It has been estimated that one in eight Americans has had a McJob at McDonald's, including luminaries such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos...
It has been estimated that one in eight Americans has had a McJob at McDonald’s, including luminaries such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, actress Sharon Stone and comedian Jay Leno. Globally, the chain employs 1.6 million in 120 countries and territories, and just in the United States serves 27 million people a day.
None of that would surprise 25-year-old Lindsey Luley, manager of the McDonald’s opposite the Factoria shopping center. She alone supervises 33.
Her father, uncle and brother have been franchise managers, while her mother, aunt and sister have worked there.
She started helping her parents (without pay) at age 8, used to get Happy Meal figures for Christmas, and has saved one of her dad’s Smithsonian-worthy pink polyester uniforms. “It’s sick, we’re all about McDonald’s,” she says with a laugh.
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But don’t scoff: After starting as a minimum-wage crew member at age 16, she says, supervisors like her earn between $35,000 and $60,000 a year.
She also says customers are comforted by the conformity others scorn.
“People know they can come every single day and have the same people help them, the same people talk to them. It’s a good routine.” The menu has been broadened to offer healthier choices, and in 2006 the chain began introducing a softer-colored décor, its first redesign since the 1970s.
“People’s perception of McDonald’s is so off,” she says. “I love my job, and I’m going to go as far as I can.” Her goal, without the need of a college education, is to become an owner-operator like her boss, Ramon Gomez.
Luley works 40 to 45 hours a week with a flexible schedule that extends into weekends to train and supervise a crew from early morning to evening. She focuses on lunch, the peak time for what can total 800 to 1,200 customers a day. “Once you have a smooth lunch hour, your work day is much better,” she says.
She has started with employees who can barely speak English and retained them for six or seven years as they rise in rank and pay. “Now it’s amazing what they can do.” Some are teenagers at their first job. Some are marginally skilled. “It’s so many people with so many needs.”
And one of them might be the next Jeff Bezos. Or Sharon Stone.