AS I SEE IT: McDonalds needs to explain its job creation plans, says TERRY MURDEN
Fast food chain McDonald’s is hiring 20,000 staff and opening 50 restaurants. It’s an enormous commitment that grabbed a few headlines over the weekend, though it also raised a few eyebrows. On the face of it that works out at 400 staff per outlet which sounds like they’ll be packed in like a bag of french fries, unless each new restaurant is the size of a football pitch.
Closer examination indicates that some of these will be spread across the existing estate of 1,400 restaurants and that the new roles “were not to replace jobs lost throughout the pandemic”. So that must mean additional jobs.
But even if they account for half the total it would mean about seven extra jobs per outlet which, according to one former worker, employ about 16. That’s quite a big leap and it would still leave 10,000 jobs allocated to the new restaurants, or about 200 for each one.
Something doesn’t add up here. How many of these jobs will be full-time, if any? By the sound of it, some may be offered just a few hours a week.
It was interesting to note at the weekend that another restaurant chain, Itsu, announced the opening of 100 outlets creating a mere 2,000 UK jobs.
So twice as many restaurants as McDonalds but 10% of the jobs being created? As the Americans might say, go figure.
There was also an excitable headline at the weekend ‘revealing’ that almost a quarter of BrewDog’s shares are held by “obscure partnerships” in a “notorious tax haven”. That’s right, and it’s been public knowledge for at least two years.
Private equity company TSG Partners bought a big stake in the business in 2017 and in April 2019 BrewDog published a prospectus for those wishing to support one of its fund-raising rounds. It was made clear that “as at 4 April 2019, TSG Consumer Partners, through two limited partnership vehicles registered in the Cayman Islands, hold 16,160,849 Preferred C Shares and 891,383 A Shares (representing approximately 23.4% of the company’s issued share capital).”
BrewDog has recently seen its reputation as an employer shredded by a group of former employees who complained of a “toxic” culture. This latest story is clearly timed to kick the company while it is down and to show it doesn’t live up to its rebel status.
Yes, the anarchic, anti-corporate posturing does look a little hollow when the company has a big corporate investor on its books and this was highlighted in my column last week.
But it makes no secret of possible plans to float the business on the stock exchange as a likely exit for TSG. At that point anybody will be free to buy shares in the company, even those enjoying tax advantages in the Cayman Islands.
Terry Murden formerly held senior positions at The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and The Northern Echo and is now editor of Daily Business