying. "Well everywhere else they work for minimum wage so we can only accept that amout.", nor would I expect them to.

Competition helps ensure the consumer gets the best value. Our elected officials are responsible to make sure it is done in a fair way and punish those who break the rules. If they don't, they are at fault. We should be kicking their asses, not corportation's. If employers want to outsource to get an advantage, then we shouldn't stop them. What makes a mayor in Oregon think his town is any more deserving of those jobs than a town in North Dakota?
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Mar 21, 2005  at  01:58 PM
McDonald's has outsourced its drive-thru orders to the same communications group that operated GWBs earpiece during last year's debates. Want lies with that?
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Mar 21, 2005  at  02:38 PM
The local McDonalds was one of those that outsourced the order taking. They stopped it fairly soon bcause the expected time savings didn't show up. Seems that the order takers screwed up the orders fairly regularly, so the window people had to prepare the order twice.
Posted by sthorne  on  Mon Mar 21, 2005  at  03:47 PM
As an aside, another way McDonalds could save money through outsourcing is not just by being able to pay their employees less, but then they can have each employee using the ear piece work at a few different McDonalds all over the country. So, in theory they could hire less employees overall and pay them less each.

Though, now that I wrote that I see the fault. Each individual McDonalds still probably would need the same amount of people working just to put the orders together, so it would actually cause McD's to have to hire more employees with the outsourcing.

Well, if they really want to save money, they should outsource it to Mexico! ...I was just going to make a joke by writing "Do you want fries with that?" in spanish before I realized I don't really know any spanish.....Oh well, jokes on me then.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Mon Mar 21, 2005  at  06:02 PM
Hairy said:

"McDonald's has outsourced its drive-thru orders to the same communications group that operated GWBs earpiece during last year's debates. Want lies with that?"

Would you like to Super Size those lies?

So McDonald's is going to invade Iran now?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Mar 21, 2005  at  08:11 PM
McD's is gonna invade Iran? With what- Happy Meals? Get Syrias
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Mar 21, 2005  at  08:37 PM
McDonalds is outsourcing to states and areas where the order takers speak English. Over the last 5 years the conplaint on limited speaking order takers has been on going problem.
The complaint are in the thousands.
Posted by Kit  on  Tue Mar 22, 2005  at  08:55 PM
I also disagree with McDonalds for locating its new company in state with a low minimum wage. Wouldn't it be a better business decision to put it somewhere where the minimum wage is even higher!?! HAhaha, they dont know anything about running a business. O yea, HAHAHA! I forgot, the outsourcing thing, what the hell are they thinking??!!!! They actually believe that someone completely undistracted and doing something they do every single day, over and over again is going to be more accurate and faster than an employee taking orders while trying to prepare massive ass orders where most of the sandwiches have to be made special, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, while being glared at by bitchy ass customers on the front counter who believe they could do better, and who will never respect him because he works fast food, all while being lectured by his manager about how he expects him to get the drive thru times down. I mean duh! Of course that over worked stressed out employee is going to take a more accurate order, he's in the mode, ya know? I cant believe the things McDonalds thinks of for its employees. What a burden ... door knob corporate McDonald think alots. If it wasn't for the rapid promotions, the pay increases, and benefits offered to outstanding employees, the whole thing would sink like a stone. Who needs em, hopefully the fat bumbs suing the original fast food company will drain all of their money. Who needs em.
Posted by P MAN!!!  in  AMERICA  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  04:51 PM
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