McDonald's says it will recruit more diverse franchisees, suppliers, and execs, following discrimination accusations from Black franchisees and workers
McDonald'sannounced new initiatives on diversity and a partnership with the medical nonprofit Mayo Clinic in a system-wide digital event on Wednesday.
- The company said diversity efforts will include addressing hiring bias and recruiting more diverse franchisees. McDonald's will track its progress annually and ask business partners to do the same.
- CEO Chris Kempczinski said "some people in our system feel like they haven't been given a fair shot. We have to face up to that fact and be better."
- McDonald's has faced accusations of racial discrimination from corporate employees, restaurant workers, and franchisees over the last year.
McDonald's is debuting new diversity efforts and safety strategies, following criticism from franchisees, workers, and progressive activists.
The fast-food giant held a massive digital meeting on Wednesday, including operators, suppliers, and employees from more than 70 countries. McDonald's announced two major initiatives at this "Worldwide Connection" event — new efforts on diversity and a partnership with Mayo Clinic.
The medical nonprofit Mayo Clinic will advise McDonald's on health and safety as the coronavirus pandemic continues. A team of Mayo Clinic and McDonald's experts will meet regularly to discuss best practices during the pandemic, as well as reviewing the fast-food giant's policies and practices.
McDonald's said it will announce time-bound commitments to better represent communities' diversity, dismantle "barriers to economic opportunity," and encourage inclusion in the coming weeks. Efforts include addressing hiring bias to make leadership more diverse, reducing barriers to make it easier for diverse suppliers to enter the system, and recruiting more diverse franchisees.
The company said it will also ask anyone who does business with McDonald's to make similar commitments to progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion. McDonald's said it will track its progress annually, and ask business partners to do the same.
'Some people in our system feel like they haven't been given a fair shot'
"For our Black friends and neighbors, for our colleagues of color, the devastation of COVID is matched by the pain and frustration they feel over just how far we still have to go to achieve justice in this world," CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a video on Wednesday.
"We also have to acknowledge that some people in our system feel like they haven't been given a fair shot," Kempczinski said. "We have to face up to that fact and be better."
Two Black McDonald's executives filed a lawsuit in January claiming they faced discrimination, a hostile work environment, and "irrational, vile, and cruel" retaliation on the job.
Black McDonald's franchisees told Business Insider late last year that their stores net $68,000 less a month on average than McDonald's overall franchisee average. In early June, top McDonald's executives met with the National Black McDonald's Owners Association, in part to discuss "aggressive actions to address Black franchisee disparities."
In mid-July, workers at a McDonald's location in Florida filed a lawsuit saying they had been forced to work in a "racially hostile work environment," alleging a manager repeatedly made racist statements on the job. Last week, some McDonald's workers walked off the job in protest as part of the "Strike for Black Lives."
McDonald's introduced "refreshed" values at Wednesday's event, with Kempczinski emphasizing areas including inclusion, integrity, and family.
Kempczinski was promoted to chief executive in November 2019 when former CEO Steve Easterbrook was ousted, following a company investigation into Easterbrook's romantic relationship with a coworker. Since becoming CEO, Kempczinski has repeatedly emphasized the importance of values at the company, in an apparent effort to shift the company away from prior accusations of racial discrimination and a corporate "party culture."
"As courageous decisions are being made across the system in response to COVID-19, it feels like now is the time to clarify what guides us and what we stand for," Kempczinski said.
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