It’s an ongoing problem: fast food sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic, but chains can’t find enough workers. One McDonald’s franchisee in Florida can’t even get applicants to show up for scheduled job interviews—so he’s paying people $50 if they show.
Blake Casper, the franchisee who owns the restaurant, told Insider that he told store managers to “do whatever you need to do” to tempt more workers. “At this point, if we can’t keep our drive-thrus moving, then I’ll pay $50 for an interview,” said Casper, who owns 60 McDonald’s restaurants in the Tampa area. Casper suggests that the hiring struggles are due to a few factors: the reopening of other, more tempting businesses, as well as enhanced unemployment benefits for workers who’ve been traditionally underpaid. At the same time, business at Casper’s franchises is booming. “It’s a perfect storm right now,” Casper told Insider.
So, is the $50 incentive enough to tempt potential applicants? Apparently not. Instead, Casper is opting for referral programs, signing bonuses, and text message job applications. He’s also considering raising starting wages from $12 ($3 above Florida’s minimum wage) to $13.
Casper isn’t alone: a March survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that 42% of small business owners were struggling to fill job openings. “It’s just craziness out there,” said Dunkin’ franchisee John Motta told Insider. “People are closing early, people are not opening lobbies.” What will it take to tempt new fast food workers? Unclear—but McDonald’s prospects clearly aren’t lovin’ the current situation.