Golden Arches, Take II
The golden arches have forever been a small source of satisfaction for millions of folks. As a young person… I was introduced to A&W drive trough’s until I moved south in the early 60’s.
On the way south there were the famous Burma Shave signs to keep one entertained on long car trips and finally the Golden Arches.
Before Trans-fats became evil …. Their French Fries were the Best!
Second to McDonald’s, later in life a place called Arbys. It was not until the early 70’s do I remember them as being a staple on the fast food fast track of life. Their fries were awesome! They screwed that up by the way, with those hideous curly seasoned things…Yuck!
They would serve them in cups back then, much like the cups that the drinks came in. It was a toss-up really, if I were going after the sandwich or the fries.
As a young person, I worked for the King of Burgers or Burger King. There for $2.10 an hour I slaved away with a team of my peers making and selling burgers.
Wearing that nylon polyester orange and yellow zip up shirt, that would more than likely com busts if I got too close to the flames, I made countless burgers. We had good fries as well but here is the thing. We were taught customer service. For $2.10 an hour, we worked until after one in the morning where I would finish by putting the food up and cleaning up the place. Then I would ride my bicycle home in any kind of weather. It was about 2 miles and oh by the way, I still was expected to go to school the next day and if my grades suffered, the job went away.
Before I talk about the “Golden Arches”, I would like to say … I appreciated that job and I think that every child should work in the food services industry while going to school.
Firstly, you learn what an entry-level job is and what it is about. You learn some skills even if it is simply getting somewhere at an appointed time and doing something for your shift.
If you are fortunate like I was, you learn what customer service is and, you might even learn some remedial cooking skills. Most certainly, you will learn some skills regarding sanitation and cleanliness. You get more out of it if you will put something into it.
Burger King paid more than minimum wage. When I worked there, minimum wage was $1.80. .30 cents an hour to the entitled class seems like nothing but when gas was .50 cents a gallon guess what….thirty cents added up.
Working in this industry really makes you appreciate a real job when you get one and by the way, it will drive you to secure one. Cleaning those damned walk-ins every Sunday was a bloody nightmare, but I did it and never complained.
Many things happen when you get your first job.
You actually learn time management as you have to juggle school and work and oh yes, sleep. The schedule is tough, I am not going to sugar coat it, and there is little time for play.
Riding a bike home in the snow, at 1 in the morning actually builds character if you can fathom that…
I could have asked my parents to come get me. What would that do? What would I learn in that deal, how to guilt my parents? I knew that this was about me…It was about learning who I was.
The first paycheck is a revelation as well. When you get your first check for $200 for two long ass weeks work and you see that $35 of it was taken out for taxes…What a kick in the gut! What was this Fica and other taxes on there. “This is not even a real job, can they do that!? I learned some basic economics.”
Well, it is a real job and those are real dollars being taken from you for the beginnings of a socialistic society, which has been going on since Woodrow Wilson.
Fast-forward 30 years….
A few (18) months ago, I stopped into a McDonalds in East Texas. I was traveling and had little time so truthfully, fast food was called for.
As many know, the bathroom is a critical part of any visit to a fast food place for a number of reasons.
The most obvious is that you are traveling. I hope that in a restaurant the bathroom will be clean. I have never ever stopped into a place and just used their facilities and not patronized them, never! All of that cost money and to me doing that would be “theft of service.”
The visit to East Texas was a bad experience. The bathroom was a wreck.
If the bathroom is not kept up, you can guess what the kitchen will look like or at the very least, they may not be paying attention to how the take care of the food. This is the second and I would argue more important reason to visit the bathroom, in any place you intend to eat.
There were many things wrong with this restaurant, so much so that I took notes, pictures and contacted the corporate office. For all of my time and effort they sent me a form letter business card coupon for a free quarter pounder…I tossed it into the bin… I was not looking for anything other than for them to fix the problem.
Years, well 18 months or so have passed and I finally broke with tradition and went back to the Golden Arches this week leaving the well-established Whataburger and Chick filet habit for a Quarter pounder, fries and a Doctor Pepper.
This was after 2 in the afternoon, there were three cars in total in the line, one in front of me ordering. After waiting over 5 minutes, the person in front of me finally pulled ahead. I am a patient person but had someone not pulled in behind me, I might have headed back to Whataburger, as they are very predictable. “Keep that in mind, I want to get back to that fact.”
Pulling up to place my order, there was nothing. Saying hello several times, a person in a very low voice said “just a minute.” I think that is what they said. A van behind me full of a family started to get impatient, looking at me like I was the holdup. He then started yelling at me “what is the problem!”
Pointing at the box, then raising my hands while making eye contact with him was the universal language for “cool your jets!” It is not me holding this up.
Finally, she took my order and on the screen, she indeed got it correct.
Pulling forward to the “first window,” a young woman took my card and charged close to $8.00 for this meager meal…ok…just get the food and I will leave.
At the second window, it takes another several minutes with the guy in the van giving me the stink eye once again, thinking that I am the holdup…nope…just waiting on my food. #3…Dr.Pepper…simple.
The folks behind the counter have a robot that makes the drinks now.
Instead of what I remember as a K-Way, they have a robot where they put in the proper cup and hit a button. A set amount of ice fills the cup and a set amount of sugary drink fills the cup the rest of the way. Sweet…right?
Grabbing my food, I thanked her and left, before the person in the van became agitated further and did something stupid. “Can you imagine having to get into a fight with some hot head in line at a fast food place because the people inside have something very wrong?”
The meal was two thirds correct. I got Diet Coke instead of Dr.Pepper. People, diet drinks are evil! I would rather drink tap water than that crap. I have no idea what chemicals are in diet drinks. I was not going back and probably will not go back.
Remember what I said about consistent?
The secret to Ray Kroc success was in large part, no matter where in the world that you went, if you went to eat at the golden arches the food was consistent in taste and quality.
Another secret to his wealth was real estate. That is another story.
In this day of different fast food places, an Icon like McDonalds needs to get back to what made it great. Consistent food quality, at a good price, with quality customer service. McDonalds hires and trains many first time workers. I do not know what has changed in their management, but something is amiss.
With more and more robots, there will be fewer people needed as the idiots in government seek to put their nose in the business of business’s trying to tell them how to run their company, and order them to pay a certain wage. Fast food places are not, and were never meant to be careers! They pretty much idiot proof the process, so they can hire kids and hopefully teach them some remedial skills along the way.
More and more companies will go overseas and, more and more companies will replace people with automation.
We see it in the stores everyday with self-checkout and fewer checkers. I just wonder when I am going to be asked to go up and self-stock the shelves.
Would it be too much to pull into a gas station, look out the window and say “fill er up?”
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