Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

There's a certain dynamism about McDonald's these days.

Or at least that's how it feels.

It's introducing automated kiosks of one kind or another

It's experimenting with a McVegan burger.

Why, it's even trying fresh beef, of all things.

Which doesn't mean that everything in Casa Ronald is garlanded with spicy sauce.

Indeed, there's grumbling among the people McDonald's relies on most.

No, not merely the customers who are getting impatient that fresh beef takes longer to prepare.

A bigger problem is the franchisees.

Many are, so CNBC reports, unhappy with quite a few things.

You might think this normal with franchisees. They're under a lot of pressure. They're the ones who have to do a lot of work. They have money at stake. 

Now, they're being asked by McDonald's to commit fresh money for major investments, ones that they feel will cost a lot and bring in not so much.

There's a fundamental, however, that one franchisee claims McDonald's is ignoring.

"Employee turnover is at an all-time high for us," the franchisee said.

Is this because the U.S. is at relatively full employment? That might contribute something, perhaps.

In the view of this franchisee, however, it's something more basic.

"Our restaurants are way too stressful, and people do not want to work in them. Kiosks are not the answer," said the franchisee.

Surely, you might mutter, the kiosks obviate the need for so much hiring. 

Yet the mere thought that working at McDonald's has become too stressful suggests there might be something amiss at the heart of the business.

Have people become softer and unwilling to tolerate the trials of getting orders out with astounding speed in sometimes difficult, sweaty conditions? 

Are potential hires discovering the beef is browner on the other side?

Why, managers at In-N-Out can make up to $160,000 a year.

Or is there something fundamentally awry in the way McDonald's restaurants are run?

The mere fact that a franchisee says that people simply don't want to work at McDonald's anymore implies there's a certain stigma associated with a job that, for so long, has been associated with high school kids getting their first experiences of actual work.

Some franchisees claim that the company isn't exactly interested in their views.

I contacted McDonald's to ask how it felt about the claims of record-breaking employee turnover and the turmoil among franchisees.

I will update, should I hear.

I know that, in the end--an end that some say is coming very soon--robots will replace many of the menial, and not so menial, jobs that many currently perform. 

Goodness, humans will have to be turned into robots in order to keep up.

Then again, there's surely something troubling about people not wanting to work for your brand anymore.

When you're busy changing so much about your product and your brand, you want employees to commit themselves to the ride.

You certainly don't want to spend too much of your time desperately trying to find employees who are even interested.

Published on: Jan 28, 2018