McDonald's Temporarily Shuts U.S. Offices as Chain Prepares for Layoff Notices

The company is expected to notify workers of their job status virtually, with no in-person meetings.

McDonald's Corp. will temporarily close its U.S. office this week in order to inform employees about the layoffs that it has made as part of a larger company restructuring.

In an email to U.S. and international employees, the Chicago-based fast food chain stated that it would prefer U.S. workers to work remotely from Monday through Wednesday in order to make staffing decisions electronically. In the email, the company asked employees to cancel any in-person meetings with vendors or other outside parties at its headquarters.

The message, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal, stated that the company would communicate key decisions regarding roles and staffing levels throughout the organization during the week of April 3.

McDonald's declined Sunday to comment on the number being laid off.

McDonald's stated in January that it would make difficult decisions regarding changes to its corporate staffing levels before April as part of a larger strategic plan for the restaurant chain.

Chris Kempczinski, Chief Executive, stated in an interview that he expected money to be saved as part of the workforce evaluation. However, he did not have a dollar figure or number of jobs that he wanted to eliminate. Kempczinski stated that'some jobs that exist today will either get moved or may disappear."

McDonald's employs over 150,000 people worldwide in corporate roles as well as its own restaurants. 70% of these are located outside the United States, McDonald's stated in February.

McDonald's acknowledged in its message that April 3rd would be busy for personal travel. This contributed to the decision of delivering the news remotely. According to the company, workers who won't be able to access a computer for the week should give their manager personal contact information.

The company stated that it wanted to protect the privacy and comfort of its employees during the notification period.

Concerns about the slowing economy are prompting companies across all industries to reduce their headcounts. Last year's layoffs in the tech sector spread to manufacturers and retailers. Inc. announced last month that it would be eliminating 9,000 additional jobs as a result of previously announced layoffs.

Even though retailers reported a slowdown, McDonald's has maintained its sales.

In January, the company informed investors that while some customers with lower incomes were choosing to order fewer items or choose cheaper options, they still spent a lot at its restaurants.

In recent years, McDonald's has had several rounds of layoffs. McDonald's stated in 2018 that it was reducing its management to make the company more dynamic, agile and competitive. McDonald's stated at the time that the layoffs were part of a plan worth half a billion dollars to reduce administrative costs by 2019.

The U.S. president of McDonald's at the time, Mr. Kempczinski didn't reveal the extent of the head-count reduction but stated that it included regional chains offices. McDonald's stated that it employed 205,000 people worldwide in corporate roles and its own restaurants in 2019, a drop of 235,000 from 2017.

McDonald's stated in a January company message that too many silos were causing redundancies and slowing down innovation. McDonald's stated that it would consolidate its work on certain projects and then stop or move away.