McDonald’s Incentives help to improve service

You would expect incentive programs run by market-leading McDonald's to be sales-driven. They are not.Brian Ray, senior personnel supervisor with McDonald's Restaurants of Canada in Toronto, says instead, the fast food chain's incentive programs stress improved customer service.Increased sales is a...

You would expect incentive programs run by market-leading McDonald’s to be sales-driven. They are not.

Brian Ray, senior personnel supervisor with McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada in Toronto, says instead, the fast food chain’s incentive programs stress improved customer service.

Increased sales is a side benefit.

‘If we have employees serving customers all the time because of incentive programs and the ability to win prizes, that will produce higher sales,’ Ray says.


He adds the main aim of store-wide incentive programs is training employees in customer service, and providing them with an enjoyable workplace.

Because many of McDonald’s’ front counter staff across the country are high school students, incentive programs often involve contests producing the most winners possible.

For example, the ‘Total Customer Satisfaction Crew’ program rewards employees excelling in customer service.

They receive coupons from managers when, for example, they help a parent struggling to get their children through the front door, or walk a customer to their car in the rain holding an umbrella.

Whatever it takes

Ray says coupons go to anyone doing whatever it takes to please customers.

The coupons are gathered at the end of each shift and one is drawn from a box. That coupon holder then scratches one of four boxes on a board to win a prize.

That may range from, for example, a portable color tv to food coupons employees can redeem for McDonald’s products.

After 60 winners have scratched the board for a prize, their names go into a draw for the grand prize. That may be a compact disc player or other electronic gear.

Ray says all incentive programs at McDonald’s franchise outlets must be fair for everyone, consistent and reward the greatest number of people.

And they must be run efficiently.

‘We can run contests at minimal cost and get the same results as ones with lots of prizes, but which are poorly run,’ Ray says.

A few major incentive programs are planned for each store annually.

Other promotions include ‘Beat the Manager’ contests.

In this, managers will take their turn at the cash register, seeing how many customers they can serve in an hour.

Free shift

Facing that benchmark standard, lower-ranking employees are then challenged to surpass it. If they do, managers will work one of their shifts for which they are still paid.

Employees preparing food also share in incentive programs.

One is the ‘Penny Stack.’

Pennies are stacked next to each employee. Managers spotting something done incorrectly remove one penny each time. The employee with the most pennies at the end of each shift gets a prize.

McDonald’s has recently introduced the ‘McGold Card’ program.

In this, employees can use the card in stores for reduced food prices. Or they can take it for discounts to 15 participating retail chains across Canada.

Ray says incentive programs reward positive behavior among employees.

‘Don’t deal on negatives,’ he says. ‘We urge managers to catch people doing something right, rather than only keep an eye out for things done wrong.’

Reding good performance, it is hoped, will reduce bad performance.

Publicity for incentive programs comes from posters hung in the workplace, monthly crew newsletters, notices on bulletin boards and payroll stuffers.

Store managers may also receive brochures, flyers or recorded videos from head office in Toronto detailing the latest national incentive programs.

The fast food chain’s head office also polls employees to decide which prizes are preferred for incentive programs, and which have no appeal.