Reports have surfaced that a massive fast food protest will be staged next week around the country. Employees from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King are all expected to walk out of their jobs to voice concerns about poor treatment and unlivable wages.
Protests have been popping up all over the U.S. this summer, as workers are demanding wages more in the neighborhood of $15 an hour, as opposed to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The writing is on the wall and fast food corporations may have their backs against that wall soon.
The stakes are getting higher as these protests aren’t doing any favors for companies that spend millions to maintain their public image. This could be a defining employee relations moment for workers that make minimum wage. And fast food brands need to ask themselves which side of history they want to be on.
Ponying up more money to pay workers may not seem appealing to these highly profitable companies, however the alternative could equate to losses in revenues and output, which is even less attractive. Therefore, they need to stomp out the flames as quickly as possible and establish a working dialogue with their unhappy workforce.
There is no evidence to suggest employees will return to a complacent status quo, so it’s very likely that the protests will continue unless the two sides come to an agreement. And it would be in the restaurants’ best interest to settle the dispute sooner rather than later.
Putting out the fire will also require a public outreach that not only ensures the conflict is settled, but also that companies are empathic and genuinely care about their staffs. This is a very volatile time and this procedure, and if not handled correctly, could drastically impact sales.
The bottom line is this: Business as usual may no longer be acceptable, and whoever adjusts first will stand to gain the most.
Follow Caysey Welton: @CayseyW.