Was it a case of crossed wires, or a Freudian slip? That’s the question at the heart of McDonald’s latest PR dilemma. Last week, the fast-food chain took down its employee resource website after it discovered that the information its page designers were using was actually telling employees it wasn’t healthy to eat McDonald’s food.
The McResource website and hotline, which the fast-food company has been running as a way to provide sage lifestyle advice to its employees, has come under fire recently for their less-than-cool words of counsel.
An employee advocate group that has been lobbying for an increase in fast-food wages discovered recently that the hotline was steering employees toward public assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid as a way to deal with insufficient income. And the website seemed equally out of sync with how it could help new employees when it gave tipping advice for au pairs, pool cleaners and housekeepers.
Last week’s entry on the website included a handy graphic that paired up a hamburger, fries and large drink against a sub and salad and suggested that even though a juicy hamburger and fries was “convenient and economical for a busy lifestyle, fast foods are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt and may put people at risk for becoming overweight.”
Can you blame the company for trying to update its employees on the latest nutrition research? Probably no more than you can blame the $100 billion corporation for looking out for those employees who are truly unable to make it on $8-9 an hour wages. But the PR debacle doesn’t seem to have hurt the ambitions of groups who are lobbying for wage increases for fast-food workers. Keeping employees on a plentiful diet of subs and salads is likely going to cost the pocketbook just a bit more. After all, with 52 percent of America’s fast-food non-managerial employees on public assistance programs, that lifestyle change may be a tough transition for many.
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