McDonald’s, a fast-food chain with 40,000 restaurants in over 160 countries, has temporarily shut down its U.S. corporate offices in preparation for delivering layoff messages online to a number of their employees across the country. The layoffs, part of a company restructuring, began Monday, April 3rd.
According to an internal memo sent to staff, McDonald’s will be communicating “key decisions related to roles and staffing levels across the organization” that week. While the majority of the cuts are expected to affect U.S. employees, some international corporate workers were also included in the memo.
The memo also advised that upcoming in-person meetings with vendors and other outside parties at headquarters be canceled, noting that the decision to have employees work remotely for part of the week was due to an anticipated busy travel week ahead. Workers who don’t have access to a computer were told to give their personal contact information to their manager.
McDonald’s employs roughly 200,000 people around the world in corporate roles and company-owned restaurants, with 75 percent of the employees located outside of the U.S. CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a January email that there would be “difficult discussions and decisions ahead,” and the new report from the Wall Street Journal said that the layoffs were part of a restructuring to help the business grow.
Kempczinski also noted in his January email that the company had become unfocused, with “70 different, distinct versions of what a crispy chicken sandwich would look like,” and that the corporate job cuts would help the business become more focused and dynamic. In an interview, he said that he didn’t have a set amount he was hoping the job cuts would save, but that he was focused on advancing the business.
The company was able to maintain profits, for the most part, thanks to customers who were turning to the chain for cheap and fast food. McDonald’s CFO Ian Borden in October said that they were “gaining share right now among low-income consumers,” although customers tend to order fewer things or less-expensive items.
It is not yet known how many employees will be laid off, but the company has indicated that it is making the decision to announce cuts virtually due to an anticipated busy travel week ahead. McDonald’s has not yet commented on the layoffs or an estimated number of job cuts anticipated.