retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Fox News reports that "West Michigan McDonald’s franchise owners are helping some of their employees go back to school.  The workers, who all have a native language other than English, are taking a 22 week 'English under the Arches' class."

“This is a big confidence booster for the employees who tend to shy away from having that conversation with the customer," says McDonald’s Operations Consultant Lance Brewer. "This will give them the confidence and empower them.  Having employees at the front counter who are capable of dealing with everybody is going to be important in improving the customer experience for sure ... We want to make sure they’re equipped not only to serve our customers here in the restaurant, but also to have a good conversation with their teachers, with their college teachers, or the teachers of their children.  So English Under the Arches gives them the confidence to do that at work and their everyday life, and that’s extremely important to us."
KC's View:
Interesting timing, since in the marketing class I've been team-teaching at Portland State University, we had a long discussion a few weeks ago about corporate social responsibility ... and the class talked a lot about how - or if - a company like McDonald's could show such responsibility when it serves food that is essentially crap.

The conversation was so intense that we decided to put the question on the mid-term: if you ran CSR for McDonald's, what would you do? And the response in many of the essays included education - that they would do their best to offer educational benefits to employees.

I think this is a smart move by the McDonald's franchisees ... it is good for the employees and good for the customers, which means that it will in the long run be good for the business.