McDonald’s is pushing its franchise owners to open their stores on Christmas, and the fast-food chain won’t be paying workers holiday overtime at company-owned stores, AdvertisingAge reports.
The trade publication obtained an internal memo from McDonald’s Chief Operations Officer Jim Johannesen urging franchisees to “ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays. Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day.”
Workers at the company-owned restaurants volunteer for burger-flipping duty that day and do not receive holiday pay, a spokeswoman confirmed to AdAge. Franchisees can make their own decisions about overtime pay.
The Huffington Post asked McDonald’s for comment on the memo and AdAge’s story Monday. Spokeswoman Danya Proud wrote in an email, “The story is based on leaked information obtained through unauthorized means. As such we are not in a position to confirm or deny the speculation.”
In October, McDonald’s suffered its first monthly sales decline in nine years, prompting the Wall Street Journal to ask, “Is the golden era over for the Golden Arches?”
But Reuters reported the fast-food chain bounced back in November, in part by emphasizing its lower-priced options. AdAge said that gain was also due to McDonald’s exhorting more stores to stay open on Thanksgiving.
One former franchisee told the outlet that the strategy represented a shift in corporate culture — four or five years ago, he said, opening on Christmas simply wasn’t expected.