UK:Retailers up and down the high street have been bemoaning their lack of customers, wondering where Joe Public and his wallet have gone, but perhaps they need only look next door. McDonald’s has been so busy that yesterday it unveiled plans to recruit 4,000 staff over the next three months – its biggest employment drive since the beginning of the decade.
Steve Easterbrook, chief executive of McDonald’s in the UK, reported that the fast food giant was serving two million more customers (or rather two million more meals) a month than a year ago. The company needs to boost staff numbers to cope with demand.
“I believe there’s a new reality. Families still want to eat out but clearly they have a less money in their pockets and are searching for value,” Mr Easterbrook said. “Why go out and spend £40 on a meal for four when you can come to McDonald’s and spend £20?” Thus like-for-like sales across the group’s 1,200 restaurants in the UK, employing 67,000 staff, were up by more than 10 per cent over the first half of the year and May was the group’s second-busiest month on record.
McDonald’s, which serves about 60 million customers each month, has been opening restaurants earlier and closing them later. The recruitment drive will be backed by advertisements highlighting the benefits of a “McJob” – the phrase coined by critics in the past to sum up the low wages and poor prospects at McDonald’s. Times and tastes, it seems, may be changing.