This Business

September 2021 - McDonald's | Winner

Low nutrition value, low wages and even lower morals—is it any surprise that McDonald’s topped our list of bad businesses? The Golden Arches may not be showing any physical signs of tarnish, but the brand’s reputation sure is.

Founded in 1940, McDonald’s is the youngest company among our first Bad Business Awards recipients—yet it was easy to declare as our winner. For starters, the global fast-food chain’s customer review score on Better Business Bureau is lower than that of both runners up, Wells Fargo and Kroger. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

McDonald’s is a prime example of a billion-dollar company that pays rock-bottom wages and expects tax payers to pick up the slack through food assistance programs and other social services. Just how bad are the wages? Low enough that McDonald’s workers across 15 cities banned together in May 2021 to strike for $15 minimum wage. To make matters worse, instead of listening to the people that helped it net $5 billion in profit in 2020, the company spied on its workers and labeled minimum-wage activists as a security threat.

And while some naysayers are claiming that minimum-wage jobs only affect teenagers (which is still bad), that’s simply not the case—as demonstrated by a viral TikTok video that showed a senior employee of the franchise struggling to clean a parking lot of trash in the summer heat. Why didn’t the restaurant take the workers’ age and ability into account when delegating tasks?

McDonald’s is desperate to avoid paying a living wage, but apparently has no problem offering potential employees free iPhones (if they make it six months on the job). It’s a move that received a lot of negative attention on Twitter, with one user aptly pointing out that “Companies will do everything but pay you a living wage.”

The bad behavior doesn’t stop there. During Pride 2021, McDonald’s was one of the many large companies called out for using the celebration as a marketing opportunity, despite being known for donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to right-wing politicians with anti-LGBTQ+ platforms.

To be honest, we’re pretty fed up with the franchise. After all, McDonald’s has long marketed junk to children, mistreated the animals it sources meat from, added chemicals and preservatives to its food and made Happy Meals with chicken nuggets that…have been said to melt?

While we may be the first to “award” Mcdonald’s for disrespecting its employees and customers, we’re certainly not the only ones who have called attention to the brand’s misdemeanors. In the past, McDonald’s has come under fire for everything from systemic sexual harassment and racial discrimination to inadequate COVID-19 protection.

Need we say more?

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