A Local Approach: How McDonald’s Protects the People and Communities it Serves

December 08, 2021

By Rob Holm

Rob Holm is Director of McDonald’s Global Security

Signs outside your local McDonald’s likely read “Billions served.” As the person responsible for overseeing security at McDonald’s restaurants – and in turn, the security of those “Billions,” I’m often asked: how does McDonald’s go about the formidable task of keeping customers and crew safe, especially when many of our locations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

We have an extraordinary US team with unparalleled security experience dedicated to doing just that. They’re the individuals often working behind the scenes, hand-in-hand with our operations team and US franchisees and restaurant teams, to protect the safety and security of everyone under the Arches – and you’d be right to think it’s no easy task. But the team we have is up to the job and brings innovative solutions for our restaurants that make sure customers are served delicious, feel-good moments, and employees experience the same level of safety no matter which McDonald’s they’re in.

While we always work to help ensure our restaurants are safe and welcoming places and that what takes place outside our restaurant doors doesn’t impact the experience inside, the broad claims being made in the report are inaccurate and do not reflect the work that goes into making McDonald’s a community pillar. 

Goal one: Identify and prevent issues before they happen while preparing for the inevitable and unexpected.

We pride ourselves on providing comprehensive training to the restaurants with the goal of preventing any issues before they happen. We educate our corporate-owned restaurant managers on safety practices, crime prevention, and emerging security concerns regularly (like last year, for example, when a cross-functional team introduced and trained 800,000 crew on more than 50 new Covid-19 safety protocols – a record-breaking rollout!). And while we’ve helped pioneer innovative digital trainings, my team is in many of McDonald’s-owned and operated restaurants each year to review the information in live, interactive sessions with restaurant managers and crew.

Over the past year, we have also developed and implemented a comprehensive global restaurant workplace violence prevention program designed to protect McDonald’s customers and restaurant employees, which is being offered to all restaurants. The program involves a combination of e-learning for managers and crew, workplace violence prevention workshops, and special training designed for restaurants that face specific challenges.

McDonald’s is also implementing Global Brand Standards for safe and respectful workplaces in 2022, which includes requiring all 39,000 McDonald’s restaurants globally to maintain procedures for incident reporting and workplace violence policies and trainings. These standards will be a major tool in ensuring we’re preventing issues before they happen and are ready to respond to any issues that do arise. Looking ahead, these standards will be supported by new annual Health and Safety audits and will reinforce a culture of safety in all McDonald’s restaurants around the globe, and I couldn’t be prouder to see this additional investment in People come to life.

Goal two: Adapt in real-time to emerging issues and provide the teams on the ground with the resources to navigate

While we do everything we can to keep all McDonald’s restaurants running smoothly without interruption, the unfortunate reality of sitting at the heart of 14,000 US communities with more than 800,000 individuals working under the Arches is that things happen. On any given day, we have nearly 25 million customers come through our US restaurants — which means that if there is a one-in-a-million chance that something will happen in our restaurants, then it could happen at least 25 times per day.

That’s why we take an always-on approach and constantly update our resources to address any potential disruptions that could impact our customers or employees. Whether there’s a community rally that’s bound to create added foot traffic to our dining rooms or a nearby incident that has placed a community into lockdown, our team is prepared and ready to support restaurants on a moment’s notice. We’ll also occasionally seek out support from off-duty police officers when we need it, but we also must balance the likelihood that exceedingly rare events will occur with the desire to make sure our customers have warm, welcoming places to enjoy a delicious meal.

And, of course, there are some things that no amount of safety protocols can prevent. A few years ago, for instance, I fielded a call from a restaurant that had a small airplane crash-land in its parking lot. Not long after that, we worked with a restaurant after customers arrived to the drive-thru via horseback, creating an unanticipated safety concern for both customers and crew. One in a million.

Goal three: Always be good neighbors and good members of our communities.

Protecting our customers, the individuals who work under the Arches and our communities isn’t just our duty, it’s our highest priority. This is how we serve. But we can’t do it alone. We all have a role to play. It’s the responsibility of our customers to be respectful to crew who work so hard to create a positive experience for them. It’s up to restaurant managers to look out for their crew and report misbehavior when they see it. It’s incumbent on our elected officials to invest in economic development and education.

We all contribute to the social fabric that keeps our neighborhoods, our communities, and our country safe, and the only way we’ll strengthen it is by doing it together. And together with our community partners, restaurant teams and customers, my team will be there every step of the way to help make sure that when you are dining under the Arches, you are one of Billions, served safely.

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