Fast Food: Where the Jobs Are

Fast food corporations are blamed for many things. The food, the environment, and the jobs they provide, you name it, they’re in the bulls-eye. And while they are certainly not perfect and can use some improvement, one of the issues that I can’t understand and definitely know is not true is the reputation that fast food employment has – that it’s a dead-end job.

Having worked for the giant in the fast food business, McDonald’s, I can tell you first-hand that the jobs there are anything but a road to nowhere. They are what you want them to be and if climbing the ladder is what you aspire to, the opportunities are there. Conversely, if you want only a part-time or a short-term gig, that’s available to you as well. In many ways, fast food corporations are equal opportunity employers.

I worked for McDonald’s as real estate manager for the Southern California region. During my tenure there, about 50 percent of the regional staff had started working for the company in their teens behind the counter at their local McDonald’s restaurant. Many didn’t attend college, opting instead to continue working for McDonald’s after graduating from high school. Many of them went on to high positions of power within the company. And the Southern California region isn’t the only example. About 40 percent of the top 50 McDonald’s executives started their careers with a job at one of the company’s restaurants. Approximately 50 percent of franchisees of this fast food giant began working there behind the restaurant counter as crew. This is anything but dead-end. And McDonald’s isn’t the only fast food corporation to offer such advancement opportunities.

Not only do these corporation provide jobs (in fact 1 in 8 people in the United States have been employed by McDonald’s and recently in one day hired 62,000 people, providing jobs at a time when they’re especially needed), but they do so for a variety of people. The workers at fast food corporations are quite diverse. The doors are open for everyone of all age groups, education level, gender and ability. And while I’m sure that there are disenchanted workers as there would be at any job, there appear to be far more who enjoy it. One particular story I enjoy is that of a worker in England, who while working for McDonald’s won a lot of money in the lottery. He did what many of us would do and quit his job. But, he found that he missed it and went back to work for McDonald’s less than two years after becoming a millionaire.

So what’s the takeaway here? Fast food corporations offer a wide variety of jobs, open to all. You can work yourself up or not, it’s up to you. It’s only dead-end if you want it to be.

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