1. I have been a McDonald's franchisee for 11 years. I joined McDonald's in 1980 as a Crew Member and worked my way up to the position of Restaurant Manager at the Strand restaurant. I was Restaurant Manager of the Strand for 2 years before becoming an Area Supervisor.
2. In February or March 1994 my franchised restaurant was vandalised. A brick was thrown through the large window and a bottle containing paint attached to a brick in a carrier bag was thrown against the main McDonald's sign smashing the sign and causing an electrical fault. The words "Save the Planet" were daubed on the broken window. The damage cost me approximately £2,000 and I have now had security cameras installed which film the outside of the restaurant 24 hours a day. In consequence, although I am willing to give evidence in this action, I am reluctant to give the address of my restaurant.
3. I was the Restaurant Manager of the Strand restaurant when filming took place by a production company for a television programme which I now know to be called "One Every Mile". I have seen a copy of the video and have also read the transcript of the video. I have also read the statement of Anne Tobin.
4. Miss Tobin states that whilst employed as a researcher she worked 5 shifts split between the Strand and Croydon restaurant. I do not recall Anne Tobin or any researcher working in the restaurant. I do recall however the cameras being in the restaurant for a number of shifts.
5. I shall first comment on Anne Tobin's statement. I will only deal with general allegations or allegations concerning the Strand restaurant and will not deal with allegations concerning the Croydon restaurant. Miss Tobin alleges that "a whole bag of rotting lettuce was used up in the Big Macs". I do not believe this. I was never aware of rotting lettuce being used and I am sure that all my Assistant Managers and Shift Running Floor Managers were well aware that if lettuce was in poor condition it was to be thrown away.
6. Miss Tobin also alleges that buns were "mouldy blue". Again, I do not believe that this ever happened in my restaurant. I certainly have no knowledge of it and I am confident that none of the Assistant Managers would have let it happen either. Buns are delivered every day and they are held for a maximum of 4 days. The chances of buns becoming mouldy within that time are remote. Company procedures are tight and require that Managers keep a close eye on all material such as the buns. In particular, the person on wrap and call should inspect all food before it is wrapped. I have never received a complaint by a customer about a mouldy bun (or rotting lettuce) in all my time working at McDonald's.
7. Miss Tobin alleges that crumbled or broken meat patties were placed inside hamburgers. I am not aware that this ever happened at the Strand restaurant during my time as Restaurant Manager and all Assistant Managers and Crew Members were trained to ensure that it did not. Again, if it had happened, I would have expected to have had complaints from customers. I never did.
8. Although it is true to say that employees do occasionally suffer minor burns when working the bun toaster, Miss Tobin exaggerates the extent of the burns. There is a spatula designed to remove the buns if they are stuck to the toaster and hands need never be used.
9. The allegation that Crew Members received abuse from management if they discarded food which was unfit is ridiculous and, as far as I am concerned, offensive. In the first place, it is, of course, entirely correct to discard unfit food and, as far as I am aware, it was always done during my time at the Strand. The idea that I, or any other manager, would upbraid crew for doing the right thing is preposterous. Secondly, it is not my habit to "abuse" crew members for anything at all. In my experience, a successful restaurant is not run in that way at all. It is run by team-work, which is achieved by training and encouragement. Food is checked by the person on wrap and call to ensure that it corresponds with the standards set by McDonald's and the Shift Manager would always make regular checks of all areas of operation in the kitchen. All McDonald's employees are carefully trained to ensure that only food of high quality is served.
10. At the time of the film, I believe that the Strand restaurant was the busiest McDonald's restaurant in the world. I think it was also the highest-earning. It was an extremely harmonious restaurant during my time and we all worked together as a team. I have no doubt that this was the main reason for our success. We received shares in the McDonald's Corporation as a bonus for our excellent performance and service.
11. Miss Tobin's allegation that no-one at the Strand left at the official end of their shift is, like much of her statement, exaggerated. She is right to say that the crew had to report to the Shift Running Manager to ask for permission to leave. However, it is untrue to say that Crew Members were always told to do something, however trivial, to delay their departure. The Crew would be kept on only if there was a task which logically had to be completed by them before they left.
12. The allegation that a young woman was kept on beyond her shift and missed her last bus home is not something of which I was aware. If a Crew Member is unhappy with the treatment he or she is receiving from an Assistant Manager or a Floor Manager they should complain to the Restaurant Manager. I never received any such complaint.
13. I was never aware of any talk or complaints about a Trade Union. It was never an issue. Similarly, I never received a complaint by a Crew Member that he was underpaid by at least 10 hours in the previous week.
14. The allegation that I called in a Crew Member who had taken part in the filmed Rap Session and told him off for being critical of McDonald's is both false and insulting. The whole purpose of rap sessions is to allow crew members to express their honest views about the restaurant and its management, so that management can take account of those views and make whatever changes or adjustments may be necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the restaurant. If I had ever had any thought that I might need to frustrate the purpose of a rap session in the way Miss Tobin alleges I would never have allowed a rap session to be filmed.
15. Miss Tobin's allegation that people had been forced to go to rap sessions is the reverse of what was actually the case with rap sessions in the Strand restaurant. In my view, rap sessions are more constructive if there is a manageable number of people attending. The usual problem at the Strand restaurant was that too many Crew Members wanted to go and we had to tell people not to go so as to ensure that the session was manageable.
16. Miss Tobin refers to a Shift Running Manager who worked 97 hours in a week and who left the employment of the company a week later. I believe this Manager was Michael Metcalfe. Metcalfe was my First Assistant and I recall that he was very ambitious. He left McDonald's principally because he was not progressing as quickly as he thought he should do. I recall that at the time of his departure a similar allegation was made about the number of hours he worked. I remember checking the schedule and noted that he was scheduled for the regulation 5 shifts in a week. Thus, 97 hours in a week is probably an exaggeration although it was fair to say that Michael was ambitious and therefore put in extra hours in order to impress. It certainly was not necessary for him to spend that amount of time in the restaurant in order to complete his duties.
17. I have never known a time when Floor Managers, as alleged, have worked an 18 hour shift in the Strand restaurant, let alone three 18 hour shifts on the trot.
18. Miss Tobin's allegations concerning training show a lack of understanding of how McDonald's work. The only proper way to train Crew Members how to prepare the food was for them to actually get on and prepare the food. Miss Tobin appears to suggest that training manuals would be of great assistance in this regard. In my view, the best training is to actually get on and work the station rather than read about it in a training manual. A new Crew Member would always be accompanied by an experienced Crew Member when starting on a new task.
19. I have watched the video entitled "One Every Mile". I shall only comment on parts of the film concerning the Strand restaurant and on matters in the film that I consider require an explanation. Matters I do not comment on are matters which require no explanation as they appear to be a fair representation of what went on inside the restaurant. The page numbers refer to the page of the transcript where the scene I refer to is to be found.
20. I should say at the outset that the film is not representative of a typical McDonald's restaurant. At the time the film was made the Strand and the Croydon restaurants were the busiest 2 restaurants in the world, not just in the United Kingdom. At a normal time the Strand restaurant would have 45 to 60 employees working. The film would be more representative of McDonald's if it included footage from a quieter more typical restaurant rather than filming in two extremely busy restaurants.
21. I also think that some parts of the kitchen scenes seem to be speeded up (page 2). Further, the camera appears to distort the true picture in the restaurant making it appear more crowded than it really is. The Strand restaurant's kitchen is much larger than the impression given by the film and the employees in the kitchen are not as crowded as the film portrays.
22. The scene showing Daniella and Francesca's first day is reasonably represented (page 5). As I explained earlier new employees are stationed with an experienced Floor Manager in order to show them the ropes. The best way to learn at McDonald's is actually on the restaurant floor.
23. The scene showing me taking apple pies out of the fryer at the same time as talking about the breakfast menu can be explained by the fact that breakfast is not served after 11a.m. and the main menu starts at that time. Apple pies are part of the main menu and therefore are sold from 11 o'clock. However, it takes 6 minutes to cook an apple pie and then 20 minutes for it to cool before it is ready to serve. Thus, before the breakfast menu is taken off you have to start to prepare for the main menu to begin and cook such things as apple pies.
24. The scene showing me carrying out a performance review (page 6) is reasonably representative although I suspect that the Crew Member was inhibited by the cameras and would have talked more had the cameras not been there. What I was trying to find out from the Crew Member was whether she wanted to progress in McDonald's. It eventually became clear that this employee just wanted to get on with her job and was not in fact interested in promotion or progress, but was being held back in expressing her true feelings by an inability to ask questions. I had no problem with employees who did not want to progress, but I always wanted to make sure that that was the real reason for their failure to progress and not simply because they were too afraid to ask.
25. The shots of the kitchen showing Michael, Edwin and me controlling operations is fairly representative of the Strand restaurant at that time (pages 12-13). Again, I stress that the Strand restaurant is not a typical restaurant and that in such a large restaurant it is important that the Shift Running Managers are fully in control. This means that we had to keep a close eye on all the various parts of the kitchen. Robert, the person I am seen talking to, was the Shift Running Manager. It was not for me, as restaurant Manager (when I was not shift running), to sort out problems by giving directions to the Crew Members. It was my job to point out as a Shift Running Manager what I thought the problem was and allow the Shift Running Manager to run the shift. The restaurant was so busy that one often had to give quite short instructions.
26. The general shots of the Strand kitchen (page 16-17) illustrate my point that the camera gives a very narrow shot of the store. The picture does not show the entire counter but only half the counter and does not show the production bin which is immediately behind the counter.
27. The film is correct to say that drink breaks are given at the management's discretion.
28. The rap session held by Paul Hickling (pages 17-20) is correct procedurally in that Paul Hickling was not the Area Supervisor of the Strand restaurant. The general topics covered by Paul are normally covered by supervisors in rap sessions. However, I feel that the atmosphere in the rap session is different than would normally be the case because of the cameras. In my experience employees are much more talkative and spontaneous in a rap session than is shown in the film. The filmed rap session is quieter than normal.
29. The shots of the night clockers (page 20) is representative of what happens in the Strand restaurant every night. I note that the person carrying out the filtering is correctly clothed in protective clothing. The shot showing Michael attempting to account for 53 missing buns would not take very long and the carrying out of such tasks would certainly not account for a 90 hour week as is perhaps suggested by the film. All Michael needed to do would be to double check the inventory which would reveal what caused the discrepancy. The restaurant opens at 6a.m. and, if I was the Shift Running Manager, I would appear at 4.30a.m., as the film reveals, and make sure that everything is ready for the opening. It is a large restaurant and it would sometimes be a difficult task to ensure the restaurant was ready to open on time. Cleanliness is extremely important and I had to ensure that the kitchen was properly cleaned before the restaurant opened.
June 26, 1995|
exhibits: Not applicable/ available