McDonald's locations have cut hours by 10% due to staffing shortages: CEO

McDonald's CEO wants the Biden administration to avoid adopting policies that would add to the company's staffing problems

McDonald's and its franchisees have cut operational hours in response to a lack of employees at a number of its U.S. locations because of coronavirus staffing shortages. 

The Golden Arches, similar to many restaurants around the country, have struggled with consistent employee attendance during the COVID-19 surge brought on by the omicron variant as infections reach record levels. Restaurant industry data shows a dip in sales at the end of December.

Chris Kempczinski, McDonald's Corp. CEO who assumed the role back in November 2019, says adjusting during these times is one of many priorities for the company's growth and well-being. 

The pandemic hurt McDonald's flourishing breakfast business after a decline in morning commuters. It was able to bounce back after American cities allowed for drive-thru lanes to remain open. The fast-food chain's sales returned to pre-pandemic levels by March 2021. 


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MCD MCDONALD'S CORP. 254.57 -3.18 -1.23%

Over the past two years, the company has embraced celebrity partnerships with rappers Travis Scott and Saweetie and Korean pop group BTS. While new menu items from these partnerships only lasted for a limited time, the promotions helped to boost sales past pre-pandemic levels. 

As far as the safety of employees, McDonald's has provided COVID tests McDonald's franchises for employees but has no way to track whether someone has contracted the virus or not. Kempczinki says that should be the responsibility of a healthcare agency. 

McDonald's and its franchises employ close to 800,000 people in the U.S. 

The Supreme Court said no to the mandate earlier this week. 

In a time where 2021 was dubbed The Great Resignation, due to a record-breaking year for Americans who quit their jobs, McDonald's works to pivot and make the necessary adjustments. As of now Chris Kempczinki says he'll continue to plan for the future of the company, but doesn't bank on longevity as leader of the company. 

"I’d say I’m a little bit more Zen about just everything that goes into the job," he says. 


McDonald's is not the only fast-food chain to be hit with staffing shortages as a result of COVID-19.  Wall Street Journal reports that Shake Shack Inc. noted its own December dip in productivity as well. 

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SHAK SHAKE SHACK 56.51 -2.28 -3.88%

Editor's note: The headline and this story have been updated to reflect the distinction between McDonald's Corporation and its Franchisees. 

The Wall Street Journal contributed to this report.