Oak Brook-based McDonald’s Corp. is offering voluntary buyouts to employees, according to published reports.
Sources who said they received the offers told Crain’s Chicago Business several hundred office workers received buyout offers. Crain’s reported the packages were being offered to employees at the director level and above and are scheduled to begin in July.
McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey, while not confirming the buyouts, reiterated the company is in the midst of a turnaround plan launched by CEO Steve Easterbrook last year, which looks to save the global fast food chain $500 million by the end of 2017.
“Building a better McDonald’s involves modernizing our business so we can better deliver on our customers’ expectations,” Hickey said in an email. “While we do not take these steps lightly, we are confident they will help us put our customers back at the center of everything we do.”
Crain’s also reported earlier this week that McDonald’s is near a deal to leave its Oak Brook headquarters and move to the former Harpo Studios campus in Chicago.
The company has been working to stem a long-term slide in its U.S. sales, which dropped 3 percent in the United States in 2015 alone. Easterbrook has led a number of initiatives in the company since taking over as CEO in 2015, including reducing corporate staff, revamping drive-through ordering to make it more efficient and experimenting with innovations such as touch-screen menus. The company’s move to serve its breakfast menu all day was a success, pushing up U.S. sales 5 percent by the end of last year.
In addition to staff and operational changes, the company has also become the poster child in the national debate over raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Roughly 2,000 protesters marched near the Oak Brook headquarters last month as the company held its annual shareholders meeting, demanding the company raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Inside the meeting, a shareholder addressed the issue and asked Easterbrook if the company would turn to machines to replace workers if wages are increased.
Easterbrook said the company would always have “an important human element” because it’s in the service business. He said the kiosks and other technology options are being embraced by customers, and aren’t intended as labor replacement.
“I don’t see it being a risk to job elimination,” he said.
Source: Daily Herald