Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jobstr.com Q&A

While this blog has been a dead project for quite some time, and my career with McDonald's is over (for now, who knows about the future), I was approached by the good people at Jobstr.com to provide a Q&A on their site about being a McDonald's Manager. Feel free to check it out, ask questions, and get more info about this part of my life. Jobstr.com Q&A - McDonald's Manager Update: I had one of last week's highest rated comments!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

FIRST TIME READERS!

Please start at the bottom.  Hit end, because it takes a while to scroll down.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Because.

This has become a closed project.  It will reopen if (when?) I return to management with McDonald's.  I'll be in the Chicago suburban market if anyone would like to offer me top-tier pay and a position.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

From the Comments.

This was a bit of a stupid response to something said in the comments, although my responses are valid!  It is a noob mistake to make, and I've learned from it.  But I've moved the post to the comments as opposed to deleting it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Working Hard.

Today, my whole team worked hard.

First of all, I showed up over two hours later. The reason is unimportant, the fact that it occurred sucks. The reason was, in fact, stupidity. I did not know my schedule for today.

So I showed up late, just in time to arrive before the Store Owner. Each of the organization level employees (there are three) has chosen one or two of the stores to be their focus. The owner chose my store. Our focuses are on inventory control including ordering the right products, get waste under control and other factors to food stat loss controlled, there are in fact a whole list of focuses listed out in a commitment we all signed last week Wednesday at our manager's meeting.

So today P. was at our store for 4 hours or so and he lately has been been at our store for at least 3 hours every day. It was a day of working hard but we all worked well together. There were rough moments and such, but it was still a relatively good day.

Myself and M., the only other manager I really respect as a professional, were discussing how well we each were doing with one another, how respectful we've been of each other and how hard we've been working for each other. I felt great to have someone I have a respect for tell me about their respect for me. That's why I work every day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Short Operations Review - Breakfast Day Part

Last Saturday morning we had our first visit from a McDonald's representative (I'm honestly not sure of his title), who gave our store a S.O.R., partly based on the execution of Breakfast Optimization - which we started just two days before. Yes, two days before, which was also free Southern Style tasting day. That was fun! I got out of it due to a previously mentioned recovery from a norovirus experience.

Which means I arrived to my first shift after ASM training, which was also the day of an S.O.R., to learn the Breakfast Optimization system - breakfast really isn't my strong point (it's an opportunity in fact, specifically breakfast grill). So it was a slightly stressful day.

Also, the Director of Operations threw a ton of negative at us, in many small ways. I don't know if it was his own expression of his stress, but he really was sharp tongued about quite a few things. It was pretty unnerving, I try not to subject myself to negativity, and I think he was being a bit unfair on most of it. We scored a 92.5% on the S.O.R. We missed a few procedural points, some really dumb shit that no one really even knew was a procedure, like using rubber trivets under the aluminum thermal pots, UHC liner paper in the Burrito drawer of the UHC, 3 or 4 really stupid little details like that.

On Service, which I completely ran and owned nearly all the time the S.O.R. went on, service scored a 99%, and I was written up for doing an "exceptional" job running the store by our Rep, B. and for how I filled the role of an Ambassador of Hospitality. My service team has got it's stuff down. I owned that store, and made sure I used my lot and lobby person (we had so many people floating around) for the store's benefit that it too was mentioned by B. in his S.O.R. review. My Presenter E. rocks. He pwns the Drive Thru. I think there was a swing manager at Front Cash, someone who did a passable job throughout. They all rock, my maintenance guy the most.

I like praise, and it was three days later that I learned of what the review said. It was the only positive feed back that I had heard, well after the fact. Pretty good stuff, considering I thought from the way the D.O. was carrying on a non-stop stream of negative feedback during that day. We got a 92.5% not bad when all we lost points on was some details (and dry scrambled eggs).

Monday, May 19, 2008

What's Up?

It's been a while since I wrote because I've been incredibly busy, like stupid busy, for about 3 weeks, basically since that post called "Long Day".

I spent two weeks working ridiculously long hours, 6 days a week, about 46 hours each week. Basically, just getting a taste of the Assistant Manager position and the amount of dependency my store really has on my input in the role of an Assistant Manager. I also developed quite a few new responsibilities.

For about 4 months that I was doing what I thought was a pretty good job of taking care of many of the responsibilities that an Assistant Manager has, including schedules and training crew and trying to have input on hiring crew, and especially dealing with volatile crew relationships and interactions. Trying to solve problems involving crew and management egos, emotions and senses of esteem is like trying to carry a couch made of something.. well I tried to think of some object to use as an analogy but I just can't. It's like trying to carry something that is heavy and delicate at the same time - a difficult task.

I got even more of that put into my responsibilities when I actually got the "promotion" of being Assistant Manager. Also, at the same time, my store lost one manager who worked there for 6 years, and another that worked there two months and no managers were created to fill their positions.

Back to topic - last week I worked like 30 hours in my store, and spent 20 hours over 3 days in ASM (Advanced Shift Management) training. I took alot out of that, in knowledge, how to gather knowledge, some McDonald's operational systems, and quite a bit more. We had an S.O.R. (Short Operations Review) of our Breakfast day-part. I'll talk all about that S.O.R. and some things I've begun to understand from it. Last week was especially rough because my whole family (along with like 5 other people from my neighborhood) got a foodborne illness from a Mexican place that just opened up (the food was really good at least). I spent 3 days (thankfully during my training) suffering from a norovirus - stomach cramping and all the rest that goes along with it. So I finished ASM. I'm working on my Post Class Action Plan with the manager who went to training with me, J.L. It's been a great week so far since Sunday. W00t!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Time Off.

I've been ridiculously busy with life, work and home. I've got to take a little time off (if you haven't noticed, by the dirth of posts).

I'll be writing again sooner or later.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wednesday.

Today was quite the long day (in fact, it was yesterday, because it is well into tomorrow (today) already). It was also incredibly productive, and it was my first full shift working absolutely away from the customers. I helped one single, $1.08 customer today.

I worked for about 3 hours doing next weeks schedules. It's really an involved process doing the schedule through the ISP. It's also frustrating and difficult to balance everyone's needs and desires, for hours and availability, against the store's needs, what the business needs to remain profitable.

Then, for about an hour and a half I did a truck, with two other guys for the first time - normally it's two people for 3 hours. We had some unique receiving to do. My store's freezer has been out a few days, and we have a GSF trailer parked in our back parking lot, and it's where all our frozen product is currently located. What a pain in the ass! However, it's a great solution to the problem we're having.

After that, I counted a full, end of month inventory (so should you!) with the store manager. By hand. Our TelXon hand-held device is being repaired and we won't get it back for a few days. So, I did a phenomenal amount of hand writing today.

Lastly, I had to hand-enter those items into the ISP, then double-check it all. I got out at almost 1:00 AM.

All in all, a productive day. Now, sleep.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Long Week.

A 13 hour day mostly spent in Production, followed by a 9 hour day mostly spent in Production, followed by today, a rough morning and a long 8 hour day. I am beat.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Career Growth.

I have taken strong ownership of my store, and all that happens within it, being a professional manager, while learning how to fulfill my commitments to my store and my position and my people within the McDonald's system and structure.

I model the behaviors of a McDonald's Assistant Manager by offering as much lead-by-example role modeling that I am capable of. I give my all to my store nearly all the time.

I am constantly learning new tasks, practicing the ones I've already learned, and trying to pass along knowledge to the managers in training when they're receptive.

I have started, completed and maintained organization and anti-clutter projects in my store, as well as implemented (amid much skepticism and resistance) comprehensive procedures.

Customers come first, last and always. Good customer service is my primary goal when I'm working and I try to follow the 5 Hospitality Cues all the time. I have some solid skills with customer recovery, turning potential McHaters into loyal customers nearly every day by following the 6 Steps.

I arrive on time, nearly always do everything I need to do (Saturday night's close I left two under-counter drink station trashes overflowing. I didn't even look to see if they needed changing). I'm the man with the plan (Pre-shift plan that is!) and am able to communicate effectively with my team, even when they don't speak the same language as me.

I am able to diagnose problems and find the best-fit solution to them more often than not with a minimum of collaboration or help.

When I am frustrated or confused or unable to find the answer, I have no problem opening up communication to my store manager, my operations manager, the training coordinator or the owner to discuss my difficulty or my problem with them, seeking solutions.

I am doing the very best I can, and giving all my focus while I'm at work (and often when I'm at home and should be focused on my family).

I was just told yesterday that my promotion to Assistant Manager, which was supposed to occur immediately after the current A.M. moves to the newly acquired store (the changeover occurs this Thursday), will be held off until my Advanced Shift Management course, at least - which is mid-May.

I'm trying to decide whether or not my effort is delivering the result expected, and I'm getting damn little information with which to make that decision. If it's not, then ... well, I'm not capable of not delivering full effort, but I'm damn sure not able to allow myself to get the short end of the stick.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Roll Call.

There's about 40-50 people who read this blog about once every three or four days, and another set of random visitors totaling about 10 people a day. My peak daily visit count was 62 visitors in one day on a day recently when I didn't even make a post.

So, who are you visitors? You know a bunch about me, and I'd like to know a little about you, beyond what your favorite Dollar Menu item is or an estimate of your "regular" order.

Take a few minutes and tell me your name, where you're from, your role in your McDonald's (if you have one), and if you feel like giving me appreciative or constructive feedback, by all means, please do so.

Thanks.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An Easy Friday Night.

I did nothing special, or extra tonight. I worked 7-close, which is 11 PM for Dining Room, 1 AM Drive-Thru.

I came in about 6:15, did my Pre-Shift work, breezing through all of it without extra focus or my typical level of attention. I worked in Service with J. with one guy, C., in Production for a half-hour when my other Production crew was on break. Later, I worked in Service with C. and the other J. in Production when J. was on break. It was pretty hectic, and at that time I ended up telling people my Dining Room is closed for the night about 15 minutes early (I was just too deep in Drive Thru). All in all, for those bursts of customers, we held KVS times of about 65 seconds and Drive Thru times of 190. Nothing great and well outside the goals, but before the closing team decided to become stronger (I believe I inspired this), those numbers would have been considered a pretty good night, if that was every hour's times. Our day ended about 110 in Drive Thru and under 50 in KVS times.

My last customer we screwed up her order, and only made her a 10 piece nugget instead of the 20 she ordered, and she was the last customer. So she waited until well after our closing time, getting her last nuggets.

After everything, we ended up getting out 50 minutes after closing. Our goal is 30 minutes, but a realistic goal for Friday and Saturday, in my eyes (not from the Store Manager's viewpoint) is 45 minutes.

So, nothing special, we passed some goals, as far as time is concerned, but we did about 40% more sales this week than we did over the last 3 weeks. I know, I checked the DSRs.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Conversation.

My week has been almost interminable. It's been a great week, to be honest. I did quite a bit of thinking and problem solving this week, spurred by conversations.

The first effective conversation I had this week was called by two other managers, both right around a year into their first career in management. Both are female, hispanic managers, and I'm only pointing it out because it is so. Both seem to feel that I speak to them poorly or am disrespectful to them. They addressed this with S., who is upper-management in my organization. She basically called a meeting between these two managers, my store manager B., and me.

The two women were offered an opportunity to open communication with me, they feel there's a problem with me. They apparently told S. they did not like the way I spoke to them. However, what they addressed at this meeting was that I take control of a shift when I'm in the store. One specific complaint that was voiced was regarding a day earlier this week when I came on the floor at about 8:10 and there was no positioning guide completed, no Pre-shift work at all. In fact it was being so poorly managed that it spurred a previous post entitled GROWTH.

So I came in and took over, by doing the Pre-shift planning that should have already been done. I positioned everyone and started giving out breaks, and signed our Accountability Sheet, which basically is a manager's signature that they have done a customer-visibility travel path (where the customer can see) and made sure everything was right.

This incident was mentioned. However, let's take a flashback one week prior to the manager's meeting held the previous week. These same two managers complained that no one else filled out the Accountability Sheet (which may actually be true) so we all agreed, at their urging, to take a more active hand in getting that particular item taken care of.

Now, within the course of a week, their specific complaint became the direct opposite of what it was originally, regarding a specific task. I felt attacked unjustly, but I was able to keep my cool. This doesn't always happen, but I did it.

I voiced the switch in bitching they were making, and pointed out how silly it is. Further, they claim I'm off the floor for hours at a time, patent bullshit. However, I addressed that very well also.

I asked them to think for a moment about 3 months past, how they saw their job and responsibilities, and if they thought then about most of the things they do now. Both of them were honest and said, well, no, not really. So I asked them to imagine 3 months from now, can they really see all the new responsibilities they may take on, and the new details of their jobs? Both agreed, no. Meanwhile, B. is nodding his head off. Then, this is when I had their attention. (This is the first direct quote I've made on this blog.) "Now, Ladies," said I, "I'm seriously a few years further along that responsibility path than you. Do you even want to try to imagine all the details I've got delegated to me, to take care of during the times I'm on the clock?"

I further explained that it's necessary, when possible to dip off the floor for 5-10 minutes at a time, taking care of the store and running things.

I think I got through to them. However, S. was completely focused on how they didn't like how I communicated with them. The problem is, apparently, that I'm brisk with words, I'm a very big and handsome guy, I've got a deep bellowing voice, and I'm commanding. (Picture Zaff Branigan from Futurama, with pants.) I can't help any of those things.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not the Best Day Ever, Still a Great Day to Be Alive!

So, my day was off to an odd start from the beginning. My alarm didn't wake me up this morning, and I woke up at 5:30 AM instead of 4:00 AM. I should've taken the 5:45 bus, but that wasn't happening. I would've arrived at about 6:20 AM, enough time to eat and pre-shift. I didn't start my day off early like I should have. Then, the 6:22 bus arrived at 6:16 while I was still across the street from it.

Now I was really late. So I got to work late, didn't get to pre-shift much at all and didn't have any breakfast. I was definitely not the best role model when I showed up to work, but I finished my pre-shift within my first 30 or 40 minutes and even got the positioning guide done.

But while I was running around, and working, one of the managers who was working Front Counter position, J., was leaning against the counter, holding that sucker up for all he was worth. I asked for his attention for a moment and explained to him that whoever is working Front Counter is responsible for cleaning everything from HERE to HERE, including the HLZ, the runner's station, the OJ machine, the Iced Coffee Station, and the shake machine and the McFlurry Station. If they've got a free moment and that's done, they are responsible for keeping the Drink Station clean as well. It's really not that much, and a good Front Counter crew member like T. or the other T. or even E. could keep those areas clean. Maybe the last part was over-stepping the bounds, because he got all pissy with me. He claims to be so good at what he does, and gets defensive of his actions when his behavior gets corrected. It's just that there are many behaviors to correct in the store and damn if that is my fault and damn it if my job isn't to correct behaviors.

We ran a good lunch, if a little tense, then I was off to work on schedules. I stayed an extra 3 hours doing schedules. Now, an hour blogging while listening to music. Today has been pretty cool so far, in general.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Growth.

So in around a week or so I will be the Assistant Manager at my store. I really do feel I've done the job of Assistant Manager for the past few months or so.

In fact, I came into my store doing a better job at being a Shift Manager, more wholly exhibiting the behaviors of a role model, maybe having been short-tempered a few times, and willing to apologize for it (people seem to think I'm too high strung) when I've been wrong. Usually, though, I do feel that if I've increased the volume of my communication to a direct and absolutely clear, resounding level, it's usually been an appropriate reaction in the situation.

In any case, I'm not too high-strung. I'm just exactly high strung enough to be me.

I take care of quite a few areas and particular systems, because it just feels like no one else is following up on them. It's difficult sometimes because even such a basic, simple system as PRE-SHIFT PLANNING gets left behind by nearly all the managers. I am glad to come in and assess the store, check things out and find out about the day. I like communicating with my staff and fellow managers and checking sales projections versus actual sales and taking a guess at how my store will perform that day.

I absolutely revel in setting realistic, achievable goals for the day and for our peak hours. The best part of my day is my first real people travel path when I communicate those goals to each employee.

Really, I can't understand how any manager can not travel around the store, checking the restaurant and equipment and people and product to .. I mean, fuck, PLAN THEIR DAY! I work with many managers who want the store to run itself, and crew to develop themselves and for teams to grow themselves with as little interaction as possible. I on the other hand have a passion to watch all those things, but to help create successes in my store, on my team, and with my crew.

Pedantic as it may sound, I see every satisfied customer as a success for the Brand, and the success of the Brand is something I want to be a part of. It's been an opportunity for men, some greater and some lesser than I, to become successful.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Why McDonald's is Successful.

It's not hamburgers. It's not the commercials. It's not massive corporate contracts with Disney and Coke. It's systems.

McDonald's has some phenomenal systems in place, developed and proven by the input of Billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man-hours worth of research. The systems they offer are effective, or they would not be in place - and when the systems and procedures that are not effective are proven ineffective, they're changed.

Any unsuccessful McDonald's - whether unsuccessful from the customer's point of view (poor quality, slow service, dirty restaurant) or unsuccessful from the employees' point of view (drama, bickering, lack of teamwork) or from the O/O's point of view (unprofitable) - can be grown into being a successful McDonald's restaurant by implementing and vigilantly following up on the systems and processes and procedures that the McDonald's system offers.

The most important thing that leads to McDonald's success is managers willing to do what it takes to follow procedures and implement policies that ensure employees follow procedures, not to mention riding crew and other managers' asses in regards to training those procedures and following up with them on the procedures, all the time!

It's a heavy responsibility for a manager who wants to do the best they can everyday, because it's pretty likely most of the people around you do not wake up and set out to excel every day. The majority of crew and managers in any McDonald's are just people showing up collecting a paycheck, looking to finish their shift and get away as fast as possible! So if you are "that manager" who wants the best for your store, your crew and your own career, you'll have many obstacles in the way - but the obstacles are only people.

It's nearly always possible to motivate any person, no matter how difficult the personality is. Honestly, if what you want is your crew and managers to follow procedures, the easiest way to - I'll be blunt here - manipulate those human beings to do what you want them to do, is to show them how it benefits them and how their actions can affect others.

Production crew? Explain to them the severity of following Food Safety procedures - How would they feel if their child/loved one/spouse/parent were to come in to the store on a day that Food Safety procedures weren't being followed, they get E. coli and, if they survive it, they may have to live on dialysis for the rest of their life.

Service crew? Ask them about a situation where they got poor customer service, and how they felt about it. Get them to describe the whole situation. Help them to realize for themselves that when they aren't smiling, when they aren't pleasant, when they aren't providing and instant greeting, and fast, accurate service, they make someone else feel exactly how they felt in their poor customer service experience.

Managers? Well, honestly, I have a hard spot for managers who don't want to do their best. I know that it's really no different than crew, but I really, really get angry over some "managers" who chooses to be lazy, inaccurate, or fail to follow proper procedures. I work hard, so hard, to treat lazy, work-avoiding, procedure-skipping managers the way I would crew, and counsel them and coach them and give them new skills to work on, and follow-up on them often with constructive and appreciative feedback. It's difficult though, and it's my own area of opportunity to work on. The most difficult thing about these type of situations is that the manager who needs to improve is likely to be a peer or even a superior. How does one enforce behaviors on someone who you can't provide consequences to?

In short, systems are great. There are some amazingly simple systems in the McDonald's program, and for just about every situation you do encounter, there is a system in place to help you win in that situation, efficiently. Use the resources provided to you (MDP materials, Operations and Training Manuals, SOCs, e-Learning, and the experience that your peers and colleagues can offer) and remember - BE HERE NOW.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Iced Coffee Flavors.

OMFG. Caramel Iced Coffee. HOLY SHIT is it good.

Career Growth.

I was unofficially officially told I would be staying at my current store, instead of moving to the new store my O/O is purchasing. I am a little disappointed because I'm not headed to the newest store, and being a part of the powerhouse team that is going to be managing that store. Mostly, though, I'm really excited about being promoted into an Assistant Manager position. I've been doing the job of Assistant Manager for a few months, and my Store Manager B. and I have got a solid rapport and we both have a similar vision for where our store needs to go for us to grow. It's going to be nice to be paid at Assistant Manager scale for Assistant Manager work.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Hard Work.

My day today was the perfect example of why McDonald's is so damn great a place to be working.

My day was nothing like I expected it to be yesterday. (See previous post.)

First of all, K., my manager-in-training, no-call-no-showed me for the training. Also, he didn't return my phone call. I'm a little disappointed.

But that's fine, I gave our shake/ice-cream machine a professional, expert cleaning today. I even fixed some issues we were having with our syrup dispensing system - something I am damn proud of having figured out on my own. After that, I worked in the Production Area for basically the rest of my day. I ran lunch on Assembly, as the Production Manager. It was a slow lunch, but we still made some money, and kept the kitchen running at a bit higher than normal (62 instead of our 40 second goal) for the first half hour, then got our speed up to right in sniffing distance of 40 seconds.

The tail of my day was working in Service for about 45 minutes, half at Front Counter, half in Drive Thru Order Taker. I had my normal sun-shiney attitude and our customer got the best Customer Service they're likely to get for the next week, anywhere.

All in all, it was a great day at work. Nothing like I expected it to be, but I stepped into the roles I was needed in when I was needed in them and "Be Here Now"'d all day long. Awesome.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Teaching.

Tomorrow, very early, I am training K., a manager-in-training who happens to be the O/O's relation. He's a hell of an individual, and seems to be able to hang in many situations. I've not seen him giving direction to anyone yet, but he and I have discussed accountability together.

In fact, I created a situation that was almost a way of testing his behaviors - I sat down and ate right as he was getting a rush through Drive Thru. I waited till he had 3 orders on screen, then got up and helped - and told him that I was examining his behaviors - I sat down and ate to see how he'd react. He didn't communicate what was going on where he was, he saw the situation but did not make a reaction to it (the situation being, I was sitting down with someone on break when I should have been helping him with orders). I felt like a dick, but he really did seem to, at the least, look at a likely and frequent scenario with a different perspective.

Tomorrow, it's straight teaching and showing for our shake machine training. Like every day, it's going to be a great day.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Opportunities.

I'm currently being considered for an opportunity with a new store that my O/O is purchasing soon. It changes hands next month, and either myself or a current colleague of mine will become First Assistant Manager at the new store, and the other person will be First Assistant Manager at my current store.

Honestly, I feel that my "competition" is in no way competition to me. I can boast readily of several areas of responsibility I've gotten to function regularly and with all proper procedures in effect. Not every area I've taken on have I been successful with, but I can honestly say at least 10 functionally important procedure-sets were put into place solely because of my direct action and involvement in them.

As far as I know, my competitor has one functionally important responsibility, and is unwilling to do a great job with it. I firmly believe this person is capable of doing a great job at many things, and they are experienced - something like 6 years. She has willingly chosen to perform at an average level and at an average pace for ... well nearly all the time I've seen her in action.

But I have decided that the opportunity I have in the store I'm in is a great opportunity and has a ton of growth left in it! I've got a great team that I'm helping to build, I own my store damnit! I can help improve it a hundredfold over the growth we as a team have already made.

So, tomorrow, I'm telling the owner I want to stay at my current store and that I don't really want to be considered for the position. Although, I truly do want to go to a store with more vocal and communicative managers who are confident in situations. The two other managers who I am certain are going to that store are phenomenal people, and I would love to work on a team with all three of us - it'd be a powerhouse team.

I have alot of growth to go where I am and I intend to experience it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Arizona Smart Choice.

Yesterday, all Arizona McDonald's restaurants officially were participating in the Arizona Smart Choices Program. Basically, it's a program that identifies meals or foods that are healthy - and yes, McDonald's has a bunch of meals designated as smart choices by the Arizona Department of Public Health. A few other chains are participating as well. Arizona Daily Star website - A full story can be found there.

I tried to find a time on Saturday to get the signage up, which consists of a window stick-on and a menu-board sign on double-sided foam tape, and put some brochures out but couldn't find the brochure holder and did not make the time to put the signs up. First of all, no one had directed me to do so - and POP is one item I always do after direction. Secondly, I wasn't sure where to put it or when the program started.

Today, I was directed to hang the signs up, and immediately did. Before I finished washing my hands after the task, a gentleman who looked familiar was in line, and I walked up to the counter in time to introduce himself to me, he was P., who is apparently the local head honcho. I believe he was strongly involved in McDonald's of Arizona participating in the program, to judge by his enthusiasm for the project. I smiled big and gave vague, but very positive and supportive, answers to his questions. He and I had actually met but not introduced at the ball game I mentioned a couple weekends ago.

After he left, I ran to the office, got the Store Manager to find the brochures, read one, then gave one to all my service crew and told them there'd be a test later.

The important facts that I remember are these -

The meal must have 700 or less calories, 0.5 grams of saturated fats, no added or modification to the content of saturated fats, and less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium.

The meals that McDonald's offer that are Smart Choices include - Hamburger and Cheeseburger Happy Meals with Apple Dippers and Apple Juice. Awesome! Further, a Hamburger or Cheeseburger, Fruit n' Yogurt Parfait and Apple Dippers work for an adult. Also, there's the Grilled Chicken Asian Salad and a bottle of Dasani water - which actually rocks for lunch, and it's pretty filling. The only catch with the salad is, you can only use half a packet of the Ginger Vinaigrette dressing.

So, overall, I think it's a great way for any chain to improve the value of the experience. As it applies to McDonald's, I'm going to start offering information to people who look like they would appreciate it. It's also a great time and way to open up a good customer interview.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Very Long Week.

My store manager B. was out of town this week. Scroll down to the posts from when my store manager was out of town the last time. All the same drama and problems we had that week, we're having again this week.

It seems that even though I'm being held accountable for the store and what goes on inside it, from inventory management to staff issues to staffing and schedules (even though I don't have control over all of it, or in some cases (like schedules) any of it), I'm also being told in the same breath that because I don't have responsibility for those same situations, I should back off and ease up a bit.

It's very frustrating to be told I have to be accountable for things I don't have control over. It's even more frustrating that when I try to hold accountable those who do have control over things when problems arise, that I am stepping over my bounds.

Some specifics:

The assistant manager does schedules. She makes mistakes all the time, like with today's schedule - she had a minor scheduled to work two different shifts the same day, for over 14 hours. First, she would not respond to my phone calls at all - then when I got 3 other people to call her and tell her she needed to respond to me, she asked for a manager who wasn't even there, and said she did not want to talk to me about it. Hello, I'm the manager who's working right now, I'm in the middle of the shitstorm she caused and she doesn't want to discuss it with me. What a worthless fool she is. I tried to tell her she had to solve it, and she wanted no part of it - until I told her she would have to come work the illegally-scheduled shift herself. Then she was all about finding someone who would not be working overtime to fill the shift. Bah.

Another situation. One of our managers is responsible for counting most of the morning shift drawers, as she is our 5-days-a-week opener. She can't count. This poses an issue. I assume it's through basic ignorance, but E. could also be dipping into the honey-pot, for all I know. The other day, of 5 cash registers and the safe, only one drawer was accurately counted - a drawer with $15.50 worth of transactions. The others were all wrong, the money was all mixed up, it was 40 minutes of counting and recounting to figure out just what the hell she did to fuck up the money that bad. When I discussed it with her, her response was to get angry at me for going back and checking her work. Well, when the $1000 of backup we have in the safe is $1076 and $2200 worth of counted cash ready for deposit is only $2085 and there's miscellaneous cash over in two other drawers, yes, well... I'm going to recount the money!

I think the real problem is there's very little accountability with my entire management team. "Mistakes" are overlooked, repeatedly, instead of used as learning tools. Carelessness is the standard. Sloppy and incomplete are regularly acceptable. BUT NOT TO ME DAMNIT! And there's bound to be some resentment on the part of those who wish to go about without paying attention, without doing the best they can, barely skating by, when I'm saying "That's not acceptable!" But, really, seriously, deep down inside, I feel, FUCK THEM. I should not lower my standards to match someone else's and I look upon the lazy with contempt, especially when it's such an easy job.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday.

My boss invited me to a baseball game today, White Sox vs. Diamondbacks. I've got three tickets for the suite he's got so I'm taking my son and father. Gonna be a good time. Meanwhile, my wife is working and my daughter is spending the day with Grandma.

I may soon be able to share some news about my career growth. I'm damn excited!

Friday, March 14, 2008

BSM, Day 2

So, I came to terms with the lack of knowledge I would be gaining from the Basic Shift Management class. I realize it's entirely due to the work I did before class, reading my MDP1 book 2 times in full, and focusing on some parts 3 or 4 times.

Our second day consisted mostly of a store visit, to a McOpCo store, where the standards are set, not just met. The purpose of the store visit is to help develop the critical eye that a manager needs to ensure they are maintaining the standards of QSC&V for our customers. The store we went to was decorated phenomenally, looking like the inside of some rich guy's library with chocolate brown leather seats, dark wood paneling, glass-doored bookcases, a couple sitting areas with nice chairs and round tables. Then we got to the front counter.

Everything behind the counter looked disorganized, sloppy, and unclean. There was clutter all over the place, every behind-the-counter trashcan was overflowing and apparently the crew there have bad aim - there was trash around the trashcans as well as in them. I saw at least 5 different areas where they stocked sauces and other condiments and all of them were sloppy, unstocked and needed a good wash. That's just the impression I got in 30 seconds of approaching the front counter. Once I went behind the counter I was appalled.

The day was focused on timing Front Counter service, Production, and Drive Thru service as well as performing a travel path throughout the store and prioritizing tasks based on McDonald's Prioritizing system which we had done some review of in the very first part of the day. It was a good exercise but again, I did not really leave with any new knowledge or tools that I did not arrive with.

The only real benefit I felt out of the classes was to get an opportunity to discuss with others the systems and concepts I had until then I had only discussed in internal dialogues. I know however, that many other participants will go back to their stores armed to become the best managers they can be.

As for the Golden Hat award I spoke of earlier, there was solid competition between myself and my O/O's sister-in-law, B., who is an assistant manager at another store in our organization. She won by a single vote, and she definitely deserved it - she really did participate a bit more than I did. However, as the facilitators were reading out statements made by participants who voted for her (before announcing she was the winner), repeatedly the comments were "This person is very knowledgeable" or "This person has a really great attitude!". Because she thought it was me, she spoke up with, "Wow this person must be really intelligent and have a sparkling personality!" while staring at me. Then they announced it was her. Good times.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

BSM, Day 1.

What a let down.

Aside from interacting with a few people from other franchisees' McDonald's stores, I gained absolutely nothing out of BSM class, Day 1. Further, due to the really small size of our class - only 14 people - we combined Day 1 and Day 3's curriculum into one day, so everything was quite rushed and question/answer sessions were breezed through and the majority of questions were answered with something akin to "We'll cover that in a few minutes!"

Now, I understand that they have things to cover, and if someone asks a question or two that is out of synch with the pace of the curriculum, teachers have a need to stifle it and let it be answered during the class or asked at a more appropriate time. However, if someone is earnestly asking for clarification of what was just discussed, teachers have a responsibility to clarify. If one person asks a question, it's likely that 2 or 3 or more other people have the same question and were unwilling or unable to ask it. That question should be addressed like it is a part of the core curriculum they are trying to teach, not as an annoyance that will send them off their double-time pacing.

The most ironic thing is, immediately after telling a class participant that their question was already answered - basically blowing off the question entirely - the same teacher changed screens in their PowerPoint presentation to display a quote from Ray Kroc:

"Customers are the reason we are here, not a distraction."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Positivity, Revisted.

In December, in a post entitled "Positivity", I discussed my store manager's actions, and some of his unprofessional behaviors. I have to say that I have seen this man grow in his actions and deeds, by leaps and bounds. I feel I've had a strong hand in assisting his growth, by communicating with the whole management team and delivering whole-hearted my "share of the bargain" - that is, demonstrating the behaviors I wanted to see out of the other managers.

In that post a long 3 months ago, I railed against B.'s "take, take, take" attitude (among a few other behaviors). After discussing with him in a really informal setting on a few different occasions, my views on professionalism, strong management and what it takes to be the best you can be every day of your life, I know I've had an effect on him, if only to advise him of and demonstrate to him, what he should be doing. B. now is willing (and damn capable!) of sharing his experience and knowledge with people, most recently 3 to 4 of our newest Management Team members, including myself. He's delivering on the guarantee of QSC much more than he ever was in my first 2 months that I worked with him. It's phenomenal to see a person delivering on his potential, not only to his colleagues but to himself.

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Tomorrow, I start my BSM classes. I'm excited as hell, am totally prepared for it, and will be looking forward to the Golden Hat award. In other news, I was talking with P., the owner/operator I work for, and in an effort to express to him how excited I am every day about my opportunity to work for him and McDonald's, I told him about my blog. I didn't send him an email link to it, but wanted him to work for it. Leave a note if you read this, and give me some feedback, P.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

BSM

Basic Shift Management is the first of a handful or so of accreditations in the McDonald's store management universe. I will be attending BSM classes in Tucson, next week from March 11 - March 13. To say that I am excited is an understatement. I love social engagements, especially ones that center around learning processes and demonstrating knowledge. This will be phenomenal.

In the meantime, I took a pre-class assessment test today, one in which I had to pass to attend class. I believe I passed, but not very well, at all. My problem is numbers.

Times, temperatures, ratios (what exactly is the pepper to salt ratio of the McDonald's grill seasoning?) - that's exactly what the core of this class and certification is about. I'm having severe difficulty with it because of my numeric dyslexia. It's not a joke and is very difficult to live with, especially when it comes to recalling numbers correctly.

So, I'm going to do phenomenal in class, even though I have severe difficulties with the primary focus of the class. I have a plan. Monday, I am going to cram as hard as I can, and cram the information into my head, as well as sit with all the times and temps on a sheet of paper next to me, to keep them fresh and in front of me during classes (and to maintain the cramming process throughout a 3 day class). However, I'm knowledgeable about operations, management in general, the McDonald's processes for management from the Crew Trainer position on up to the Store Management functions that I put to use daily.

There's an award called, I believe, the Golden Hat award during BSM classes. It's awarded to the most helpful, involved person attending the class. I'll probably receive it, as I've been told by 3 or 4 people.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shift Manager.

A couple months ago, I posted about the week my store manager, B., was out of town, and how the shifts went. That was a great learning experience, being tossed into the fire to see how well I fared. Since then B. has offered me the opportunity to run shifts with up to 10 or 11 employees scheduled on my own, with his supervision, basically every single shift I work that's not a close (and then I am running a difficult shift as well, having only 4 people including myself) . It's actually opened my perception a bit to his teaching ability - or ...

I'm quite confused as to B.'s intentions and which of us is actually in control of me running day shifts. I remember sometime in early December working an early day shift, and being stuck to a position (2nd cashier) during lunch and being primary cashier before and after lunch. I did not like it at all. Throughout the next 3 weeks I basically worked closes or late day shifts, and did not really have to worry so much about lunch, and was basically running the floor whenever I worked.

In January, I started working many day shifts again, and I chose, I remember clearly making a conscious decision, to run the lunch shifts. I positioned crew, I ran the orders, I delegated responsibilities, I controlled the lunch and it was pretty good. I remember the day, B. and I were looking at each other going "Man, we didn't even do $450 for our hour" at about 1:00. We looked, and even though our lunch hour felt slow to us, we did $600. We made it feel easy, and I know it's because I communicated to my crew exactly what they were doing, how much time they had to do it in, and the offered a solid reward (a free dessert item to all the Production Crew if we hit our goal). How easy is that?!

If I were in B.'s shoes, I'd allow my "Guy" (the manager under my wing) an opportunity to run the show, while being there to offer guidance or help if they need it (or, to take over if my "Guy" crashes and burns, LOL!). That would make me a phenomenal teacher! I know I'd have a hint of ulterior motive, or rather a benefit for me personally that I would indubitably take advantage of - being able to run a stress-free lunch hour with MY GUY! W00t! in charge. That's if I were in B.'s shoes.

Then again, often, I am in B.'s shoes. Tonight, M. is the closing manager (almost a manager), who I mentioned previously when she was a new crew member because she took control and action. I just got off the phone with her at 10:00, to make sure everything was good, offer her an opportunity to ask questions, explained a process based on her questioning, and gave her encouraging praise, as well as offered her my trust in her ability to do a good job.

Fuck, I should be writing books.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

High Power.

I'm a high power kind of guy. I move alot, I do alot, I identify many tasks and delegate my ass off. That leads to me having to follow up a ton and deliver feedback all day long. I also have my own responsibilities that are delegated to me. My customers consume much of my attention and energy, almost as much as my crew do.

I was asked the other day if I'm "always this hyper" by someone. I'm really not hyper. Hyperactive implies a certain lack of control to the force with which one focuses and then refocuses on things around them. I'm passionate, and powerful. Absolutely, not hyper, because my attention is directed, focused like a laser beam, and quite deliberately moving all the time, to ensure that I'm taking everything in and getting everything taken care of. There's quite the difference.

Yesterday, I went to ServSafe class, and tested for certification. I'm confident about 89 of my 90 answers, and about 75% confident about the one I'm not certain of. I can't remember what the question was, but I remember feeling just a little unsure when I answered one of the questions.

Overall, the ServSafe class was pretty solid. Nearly all the topics covered in the test were covered in the class, I sat next to B., the Assistant Manager of one of our stores, and the sister-in-law of my O/O. She's a solid individual and had some good questions, and some great answers. We had lunch on the corporate credit card, nothin' fancy, the bill between B., another B. from my store, and myself was probably $25. But, we had some conversation and it was good. Again, she's a real solid individual and I'd love to get an opportunity to work with her.

I'm working on getting some solid individuals in our store, and removing two of the weaker elements, which is the staffing goal for every month for our entire organization. The hardest part is identifying who our two weakest team members are. I actually know who they are, and they're both managers.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Another Great Day!

So I woke up and was very, very tired. I've got this horrible pain in my sinuses and upper lungs. So do something like 1 in 1,000 Tucsonans. It's not really stopping me, but I am tired as hell, in general.

I met S., a new trainer who works for the guy who owns my McDonald's and 4 others in Tucson, with a growing collection of McDonald's restaurants. She was a phenomenal, positive person. It was a blast meeting someone with a passion for what they do. She's also one hell of a thorough trainer.

Throughout the day, which I arrived for at 9:30, I just felt a happy and fun day coming on - most of my days are. Right from the start, she was clear and presented well. She seemed like a solid individual. In return, I presented well and followed up with an exceptional performance during lunch. Our lunch started out with S. and myself in the Production Area, where S. discovered an issue with our grills, and with a quick text message or two and a phone call, she had three guys there tearing our grills apart and making them work on the hot-damn double!

Right at the tail end of this, B. called up to me and had a bit of panic in his face and voice said, "Mike I need your help up here!" I looked around where I was, saw that I was not crucial to the situation, told the team I was going to the Service Area and I assessed. There was a deep line in our Drive-Thru, a deep line at our Front Counter, one cashier, one presenter and B. doing fries and taking orders in DT, with no one to run. Within 45 seconds the situation was well in hand. I got someone on fries, asked S. to take orders on Register 2, and I had assembled about 15 orders in 3 minutes. What a great time!

Later, S. told me something that made me pretty proud, as already I respect this person's opinion. She said, "If I came in, just came in to your store, I would have thought you were the store manager." Hell yeah, cause that's how I roll.

I am driven to succeed and exceed in as much as I can in my life in small part because I love to have praise, which for me directly translates into an ego boost. My confidence is pretty arrogant.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This Guy's Blog.

My best friend is coming to visit me this weekend (and visit the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show). I'm off from Friday to Monday. I'm taking a hit in pay but I'll certainly enjoy the free time.

In the meantime, I learned today to manual clean or brush clean our shake/ice cream machine today. I had a good time and enjoyed the sense of a job well done, even though I was being hassled over "how long" it took me to do. B., the store manager, admitted the syrup lines definitely hadn't been cleaned in the 7 months he was there, and probably not for a good while before, either. Syrup line cleaning will happen every week while the full brush cleaning will occur every two weeks. With me in control of it, I have a feeling that it will be done like clockwork.

Tuesday, I take on another new responsibility as well. I will be conducting a full food inventory every Tuesday night for the last 2-3 hours of the day, then arriving early on Wednesday for our manager meetings. It'll be a blast.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm not a blogger.

I've decided I'm not a blogger, and I'm taking a hiatus from blogging.

Although I enjoy it, it consumes way too much time - enough of my time is given to McDonald's as it is. I'll probably make a comeback mid-February or so.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where Have I Been?!

For the past 10 days I've been without access to the Internet, but life has been busy, as well as life in McDonald's. Our Full Operations Review is coming up tomorrow (Wednesday) and I have some tales to tell. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Great Day!

I am on a huge New Year's Eve positivity and proactivity rush and I'm trying to build momentum so that it will continue throughout the year. Every day that I wake up, I win!

Yesterday, Thursday, was a great day. It was a long day, as well. I was originally scheduled for 11-5, but my hours were rearranged pretty strongly this week (to my favor). I was at my store at about 8:20 AM, ate some breakfast, smoked a cigarette or two, got a Full Throttle energy drink and then clocked in at about 8:40 AM.

I worked basically as a back-up cashier and the "take-care-of-what-needs-doing" position all day, until about 1:30 PM. Throughout Breakfast and Transition, I was stocking, covering, flexing in and out of positions - a great shift doing what a manager does and it was a blast. However, halfway through our Lunch rush, the Closing Manager, By., called and asked to speak with Brandon - from her voice I could tell she was sick as could be. I said, "Call back after lunch, if B. doesn't call you" and hung up the phone. I told B. about the call and he agreed to address it later. Lunch was good, we broke $600 for lunch, which is nice and busy for us.

After I reminded him, B. called By. and the end result (which was all I heard) was "Can you work late tonight?" My conditions were - she covers me Saturday if she can and I get an hour off between shifts. Conditions met and I took an hour of lounging, smoking cigarettes, drinking another energy drink and finishing off a great book I got the other day.

I shamelessly digress - Gamearth is a mild thought experiment in metaphysics posing as a fantasy paperback. Some young teens have been playing a pen and paper role-playing game, and created - together - a world into which they dive every Sunday night. However, the metaphysical elements come along when the main story of the book begins, living the events leading up to a fantastic adventure that occurs inside of their world when the "real world" gamer teens are split in mind about whether to continue playing Gamearth or not. A good 2-day read.

So, my morning shift began at 8:40, and ended about 2:10. My afternoon or closing shift started at about 3:10, just in time for the beginning of crew shift transitions, which lasts for about 2 hours. Getting the new crew informed and up to speed on the goals (Something we've been communicating much of lately - and by we I mean I) and the projections for the day. I still had a great energy level and maintained my can-do spirit throughout the night, in fact. I had 5 people throughout my dinner, which was good and kept things running. Dinner got exciting when we sold something like 100 Doubles in an hour. With 2 Service, 2 Production and a manager in Service. It was great, throughout it all we kept upbeat, we had fun with customers, our food was good, we all had smiles, we encouraged one another and it was AWESOME.

So with dinner past and down to 4 people running the store, we start some cleaning and stocking tasks, while keeping up with customers and pulling breaks for everyone. It was a good, well-paced night and we did about 50% more sales than we projected for the evening. Always positive when the cash register rings. Right at about 10:15, with closing looming on us and being much more brisk than we have been recently, I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. I was fueling myself with caffeine and nicotine. A very large, extended size van was outside and a very friendly looking guy pops his head out and said, "What time do you stay open till?" "Drive Thru till midnight, inside till 11!" "Great, the other van-load will be here well before then." I chuckled and said, "Really? Van-load?" The man turned his inside light on and pointed behind him with his thumb. "Got a van-load of hungry people right here and another one on it's way!" I snubbed my cigarette out and said, "Well let's go!"

40-odd people from a Church convention, mostly teens, and more than the usual number of random customers later, I announced we were closing our dining room in 7 minutes! Everyone chuckled and I said, "Tell you what you guys can have 10 minutes!" And some old lady who looked a bit senile said, "Yaaay!" with way more enthusiasm than her aged near-corpse looked like it could ever muster up.

After closing up for the night, which went smoothly and everything got taken care of (I cut two short corners counting things). It was a great day and today promises to be great as well.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Woot! 2008!

Happy New Year!

I hope it is prosperous first and foremost for myself and my family, my friends and colleagues, and for you, dear reader.

Woot!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Growth of a Crew Member.

One of the crew members in my store, M., who I have mentioned once or twice earlier, as someone who offered me feedback on my own growth, is being keyed for a management position. She's young and smart, has the ability (if not always the desire) to charm the hell out of customers with impressive service, and seems to be a pretty quick learner. Part of management is being able to hang in all areas of the restaurant. She did not know a single thing about Production, until yesterday. Saturdays are typically mellow days, we get more families and more people just out living life than people rushing a half hour lunch break from work like we get during the week.

I had the shift in the afternoon and instead of having M. work in the back Drive Thru booth, giving our customers impressive customer service, I positioned things so she was in the kitchen learning with a fairly efficient crew member named C. and I worked her position in the Drive Thru, while the assistant manager ran the front end of the store. I still have control and my hand in things, as well as training M. in the kitchen, even while working a very busy area of the store.

M. and C. had a communication difficulty - M. doesn't speak very much Spanish and C. effectively does not speak any English. They got along great though, because things are pretty simple - and I acted as translator for most of what was going on (HA! those life skills are coming in handy here!). M. picked things up really fast, and got to get a taste of production (even though I neglected to have her do E-Learning first) on a relatively slow shift. It worked out well.

The funny thing is, though pegged for management, it really did not come to anyone's mind to train M. on Production, at all. This strikes me as just a sloppy mistake, and I actually had to use politics and persuasion on a decision maker to get her the time to start learning the kitchen. It turned out well though - it's a really simple job, when just about everything is made identically. It is hot, and M. mentioned how she needed water. I personally watched her drain 3 cups of water in a row 4 different times. It sure is thirsty work.

M. did a great job, and we got a chance to talk after the shift. She liked getting the opportunity to grow her diverse skills and told me she appreciated me getting her into the kitchen so she could learn. Job well done.

Arrogance.

Often times in my life, I have been called arrogant. Many times by myself.

Some could say that I am just over-confident in myself, and a vast sense of self-confidence in nearly all situations can be misconstrued for arrogance. But it's not something being misconstrued as arrogance, some misunderstanding of my character. I am arrogant. I'm OK with it.

However, I am also humble. I may not always be able to easily admit an error or lack of knowledge, but I can almost always spit out an "I was wrong, thanks for showing me that" or "I made a mistake and I'll fix it".

I try to temper my arrogance (well deserved as it may be) with pleasantness. Who can hate someone who's nearly always right and has a great big smile and happy voice? I give of myself to my store and my fellows by trying to teach things I know, take control in situations where I believe I can provide a great solution, I build rapport between management and crew as well as our Production and Service staffs, my interests and eyes are always out for the employees there.

My arrogance is surpassed, however, by a couple people that I interact with who do not temper their own arrogance with any such frivolity as humility. One male I interact with, closely and often, has an inability to accept feedback. Or, apparently, to give feedback. If a mistake is pointed out, he turns red, puts his head down and walks away. The reaction is the same if a joking comment hits too close to home. It's ... amazingly readable. This man has a seemingly infinite capacity (like nearly all human beings) to justify, or explain, the essential rightness of his actions, instead of admitting there's a chance he can be wrong. When receiving feedback, especially of a constructive nature, he defends his actions instead of listening, he likes to explain why he did what can seemingly or actually be incorrect. My perception of these responses is a deep desire to be right, so much so as to provide a veneer of delusion that helps to create a world-view in which one really, truly is always correct, even in a situation where correctness is faced with negatory validation. Arrogant as all fuck!

A woman I interact daily with likes to present a smiling, friendly and cheerful front to nearly all. For some, however, she vents quietly or openly about what's on her mind. She is absolutely, to the core certain that no matter what venom she spews in the ears of those she believes she are in her "inner circle" that those people exposed to her bilious comments will enjoy hearing them and stay quiet about what abuse she puts forth, vicariously. The venom I speak of is her negative mental attitude, her dislikes of other people, her frustrations and angers. Her arrogance is blind, believing that whatever she says stops right there. However, people who have venom spit upon them typically do not enjoy the situation. Further, those same members of this woman's "inner circle", although not willing to tell her directly that they repeat to her targets (or perhaps only this single target) her vitriol, have often asked her to go calm down in some other way. My point is this - I know when she's talking shit about me, because her "close friends" whom she shares her negative energy with often advise me on who said what, so that I can keep abreast of the political winds of my enclosed work-world.

Again, I admit I am arrogant. The big difference is about results. My arrogance leaves the result of a better world, for everyone who occupies the space that touches me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pulled From Comments.

Hi - I don't have the time or energy right now to post something new - see the comment thread under "Challenge" to see where this came from, but here is some of my insight and thoughts on a McDonald's restaurant.

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the only value that customers have to McDonald's is that of the customer of any business - profit.

Every procedure and policy put into place in a McDonald's restaurant is designed by McDonald's corporate (based on billions of dollars spent (possibly trillions) and hundreds of thousands of man-hours utilized (possibly millions)) in attempting to develop the best way to run a McDonald's.

There is no point to opening a store on any day other than to provide impressive service to customers, deliver on QSC&V, so that each customer who comes in that day is much more likely to come in the very next day and spend more money.

However, that is a short focus. There can be no qualified level of QSC&V delivered out of an untrained group of individuals working together. Without each and every employee at a McDonald's - from the guy on the grill, to maintenance, to the Front Counter crew, to the O/O - dedicated to delivering QSC&V, there is no customer service. I say dedicated, not willing. There also has to be a team spirit - human beings are easily manipulated into giving their all (i.e. becoming dedicated) when they feel a great cause to be dedicated to - when there is leadership and teamwork and their contribution is acknowledged.

Most McDonald's, from my perspective as a frequent customer of many McDonald's restaurants across the nation (I've been to McDonald's in every state east of the Mississippi except Florida and Maine), McDonald's are run by underpaid, undertrained people who see their job at McDonald's as a bandage, to stop the immediate pain of unemployment and destitution. However, now and again, there are those old timers who also see it as "what they've been doing since they were 15", and it just is their job. Also, there are an even smaller number of people who see it as a potential career. There's lots of growth to be had in a McDonald's, and the way to grow a store's volume and return visits is by ensuring that crew are dedicated to delivering QSC&V, ensuring all proper procedures are in place, and having the best trained, most accurate employees in the most important positions (Aces in their Places baby). See above to find out where that dedication comes from, friend.

A McDonald's restaurant is about customers, sure. But it's also about 24/2 (Why do we stock 24/2? So that customer orders aren't interrupted during a busy service time so an employee can go stock something that is desperately needed and absolutely not stocked).

It's all about cleanliness - I personally have boycotted at least 20 different fast food restaurants in the areas I've lived in during the past years of my life because I went in at some point and could not find a single clean table - or there was trash on the floor - or there was overflowing garbage - or the bathroom was dirty. I know many, many other people are the same way.

It's all about the procedures (every single fucking one of them) that McDonald's lays out for each and every facet of operations - because those procedures help guarantee: trained crew, fresh product, safe product, cleanliness, speed of service, reduced waste, or improved customer service. All of these effect the bottom line heavily in a McDonald's restaurant.

As for customer service, I'm not in any way inexperienced in customer service. For 2 years I worked at McDonald's as a youth, for 2 years I worked at Burger King as management (my job was to make 12 stores clean, trained and improve general operations including service), I owned and operated my own business for two years that was a direct-to-customer sales business: service was all I had, and I worked for 3 years in other various retail businesses where customer service was my primary focus. For the two most recent years of my worklife I was a telephone salesman - the only way to sell anything on the phone is to be a god of service and I had a rightful place in that pantheon. I have my chops in customer service, and in fact building rapport with people is one of my strongest abilities.

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XOXO

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Challenge.

I enjoy challenges. Personal, professional, social, mental. Most types of challenges intrigue me.

I find working with people, and learning new skills to be fun. I enjoy social situations in which I am at a seeming disadvantage. I like being at a moral crossroads. I enjoy challenges because they help me to grow.

I feel, as a serious salesman (which I always consider a huge part of my personality), that if you aren't growing, you're dying. Cliche, but so true.

McDonald's is a place full of challenges. There is the challenge of being polite, welcoming and smiling for each of the thousand or so customers who pass through our doors every day. Coordinating and gaining the cooperation of anywhere from 4 to a dozen people who have their own challenges is fantastic.

In my personal life, I have challenges all the time. With a pre-pubescent son who acts way too much like me (arrogant little punk) for his own good, and a 3 year old heathen girl who apparently is Princess of the Universe, and my wife who has put up with me, I am challenged every day to be the best daddy, husband, cook, housekeeper, lover, bookkeeper, and teacher that I can be. Especially challenging are the days I want to just play video games all day, and let the house fall to ruin around me.

Without challenge, we cannot grow. Very few people understand this. Or rather, many understand it and prefer the alternative. I like to grow, and feel I do a good job of tackling things in different ways so that I can come out on a positive end.

Busy, Busy Week.

This is the busiest week of the year for me.

I work a full string of 11-7 shifts, which means I get to work at 10:30, and leave about 8. Also, my wife and kids are going to Las Vegas this Sunday for Christmas. Also this week at work, we've got a rather important visit from a gentleman with McCorporate, who apparently decides how many and which stores an Owner/Operator's domain increases or decreases by. Further, I have until the end of this month to get Foundation training on each of the employees of my store completed (I've got about 25% of them completed) and also I need to complete my MDP program by the first week of January. It's crazy - and I haven't even mentioned the Xmas shopping and wrapping I need to do! Earlier this week, I also had two Christmas parties for work to attend - one at my store manager's house (which was exceptionally .. low key, shall we say?) and the other at Laff's Comedy Club in Tucson (which was riotous).

We've been cleaning like mad at our store, for a pitifully short amount of time. For the past three days, we've had people staying late, busting hump to get detail cleaning completed. I think the store is in great shape, and I look forward to an opportunity to shine for the owner and the corporate representative he'll have visiting us today.

I'm a bit disappointed at work, after yesterday, however. We have a manager's meeting every Wednesday morning, and after a repetition for the 5th time regarding Drive Thru service times at night, I brought something up. I told my fellow managers that I tried to think of a diplomatic way to say this, without anyone feeling attacked or anything. Three of them said, "Just say what you gotta say" or something to that effect so I said, "Listen, every single manager needs to make sure the store is clean and stocked and all the cash is straight and other responsibilities are taken care of before they leave after their shift. It's pitiful that a manager can or would walk out knowing there are drawers uncounted, or seeing the lobby is filthy or that the service or production areas aren't stocked. We're all a team and rely on each other, and no one, not even me, is not guilty of leaving the store in a sorry state for someone else to take care of. I understand giving direction to employees to get things done - but you gotta make sure it gets done and doesn't cut into customer service. If you have to stay 20 minutes extra to make sure everything happens then you do it. Or like P. (the owner) said, if you gotta stay two hours late to make sure everything gets done, then you do it." I looked around and saw nods and agreements from everyone. R. took it upon herself to get defensive, but B. quieted her down and said, "Let's not make this about any one person, Mike's right, it's all of us."

So there was a general agreement that we would all focus on .. oh I donno, doing our job? ... and make everyone else's shifts run smooth. Fast forward two hours, during which I did some training in my MDP. I was scheduled to start yesterday at 1 o'clock, which means I come on right after lunch (again) to help recover from it. At 12:20 I was going to go order a Cheeseburger and a parfait, smoke a cigarette and come on shift for my pre-shift work. B. was struggling through lunch and said, "I need some help." I took a look around and saw that, yes, they needed help, so I jumped into the kitchen, and started getting food moving out of the Production area. I did my part for the team.

Two hours later, and it's approaching the end of B.'s (the store manager!) shift and he comes up to me and gives his ever famous "do you need anything else from me before I go?" I looked at the clock and it was only 2:25. I'm thinking to myself, "I come on a half hour + early, and he leaves a half hour + early?" So I said, "Well is everything stocked and cleaned? Cause we're going to be busy and I'm not going to get a chance until Jn. gets here to stock and clean at all." He says, "Didn't you see E. stocking?!" (that was over an hour and a half before, at the end of .. HER SHIFT. My response was, "Well B., yes, I did, but that was a while ago at the end of her shift. Is everything we've used since then replenished?" He says, "You'll be fine," and I respond with, "Well I know the shake and ice cream mix needs to be stocked, we need A and B bags, and Happy Meal toys need to be stocked. Can you get those before you leave?" Infuriatingly, he is refusing to clean and replenish after his shit, then when I directly requested just 3 things out of probably 40 that need stocking his response, maddeningly was, "You'll be fine, Michael." Then he walked out the door.

I will admit that perhaps I have a misconception of what a Store Manager should be - I think that a Swing Manager needs to be basically an uber-crewperson who also takes care of light managerial duties, and I see this in action. It seems a Shift Manager needs to be an uber-crewperson who handles light and medium managerial duties, and an Assistant Manager needs to be the uber-crewperson and an uber-hourly manager who handles heavy managerial responsibilities. This means the Store Manager needs to be the uber-crewperson/uber-manager and handle all sorts of responsibilities of all those positions. Obviously the majority of them need to be taken care of by the crew people and managers they work through, but when shit gets down to it, and there's 5 people in the store, 4 of whom are absolutely tied to their positions to make the store run with appropriate customer service times and the 5th person is leaving or preparing to leave, they better be able to make sure the 4 people being left, stuck to their positions and unable to even stock a single item without sacrificing customer service or service times, won't have to sacrifice customers' best interests to go stock something that should have been stocked before.

Grr! Rant! I'm sure that if B. were having to work a 9 hour shift (heaven forbid he even stay for all of his 8 hour shift more than twice a week), closing the store and only having 4 people, he would demand that everything be in pristine, fully-stocked condition before taking over the shift. It's part of the basic McDonald's Operations procedure, it's the right way to take care of the business, and it's an expectation laid forth for each of the managers in the store except the store manager. This is why it's making me Rant. Our store manager replies on his managers to make him look great. He relies on the crew to make him look great. By look great, I mean in the eyes of the owner, who is entrusting a million dollar+ business to him daily and paying him handsomely for the efforts. There seems to be no motivation on B.'s part to put forth the same effort he expects out of everyone from his newest swing managers to the exactly-minimum-wage paid Production members of the team. Further, it seems the operations procedures laid out by McDonald's don't really apply to him.

Perhaps I've got a misconception, I will admit, of his role and duties. I'm still learning and am new the McDonald's business. I do, however, know that in our low-volume store, managers are expected to maintain crew positions as well as manage, when in a high-volume store manager's are expected to flex in and out of positions as backup, when and where they are needed. Again, it baffles and infuriates me that the Store Manager, who should be the uber-manager, is not fulfilling the same commitment that the other members of the team are fulfilling - and the assistant manager is following his example - which in our low-volume store is creating a situation where from 1 o'clock on, we're always 5 minutes behind on what we need to do. Is it any wonder we're seeing Drive Thru service times of over 200 seconds at night?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ability.

I firmly believe that everyone (basically) is equally capable of being exceptional at what they do. Life takes hard work, commitment, passion and a dedication to a job well done.

I am infuriated and saddened by seeing people who are this/close to being phenomenal at what they do give up the extra effort it takes to escape the close confines of mediocrity. To see someone who works just hard enough, or someone who tries (again, trying is failing with honor) when they could so clearly just do, it makes me angry and sad and sometimes makes me want to lash out at them.

It frustrates me in a way that I can't quite put words to.

Positivity.

I work hard to remain positive at all times while working, no matter where I am. I don't say "I try", because I believe that trying is setting out to fail, but with honor intact. In any case, I don't always succeed at being positive. Sometimes I go outside, into the back of the parking lot and curse loudly (not shouting, quite), or I'll go in the walk-in freezer and do the same thing. Sometimes, however, being the direct, blunt and authoritative person that I am, I have to confront the individual(s) that raise my ire.

I was scheduled for a close shift yesterday, the day after my birthday, which means I start work at 5 o'clock. Considering all this, I basically had about 4 hours of sleep in me when I got a phone call from B., my store manager, informing me that he had made a mistake and double scheduled myself and another manager to close tonight. He asked if I could not only come in early, but also work a shorter shift than my scheduled shift to avoid a horrible labor situation. Now, if I can do something to better my team, I'm almost 100% going to say yes. They needed me, so I agreed and rushed to get ready in less than half an hour.

When I showed up, it was just the very tail end of lunch. I went to go do my pre-shift functions, like counting our safe, verifying the deposit so far was accurate, a pre-shift checklist, etc. I got through the first step and found an error with the money (something that happens just about every single day in my store, and something that really, really irks me. Cash is the reason we show up every day, it should be the single most important part of the operation) when I was called to help out up front. Normally, I won't let anyone interrupt my pre-shift duties. I cannot prepare fully for my day if I don't do my pre-shift stuff, because that's when I prepare. It's important for me.

So I went up front to "help out", but mentioned to B. that I needed to get my pre-shift work done, and that the safe was not balanced as it should be. He looked at me and said "Well it's right, I know that." So instead of saying, "Hey we'll figure it out" or "It's possible I made a mistake (like I do every single day I work, because I don't know how to count to 1,000)", he tried to make me feel inferior and that I had made an error on something that I feel is the primary focus of my professional life. I was a bit miffed, but I got over it really quickly.

Our brief post-lunch rush wrapped itself up and I mentioned that I needed to get my pre-shift work taken care of, again. B. tells me he needs about 5 minutes to take care of something and asked me to cover his position for that 5 minutes. Next thing I know, 2 of the 5 crew members on the floor are going on break at the same time, the store manager has been gone for 20 minutes, the assistant manager was walking into the break room to speak to one of the crew members on break (I saw her!), the store hasn't been recovered from lunch (it's after 2 o'clock now), nothing is stocked, nothing is cleaned, there's no crew to deal with the customers we've got coming in to eat, and I'm standing in the front bellowing for some help, and being ignored. After calling for help like 6 times, I went to the back area of the store where both the manager and assistant manager were at and said this, "Listen I've got 3 crew people in the store and about 20 customers right now. I need help from both of you two five minutes ago. I came in early to help, not to be fucked over with a dirty, unstocked, unstaffed store, now get up front." Yeah, a bit aggressive, I know. But I was really pissed.

After this next little rush period, I told the store manager I needed to get my pre-shift work done. He said he was still busy. Our encounter went like this. "B., you called me in early. As a professional, I leave every shift clean, stocked and staffed. If there are too few people to work, or a rush, I stick around and help take care of it. You however haven't given me a chance to do the pre-shift work I have to do, you haven't even given me an opportunity to count the safe and make sure all the money is in the right places, which you and I both know it is not. You need to get the store cleaned and stocked, and I need an opportunity to get my work done. You're not treating me fairly, and you're making me rethink the wisdom of helping you out by coming in 4 hours early."

His response to my little tirade was, "Well, R. (the assistant manager) had the floor throughout lunch, and she has to clean up. Besides, the store manager's job isn't to stock and clean, that's why you're here. Besides, I'm leaving in 5 minutes."

I was flabbergasted. I respect this guy. I'm in his store to "learn" and be trained on how to be a store manager. For him to break out some straight bullshit like that stunned me. First of all, R. was in the kitchen throughout lunch, and when I asked her for help, that's where she went. That's where she was working throughout her shift. How exactly can she be responsible for the Service area's cleanliness and stock when she was in the Production area all day? Further, if the owner and operations manager can come in and clean, stock, and help with customers how the hell is it not the job of the store manager to do that when it needs to be done? I voiced my opinion to him, perhaps not in those exact words, but similar.

Great, you're the store manager and you've got things to get done. Then schedule people correctly so you have the time to get those things done. Schedule so the post-lunch cleaning and stocking can happen - with two people in the Kitchen, one in Front Counter, one in back-booth of Drive Thru and one person to run, present, cap drinks, and make fries is just not enough. When we have 2/3 of the business of the lunch rush and less than half the staff, with the store very obviously not Clean-as-you-go'd during lunch, it's not enough.

So he stocked what needed stocking (after pissing and moaning about it for a further 15 minutes, instead of just getting the job done), worked through other people to get clean what needed cleaning and then left.

Three hours later, with the assistant manager working in the Production area again, we were just coming out of an hour where we did 87% of the business of the lunch rush with only 6 people (11% labor for the hour!), the assistant manager says, "Ok, Michael, I'm leaving." I said, "Hey listen, can you make sure the kitchen is stocked and clean before you go." She threw a damn hissy-fit about how she was only in the kitchen for an hour and why should she have to clean it, there's crew members there. This time, I was fed up.

I stopped what I was doing and said, "Listen, R. we're busy. My crew members cannot clean right now because they're serving customers. I know you've had a long day, but honestly, I came in early to help you as well as B. and you should show some gratitude. Can you imagine how this day would've been with one less manager? I'm not asking you to take care of everything on your post-shift checklist, which you BY YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION, need to do. I'm asking you to clean and stock one area of the store which you've been in ALL DAY LONG. Now, if you don't think that a manager's job is to make sure the store is clean and stocked for the next shift, then fine. Let's go call P. (the owner/operator) and ask him what he thinks about it."

Here, she interjected with "You're not being fair Michael!" and I finished it with, "Listen I can't force you to do your job, it's on you. In fact, since you don't want to do your job, just go. Get off my floor, get off my time-clock, and go." I wasn't yelling, I was just speaking very pointedly.

At this point, I've got every customer and every crew member stopped dead in their tracks. R. grabbed a towel and started cleaning saying, "See Michael, I'm cleaning, I'll get everything pretty for you!", as sarcastically as she could.

I made direct eye-contact with her and said, "Hey, R. Stop. You need to get off the clock, Right. Now." There was apparently just the right amount of finality in my voice. She stopped what she was doing and left, exactly the moment her scheduled shift ended.

Now, I know I may not have been entirely right. But the thing is, I'm a professional. I'm not there to babysit other adults. I go to work everyday to help make sure my store is as profitable as can be. McDonald's restaurants are profitable because they have the best QSC&V. I ensure Quality by making sure, every day, that I am training and reinforcing training with all the Production crew members - and when I am in the Production area, I follow and demonstrate the correct procedures. I ensure Service by making sure that every day I am training and reinforcing training with all my Service team members, and make sure that I smile directly at all customers that I interact with, use a pleasant and firm tone of voice, and make sure I fix any problems following the correct procedures. Cleanliness is easy - I make sure it's a priority and actually go on travel paths every hour (or close to it). I have little or no control over Value, except making sure people get everything they paid for, their drinks are topped off, they get the right portion size for fries, shakes, ice cream and other Service Produced menu items. If I can balance all of these, and my people, product and equipment, every shift, then I am doing the best possible job of improving profitability of my McDonald's.

I assert again, fiercely, that I am a professional. This means, further, I have high standards for my colleagues. I have no place for people who are not willing to come in and do the MOST they can to ensure QSC&V. I hate slackers, I despise a lack of accountability, and I think I'm pretty much done with my store manager and his attitude of "take, take, take" with no "give". The primary function of a McDonald's manager, if you ask the McDonald's training, is to work through other people. But this also means showing respect for those people you work through, being considerate of the people who get work done for you and, very importantly, offering both Appreciative and Constructive Feedback.

None of these things are happening with my store manager - and honestly I could tolerate that if he'd be willing, at the least, to leave the store stocked and cleaned, or if he did all of the administrative functions of his job accurately, like a professional. Not a day passes that we're out of some critical food or paper product. Not a day passes in my store that we don't have a horribly unbalanced schedule, with 30-40% labor before lunch and 14-15% labor during the mid-shift. The point of this complaint is: B. has an expectation that myself and the other managers be the utmost professionals, and when we do make the slightest error or oversight, he brings a hammer down on us. When he is wrong or makes an error, it just can't be and he points the finger somewhere else. I've spent a lifetime being surrounded by inferior human beings play-acting at being exceptional, but it's still a real emotional and intellectual let-down when I discover someone who I thought was exceptional revealed for what they are.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

12-13! My birthday!

Happy birthday to me!

I'm 27 years old today. My amazing wife helped to make it phenomenal.

The kids and Nicole woke me at something like 6 to wish me happy birthday and give me presents! Awesome!

I got some nice shirts, a fatty box of chocolate, a really nice, solid steel watch (W00t!) and a $20.00 Gift Certificate to Bookman's. Bookman's is a used book/music store that also has a miniature selection of video games, all at awesome bargains. We have probably spent $1000.00 in Bookman's in the past two years, and today was the first time I ever used Bookman's to it's fullest potential. They have listening chairs, and allow you to read books before you buy them and such. So I sat down with the "O Brother Where Art Thou?" soundtrack and a nice reggae compilation and rocked out while reading most of an entire book of short stories about Warriors in fantasy stories by authors under the DAW publishing label. Awesome!

I came home and my wife greeted me in the best way, and we spent a wonderful afternoon together. After a nap, we picked the kids up and went to a fatty steak restaurant called Pinnacle Peak, and watched a Cowboy/Christmas stunt show. Awesome!

I intend to relax a bit, and read about a quarter of one of the books I got today, and my day has just been stupendous. This is the best birthday I can remember, all thanks to my wife being awesome.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Busy!

No post today! Close today, early morning tomorrow for manager's meeting, which is going to be two hours before a ten hour shift that ends with receiving a delivery. Then, the next day, my birthday! Woot!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Closing on a Saturday.

The last few hours of closing are usually pretty slow at my store, but this is especially true of a Saturday evening. Although there are many Tucsonans going out to any of the two nightclubs or two strip clubs within two miles of my store, we're still located in a spot that really caters to breakfast and lunch for the 9-5 crowd.

I think I mentioned previously how I like to get things detail cleaned when I have time. I don't understand how other managers can't get the same type of things done, and then it dawns on me, very clearly, that it is because of a focused avoidance of doing any real cleaning. It has to be!

Last night, I was short one Production Team member (someone who fired themself by not calling and not showing for 3 days in a row last week), who I replaced with a young lady named T. who really wanted to learn Production. She did a damn fine job considering it was her very first time ever working Production. Every single person on my team got breaks, including myself. This almost never happens during our closing shifts with the usual reason being "there was no one to cover".

Also, I was able to detail clean our shake machine. Boy did it need it. I started by pulling it out, intending to mop behind it. I had to dust the back vents free of a 1/2" of dust, which led me to discover that much of the dust had calcified (with the lovely grease that flies in the air) and would need to be scrubbed off. After doing that on the back, I had to do the sides as well. Then I removed the side-mounted cup dispenser and discovered... well let me say it was dirty. So I cleaned all that, then cleaned the wall behind the shake machine. All told, an hour of grunting and scraping and scrubbing away shake mix from years past and I was left with a gleaming, clean shake machine. I was proud of myself. I also spent a half an hour or so getting the first layer or so of this horrible calcified mess behind our Lobby ice dispenser taken care of. I recommend CLR Kitchen & Bath cleaner! W00t. (Granted, there's probably nine more layers of calcified scum back there, I got rid of the layer growing organisms).

The thing is, I cannot understand how just about every area of our store is neglected on a regular basis by the closing managers. There's never areas being detail cleaned. I know this because each night I close, or have an extra body around to get some cleaning done, I discover all sorts of obscure and obvious things that need attention and love. Examples: the reach-in refrigerator a couple weeks ago; the front-end cup storage area; the shake machine; the menu boards; the little Cambro containers we hold customer conveniences in (in our Lobby, behind our Front Counter, and in Drive Thru); the fryer-side reach-in freezers; the inside of our Castle bins (the containers for our garbage cans in Lobby); our Janitor's closet; the "operations closet" that we keep all of our operations material. The list goes on and on, and I can't really get over the fact that it feels like I'm the only one doing detail cleaning, as I'm the only one cleaning these things.

Perhaps others are detail cleaning things that I'm not seeing. Maybe the things that I've been detail cleaning and getting cleaned on my shifts have actually been cleaned within the past couple days and what looks like years of neglect and misuse is really just a few days or at most weeks worth of regular use. It would be surprising, and honestly, we'd have to be operating 24-7 on a parallel time/space continuum where we serve thousands of customers daily.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Labor.

It's very difficult to balance the Labor percentage of a McDonald's store. This is true of every business - the goal is to maximize the profit of a store by minimizing the opportunity of wasted payroll hours. This is almost always somewhere in the neighborhood between 19 and 20%. We overshot that by a good amount in my store last month.

I'm learning that it is especially difficult to balance this Labor in a low volume store. There may only need to be 4 people on any given hours of a shift based upon sales in $, but there are also a set number of jobs that can be performed well by a minimum number of people, and in my opinion the minimum number of people to comfortably run just about any given hour of any shift is 5. There are exceptions - the first and last 2-3 hours of the day. These are easy times, for openers you show up and make coffee for hours. For closers, you clean and hump your ass to clean some more. In either situation, there's not many of customers.

However, during what I like to refer to as "Snack Time", the hours between 2 and 4, we may not be having as much sales dollars - that's mostly because we'll have twice as many customers, ordering a third as much food. Still, it's a lot of transactions and when you sell 50 Doubles and Hot N Spicys in an hour, it may not be as much money as 50 Value Meals during the lunch hour but it is the same amount of work, effectively. It takes as much time to make 10 Doubles as it does to make 10 different types of sandwiches, and each order during Snack Time has more individual sandwiches than each order during Lunch Time.

I wish all people could have some love for McDonald's Employees. I do my best to make sure every customer at the very least thinks I do a good job. There are a large amount of customers for whom I just shine, shine, shine! I like to go for the Wow. Stupid is diverse and populous in the world, however, and some people leave hating me, while I hate them.

A woman came through my Drive Thru during Snack Time today, and took a good 3 minutes to place her whole order, which totaled about $6.00 and was changed no less than 4 times. Meanwhile, a line of about 8 cars grew behind her. She came to my window holding out a bag of coins and said "Count this, it's what I'm paying you." She had a big stack of bills sitting on her lap. I said, "Why don't you pay me with a 5?" Her response was to shove the bag of coins toward me and say "I'm paying with this," So I told her, thank you have a nice day, and I'll buy her food for her. I'd rather explain a $6.00 customer satisfaction manager meal than count out 6 bucks in goddamn coins. Screw that! I told her so.

She told me I was rude and she would call McDonald's on me. I told her the number posted on the window in front of me would get her in touch with the Owner/Operator and I told her my name and explained that I was the only guy who looked like me, and the only Michael there, and could she please move to the next fucking window so I could help the people behind her. She told me no, and folded her arms like a 4-year-old. Finally, I said, as close to verbatim as I can get, "Lady, you're only fucking with the people behind you in line, and the people in the front of the store. Our interaction is done, your food is waiting for you, MOVE. ALONG." Finally after a few more seconds of huffiness she moved on.

Seriously, a bag of coins? What kind of a moron do you have to be to get angry that someone wouldn't fulfill that stupid request? Go to a bank. Spend a Saturday afternoon rolling pennies with your kids. Get one of those old people coin purses and spend it penny by glorious penny and nickel by shiny nickel. I can't believe the friend in her car didn't slap her. I would've.

The best part of my day was that this was the worst part of my day. If I'm alive, and the worst part of my day was when a 5 minute interaction set me behind maybe another 5 minutes, then I can honestly say I'm winning.

There were some phenomenal parts of my day, at least 6 different interactions with people where I felt like I had made a human connection. That's what the day is all about. In fact, looking back, that stupid bag-of-coins lady and I made a human connection as well, merely of a more base sort, less positive.

Addendum: I apologize for the swearing. It felt like a swearing day.