McDonald's Manager

McDonald's Manager


Lombard, IL

Male, 33

I *was* an assistant manager for a McDonald's Franchisee in Tucson, AZ from 2007 to 2008, and was hired with the explicit intention of being management and not a standard crew member. I worked hard in learning the procedures and processes of the corporation, with a goal of a much longer career than I actually had. My every day life evolved while I was there, starting from the least desirable position to overall operations. I wrote a blog detailing my experiences as well.

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133 Questions


Last Answer on March 02, 2014

Best Rated

Why is the McRib only seasonal?

Asked by Jonas over 11 years ago

This I do not know first hand - the Tucson market did not have McRib while I worked there. However, if I were to take an educated guess it's marketing. People desire the unattainable. Frankly, I think the McRib is pretty gross - I'd prefer the Rib sandwich from am/pm (alas poor am/pm) if I wanted to hate myself for a while. However, because you cannot always get it, people get nostalgic about it when it's gone and really, really want it when it comes back. Here's a huffington post article about it that seems to agree somewhat:

Were you proud or embarrassed to tell people you worked at McDonald's?

Asked by HotKara over 11 years ago

I was never embarrassed about telling people I worked at McDonald's. I looked for this job, and in fact had to convince the Owner/Operator and his Operations Manager that I in fact wanted to work for McDonald's and was not just trying for any port in a storm. McDonald's is one of the most successful franchise operations in the world - providing growth and wealth opportunities to thousands of small business owners - in 2007 there were 33,000 stores and 60% of them were franchises. McDonald's is the second most recognized brand in the world, behind Coca-cola. McDonald's spends millions each year on innovating new products and refining existing products. They also spend millions each year on improving their processes and procedures, resulting in some of the finest business management and operations management training available. Quite frankly, a manager for McDonald's can get on the order of $15,000 worth of college education for free just for working there. Granted it's industry specific, but it's still there - through the various management training programs, all of which end are accredited. Many of the skills can be taken anywhere else - especially the focus on how to develop skills in others, the coaching process, and inventory management. I was quite proud of the achievements I made in the short and long term while working there, especially the achievements with people. Several of the people I worked with thought they had the world's worst, dead-end job. A job they were working as a bandage against destitution. I think i did a lot of work with many of those people, helping them see that even when you do something that you don't love, even if it doesn't pay you the best, you can turn it into a learning opportunity and take advantage of the chance to grow your own skills and personality. Several of the employees who were "slackers" when I first started working with them grew into dedicated and hardworking individuals after some guidance and coaching. I'm remarkably proud of that. I also taught (and learned) about diversity and helped develop (and gain) stronger interpersonal skills, working with people who were nothing like me for a common goal. That's another thing I'm proud of - helping turn the environment of my McDonald's into a short-term and long-term goal setting organization. In the store I worked at most, we went from being low-quality, poor customer service, high service times and in a matter of a few months, we had a much higher quality expectation (some of it being enforced by the "worst" staff members when I got there), we had sparkling customer service skills (even from some of the most hatchet-faced and unhappy suckers you ever met), and our speed of service was reduced significantly. I'm definitely proud of the role I played in helping make those things come around.

What position is considered lowest man on the totem pole at McDonald's? Fry cook? Drive-thru? Cashier?

Asked by mira over 11 years ago

In terms of hardest job: Grill. Totally the grill. You have to bust hump over two or four 440 degree planes of metal with grease steam billowing up at you non-stop. Not only that, you have to be sure you are keeping up exactly with the "levels", the expected volume of cooked, ready meat, at all times. You also need to be sure to keep your eyes on the temperature of the grills so they stay within appropriate boundaries, watch timers on the grills to be sure that you're cooking meat the appropriate time, make sure the meat appears to be cooked thoroughly, and several times a day take internal temperatures on meat. Along with this, in lower volume stores (this does *not* mean 'slow' stores, as they almost never exist), the grill person also has to prepare all the non-potato fried foods (primarily the many kinds of chicken and fish served). This is much worse at night when the store is staffed with fewer people, because the same person is then responsible for preparing the food, as well as making sure the work area is clean, sanitary, safe and stocked. Closing is the worst for this person, because the grill cleaning process is a horrible, steamy, fumey, smelly mess that irritates the hell out of your nose and eyes - then after all this they have to empty out large, thin grease traps. There's supposed to be a vacuum system to clean these out with, but they always seem to be broken more often than operational. In terms of the least demanding job (and therefore the job for the least capable): front cashier. This job is easy peasy most of the time, and the responsibilities are all light. This job is difficult only when the preparation of food and serving of it slows down because you can only take so many orders and stare at people waiting for so long - all the while being pretty much helpless to do much about it. Another time it's difficult is when a van load of kids comes in from a sport/outing and you have to serve 40 ice cream cones and sundaes in the course of 5 minutes.

Was your store forced to stay open on big holidays?

Asked by Lonewolf over 11 years ago

Absolutely. We closed early, but were absolutely open. There was one incident on Thanksgiving 2007 that stands out in my mind. A pair of limos pull up to the front of the store. Out comes a massive family - at least 20 people all looking alike (you could tell it was family), about 4 generations worth. The least fancily dressed person was a man in dress pants, a really nice sweater and a dress shirt underneath - all the other men were in suit and tie, the women in nice dresses with their hair done up. They came in and had Thanksgiving dinner in their fancy attire. Totaled out to about $250. It was kind of strange. None of them giggled like it was funny or a joke, and they said grace.

just wanna say i love this thread. my dad managed a BK for nearly two decades and his management experience there took him very far after that. what are you doing now?

Asked by anna1 over 11 years ago

Thanks! You might also like my blog. It's been dead for a while, but I get tons of feedback (and way more hits than I ever thought I would, even to this day) from current McDonald's employees who want more advice. Currently I work for a multinational technology company that provides end-user, retail-style support to a variety of white-label partners in telecommunications, retail, and more. I was a technician for this company for a bit more than a year before advancing into a quality assurance role, which has a heavy focus on coaching and guiding technicians in policies and procedures. I was actually lucky enough to be able to help form the quality assurance department here, and have been a pivotal factor in guiding many people into successful execution of their roles in this corporation for 14 months now. As an aside, my eldest sister worked at Burger King for 2 years as a crew member before being made manager, then progressing to a store management position. While she's worked for Burger King off-and-on for a total of 20 years or so, she's also been district or regional management for a variety of businesses, including car dealerships, leather goods retailers, and clothing retailers. The only people who really "look down" on fast food experiences, especially management ones, are people who never worked it or who did work there but had a horrible experience - almost certainly due to their own efforts. It's my opinion that any experience can be a bad one if you try hard enough making it such.

Was your McDonald's ever held up by robbers? What were you trained to do in those situations?

Asked by mcdowells over 11 years ago

I have been robbed at gunpoint several times, but never while working for McDonald's. McDonald's has explicit and mandatory training that is part of the Day 1 training program for every employee regarding what to do in a robbery situation. Do what you're told, do not act brave, do not fight back, give them anything that they ask for that they want. Money, product, fixtures are all replaceable but your life is not. We also had silent alarm buttons near every register, in the kitchen area, in the stock area, even in the walk in freezers. Other policies exist to minimize the likelihood of robbery. No one is ever in a McDonald's store alone. Opening manager and staff are to meet up away from the store itself (at a nearby corner, another business nearby, etc) and then travel together to the store. Opening managers also are required to make at least one circle around the restaurant in a vehicle if possible checking all doors, making sure only the lights that are supposed to be on are on, checking for any movement through all windows, make sure no one is creeping around the store, or anything else suspicious. In fact, I called the police one morning when I showed up and the door was partly open - they came quickly and make a quick run through the store to make sure no one was there. Turns out the closing manager didn't lock up well. Other procedures include not taking trash out at night, never opening back doors at night, never allow anyone into the store for any reason after closing the dining area, don't allow non-staff members behind the counter, etc. Closing managers should make sure that everyone leaves together and the doors are locked up and no one is left alone waiting for a ride or something of that nature. After closing, a circuit around the store should be made to ensure no one is "creeping" around the outside of the store then either. I don't know why anyone would actually rob a McDonald's. Several procedures are in place to minimize the available cash at any given time. Some of these include time-locked safes and the register reminding that a cash drop must be made after $100 is in it, and most stores use systems that refuse to take any further orders once $150 has been exceeded. Only registers that are actually in use have drawers in them, and all cash drops are made by putting the cash into a slot in the register. Stores with more than $1000 in business generally need to do two deposits per day. So all in all, McDonald's is not a very good target.

you must've seen this at some point:
what was your policy if a customer wanted to order breakfast a few min after the cutoff time? why is mcdonalds such a stickler about that?

Asked by yellfire over 11 years ago

Falling Down is a great movie. Depending on what product was still fresh and servable, you could possibly get breakfast items a few minutes after "changeover". However, because of the precision of McDonald's "level" system, which dictates how much of each product is prepared per 15 or 30 minute time segment (based upon how long the food can "sit" while maintaining quality and safety), there rarely is food that was prepared and is still servable after the changeover period. These levels are based on historical sales, real world events and current traffic. To elaborate: At 10:15, with breakfast ending at 10:30, the last projected required sausage, biscuits and muffins would be prepared. At 10:20, the last projected required eggs, hashbrowns and ham are prepared. At 10:25, a quick clean of the grill is done, all the temperatures of the fryers are changed (hash browns and french fries cook at different temperatures for different times, as do the breakfast vs. lunch chicken products), the grill temperatures are changed (eggs and sausage are each cooked at different temperatures than burgers), and all of the "on hand" stock of breakfast items are switched out for "on hand" stock of lunch items (in small reach-in freezers/coolers). Also at this time, the holding cabinets (big cabinets that have many trays/racks with different temperature compartments and timers based on the product they hold) are set for all the lunch items, with usually just a few slots remaining for the last few projected required breakfast items. All of the breakfast breads - biscuits, muffins, bagels - will get pulled from the reach-in freezers will get moved to the walk-in freezers and bun stacks will be set up Also, immediately after this cleaning/temp changes are done, lunch food gets prepared. Burgers start getting made to fit projection/early lunch orders, chicken products (which generally take from 4 to 8 minutes to cook) are cooking, and fries (3m40s to 4m20s) are dropped into fryers. This is so that the appropriate projected level of product can be available as soon as we advertise that we're selling lunch products. ((Rereading this I've realized that apparently all this McDonald's talk, 4 years later, has reignited my sense of ownership. By "we" I mean "they".)) At 10:30, maybe 10:32, all breakfast items are "wasted" (that is: thrown out and accounted for), because they've generally reached a time that they are no longer fit for serving, either due to safety or quality concerns. If you're lucky right at the switch, at 10:30 on the nose, you might be able to get some of these last few breakfast items, but likely not. Again, those projection levels are really precise so there generally isn't much - if the store is well run and adheres to policies. So, the reason why McDonald's is such a stickler is that the same equipment is used to prepare both breakfast and lunch items, but at vastly different temperatures. Also, you can't very well make a batch of eggs then slap burgers down on that part of the grill, even if you could cook them at the same temperatures. It takes time to switch from being able to make breakfast foods to lunch foods. All of the condiments get switched out, they're made with vastly different products for the most part, and there simply isn't room to serve both simultaneously. So - either come in when they advertise that they're serving breakfast or eat lunch. Deal with it. I will add that many restaurants that serve breakfast all day, or lunch during breakfast have vastly different set-ups. They also serve half as many customers throughout the day as a McDonald's does, if they're lucky, so there *is* room to sell both all day, or to reserve a single grill and fryer just for breakfast food prep. Or their corporate office splits the difference on quality and determines that just because French fries shouldn't be cooked at 550 degrees like hash browns and french toast sticks are, doesn't mean you *can't*!