How can you get over work at McDonalds
The corona pandemic has had a major impact on all of our lives in recent months. At McDonald’s, too, there have been some changes as part of the measures to contain the virus.
In an interview, Thomas Haller, McDonald’s restaurant manager in Unterhaching, explains exactly what that meant for business processes in the branches. He also tells how he and his employees experienced and managed the exceptional situation and what measures were taken to protect guests and employees in the best possible way now that the interior areas have been reopened.
Thomas Haller has been with McDonald’s since 2008. Since then, he has held all positions in the restaurant - from crew members in the rotation system to managers. At McDonald’s, he particularly likes the contact with the guests and a day-to-day work that always offers something new and thus never gets boring.
We are all still concerned with the Corona crisis at the moment, including at McDonald’s. In the beginning, politics took action relatively quickly and also restricted the operation of our restaurants throughout Germany. How did you experience the sometimes hectic early days of the pandemic?
TH: There are a couple of points. First of all, the McDrive was still open with us, of course in compliance with the security measures. So that the guests could see that the restaurant is open despite the corona pandemic, the head office provided us directly with advertising material. That was great and once again brought many guests to the drive-in. At the beginning there was of course great uncertainty among the employees in the restaurant, precisely because we also have older employees who belong to the risk group and were afraid of being infected with the virus. However, we mastered this situation very quickly through discussion groups and clarification. Due to the focus on the McDrive, the right cast was very important there. We had to deploy sufficient and above all qualified personnel to be able to operate the many cars quickly. The employees all had to get used to a little bit first and sometimes also learn new positions, since the in-store cash registers, for example, no longer existed. For that, constant training with them was the most important thing.
Does that mean there were really a lot more guests at the McDrive than usual?
TH: Exactly. Most of the guests who would normally have come to the restaurant have now used the McDrive.
How did the switch to pure take-away sales via the McDrive work in your eyes?
TH: Because of the increase in the number of guests at the McDrive, it took a while, of course, but with employee training and sufficient staff, the changeover worked well. One challenge, however, was to keep the necessary distance between the employees. The colleagues were simply not used to working with so many people on the drive. We used a few tricks here. For example, the cash register in the restaurant was completely reprogrammed on the McDrive by IT, so that out-of-home orders could also be taken here. This enabled the employees to work at a greater distance from one another. In addition, it was initially a bit difficult with the mouth and nose protection in the kitchen because of the open grill and the heat.
Did you take special measures there? For example, rotates more often so that employees don't spend as long a time at the hot grill?
TH: Exactly. We have specially trained the employees so that everyone can work in any position. So you can go out into the fresh air more often in between. Motivation is the most important thing for employees, especially in such a situation.
In the meantime there have been easing again across the board, the restaurants were allowed to open the in-store area again in your home in Bavaria. What changes have been made in the restaurant so that the safety of guests and employees is guaranteed despite the circumstances?
TH: There are some measures in place. Personal hygiene, for example, is a topic that is given special attention. To this end, we regularly conduct instructions with the employees. For example, all colleagues who work with cash now always wear gloves. In addition, care is taken to only send employees to the break room one by one and to thoroughly disinfect all surfaces used on a regular basis. Many things are new in the restaurant due to the requirements here in Bavaria: In addition to notices for guests and staff, we have also set up spit protection screens at the sales counters and disinfectant dispensers in the lobby area. In order to be able to maintain the minimum distance of one and a half meters, floor markings were made, some of the order kiosks were deactivated and seats were blocked. In addition, entrances and exits were explicitly marked, i.e. walking directions were given for the guests. Finally, there are contact forms to fill out for all guests, suppliers and visitors to the restaurant.
Were the measures well received by your employees, so did they understand them and was everything implemented well?
TH: After initial questions and a bit of anxiety, we coped with the situation as a team very well. It's a different way of working, but I have to say: Thanks to the intensive collaboration, the team has moved even closer together during the corona pandemic.
Now that your restaurant has been operating relatively normally again for some time now: Do you have the feeling that the implementation of the hygiene precautions has worked out well, that the guests are adhering to them and that they are perceived positivelybecome?
TH: It's pretty unusual for everyone, guests and employees alike. But yes, everyone actually sticks to it. Since it is difficult to follow the hygiene regulations, there is a permanent employee at the entrance who ensures that the distance is maintained, that the mouth and nose protection is correctly put on and that the entrances and exits are used correctly. This is very important, because without this employee you have no overview. Of course there are a few guests who ask why they have to wear a mask, but if you speak to them objectively, then everyone understands. With the employees too, they have already got used to it anyway.
What are you most looking forward to when the corona pandemic is over and you no longer have to work with so many restrictions?
TH: In any case, we are looking forward to being able to hopefully open the business again as normal soon, so that we can also be there for the little guests again. People very often ask when the Playland will reopen and when there will be children's birthdays again. Or the balloons that are usually given out to the little ones in the lobby. None of that is currently available. There is also a lack of intensive contact with the guests. We have a lot of regular customers who like to have small talk with us, but at the moment you are facing each other with a mask and two meters away. This is all a bit neglected at the moment and we look forward to being able to offer our guests the complete McDonald’s experience again as soon as possible.
Author: Christian Balser - ChangeM Team
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