McDonald’s Owners Offer Tuition, Childcare to Lure Burger Flippers

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McDonald’s Corp. owners are adding emergency child care and other benefits, as many U.S. restaurants are struggling to hire enough workers to run their businesses.

U.S. franchisees of the burger giant aim to boost hourly pay, give workers paid time off and help cover tuition costs to draw enough workers and improve the Golden Arches’ image as an employer. McDonald’s corporate parent said it is making a multimillion-dollar investment to back the franchisee efforts. Franchisees own 95% of the chain’s roughly 13,450 U.S. stores.

Labor has emerged as one of the biggest challenges to the U.S. economy’s post-pandemic rebound, particularly in service-heavy businesses that depend on large numbers of workers to prepare meals or make beds.

Restaurants last year made some of the largest layoffs, as Covid-19 prompted shutdowns and restrictions, and the industry now is struggling to bring back workers and find new ones. Restaurant and bar employment remains 1.3 million workers lower than since the pandemic began spreading in the U.S., while other sectors have nearly returned to full employment.

Many restaurant workers left the industry last year for other jobs, and the sector currently has one of the highest rates of employees quitting. The rate of U.S. restaurant and hotel workers leaving their jobs hit a two-decade high in April and remained there in May, according to the Labor Department.

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