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McDonald’s franchises are being encouraged to stay open on Christmas this year.
The call to open the restaurants on Christmas Day follows a time when McDonald’s has been hurting. Due to a smaller dollar menu and increased competition from other chains like Burger King and Wendy’s, sales have fallen.
The move to stay open on Thanksgiving had successful results.
6,000 of about 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. remained open on Turkey Day, bringing McDonald’s an extra $36 million.
“Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day,” said McDonald’s CEO Jim Johannesen, in a memo obtained by Advertising Age. “Last year, [company-operated] restaurants that opened on Christmas averaged $5,500 in sales."
If the same number of franchises are open on Christmas, and perform just as well, that could mean a gain of $72 million for the company.
However, concerns are being raised about having employees work for meager wages on a holiday when they should be home celebrating and relaxing with their families.
According to the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the median wage for fast-food employees is only $9.65 an hour and only 13.5% of employees make enough wages to make a living.
“When our company-owned restaurants are open on the holidays, the staff voluntarily sign up to work,” spokesman Heather Oldani told Ad Age. "There is no regular overtime pay.”