McDonald's Just Shut Down Its Offices Amid Major Restructuring and Layoffs
McDonald's is the undeniable king in the world of fast food, but it won't rest on its laurels anytime soon as it eyes even more expansion and innovation for the brand in 2023. However, the latest change that seems to be underway at McDonald's as it pursues growth won't be a welcome one for an unlucky segment of the chain's employees.
The brand is reportedly planning to let go of some corporate staff as part of a major restructuring and has temporarily shut down its offices in the United States this week in order to remotely inform employees who didn't make the cut. The exact number of staff who may be laid off and the type of roles that may be eliminated remains unclear at this time.
The layoffs discussion began back in January of this year, when CEO Chris Kempczinski said that the company was planning "difficult" decisions on staffing levels by April as part of a larger strategic plan.
"Some jobs that are existing today are either going to get moved or those jobs may go away," Kempczinski told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.
Kempczinski didn't say exactly how many jobs could be in danger, but did note that he expected to save money due to the workforce restructuring. McDonald's said in February that it employs more than 150,000 globally in corporate jobs and its company-owned restaurants, with 70% of those positions located outside of the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Now that April has arrived, McDonald's is reportedly moving forward with its plans to let go of an unknown number of employees. The Wall Street Journal, citing an internal company email, reported Sunday that the chain instructed employees in the United States and some international workers to work from home starting today through Wednesday so that it can break the news on staffing decisions virtually.
"During the week of April 3, we will communicate key decisions related to roles and staffing levels across the organization," McDonald's said in the message.
While the official reason behind the reported layoffs is unknown, the chain's Accelerating the Arches initiative included pillars for marketing, restaurant development, core menu items, digital innovation, and "Accelerating the Organization." The last is aimed at making McDonald's "faster, more innovative, and more efficient." And while McDonald's surpassed predictions on sales and revenue in the fourth quarter of 2022, Kempczinski wrote in a January memo to employees that there were issues with how the company worked internally.
"Today, we're divided into silos with a center, segments, and markets. This approach is outdated and self-limiting—we are trying to solve the same problems multiple times, aren't always sharing ideas and can be slow to innovate," Kempczinski said. "Our customers and people don't think of our brand from the viewpoint of markets or segments, and neither can we."
McDonald's was contacted for confirmation and comment on the reported office closures and layoffs but did not immediately respond.
Even before the major company restructuring was announced, this year has already been an eventful one for McDonald's. The chain has announced several new menu items in 2023, including the new Strawberry Shortcake McFlurry, a classic lemonade, and two limited edition flavors of the McCrispy chicken sandwich line, which was also renamed. It also debuted its latest celebrity meal collaboration in February with married rappers Cardi B and Offset, though the partnership hasn't gone without controversy.