In this file:


·         McDonald's has plan to make its drive-thrus faster

… It's testing express lines for people who place digital orders ahead of time, as well as dedicated pickup spots and automated ordering…


·         McDonald's franchisees face company inspections amid 'COVID fatigue'

·         Former McDonald’s worker sues, alleging retaliation for speaking out about COVID-19 concerns



McDonald's has plan to make its drive-thrus faster


By Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

via St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) - Nov 14, 2020


(CNN) -- McDonald's wants to improve drive-thru speeds — to help customers, of course, but also in hopes of getting them to show up more often and spend more when they visit.


On Monday, the chain unveiled its plans for a better drive-thru experience during an investor update. It's testing express lines for people who place digital orders ahead of time, as well as dedicated pickup spots and automated ordering.


The drive-thru has become even more important for restaurant chains during the pandemic, when people want to avoid dining rooms and prefer contactless payment. For McDonald's, it could also help solve a pre-pandemic problem: Losing customers to rivals.


Prior to the crisis, the company was losing customers to fast casual chains and higher-end burger joints. It was also facing more competition during breakfast, the most important meal of the day for fast food companies.


The number of transactions at its US restaurants open at least 13 months slipped 1.9% in 2019, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


The promise of a swift, seamless experience, plus new products like the McPlant plant-based burger and crispy chicken sandwich, which the company unveiled Monday, could help bring customersback, noted Morningstar analyst RJ Hottovy...





McDonald's franchisees face company inspections amid 'COVID fatigue'


By Hilary Russ, Reuters  

November 13, 2020


NEW YORK (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp MCD.N franchisees will be inspected by the company to ensure compliance with safety standards as coronavirus cases surge again and "COVID fatigue" sets in, according to an internal note seen by Reuters on Friday.


“It is apparent we are entering what many predicted would be the most difficult period of the pandemic,” said the note, from McDonald’s Chief Field Officer Charlie Strong and two U.S. franchisees who lead internal relations with the corporation.


The so-called “safety reaffirmation visits” were developed jointly with franchisees, the note said, will also be applicable at company-owned stores and should be concluded by Dec. 31.


The pandemic prompted widespread changes in how restaurants conduct business, with many relying more on drive-thrus, carry out and delivery.


U.S. sales at most restaurants plunged in April, the first month when the deadly virus took hold here. Most big chains, including McDonald’s, have seen steady recovery since then.


McDonald’s owners were also urged in the note to ensure that drive-thrus contain equipment that allows customers to use credit cards without having to hand them to cashiers, and that staff inside are separated by protective panels when social distancing is not possible...





Former McDonald’s worker sues, alleging retaliation for speaking out about COVID-19 concerns

Other McDonald’s workers continue to file complaints about alleged conditions inside certain restaurants.


By Elvia Malagón, Chicago Sun Times (IL)

Nov 13, 2020


A former McDonald’s worker in Chicago is suing a franchise operator, accusing the owner of retaliating against him for speaking out about conditions at the fast food chain during the coronavirus pandemic.


Ryan Freeman, 30, of Chicago, filed the lawsuit Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, to get his job back at the fast food restaurant at 207 E. 35th St., in Bronzeville. Freeman was among those who previously sought legal action against McDonald’s because of working conditions during the pandemic.


Freeman declined to be interviewed but released a statement saying he believed the chain was trying to silence Black workers like himself though it had made statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.


“I spoke out because McDonald’s dropped the ball in protecting me and my co-workers from getting sick,” Freeman said in a statement. “But instead of listening to my concerns, they got rid of me to try to shut me up. We have the right to know if one of our co-workers got COVID and that we might be putting our lives and our families lives at risk.”


In a statement, Akins Akinnagbe, the owner of the Bronzeville restaurant, said he had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit, but he intended to challenge it.


“Upon purchasing my franchise from another organization, my team assessed our needs, followed our normal hiring process and hired approximately 50% of the employees from the previous organization,” Akinnagbe said in the statement. “Our organization is proud to offer employment and opportunity to a diverse local workforce and serve the community delicious food every day.”


In May, Freeman was among nine McDonald’s workers and their family members who filed a lawsuit against the restaurant because of working conditions. A preliminary injunction was granted in June that called for the chain to train its employees on social distancing and enforce mask-wearing policies, according to court records.


Freeman had worked at the Bronzeville restaurant since July 2019 while also working at another location, according to the lawsuit. He was terminated from the second location in February but continued to work at the Bronzeville location until about May, according to the lawsuit. He temporarily stopped going to work after learning a co-worker had tested positive for COVID-19.


During that time period and as litigation from the May lawsuit continued, the Bronzeville restaurant changed ownership, and workers were asked to reapply for their jobs, according to the lawsuit. Freeman was among those who reapplied for his job at the location and underwent an interview, the lawsuit stated.


But a week after he testified in court about the alleged conditions at McDonald’s, he was told on June 11 that he would not be given a job because of attendance problems Freeman had at another McDonald’s location, according to the lawsuit...