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Cultural shift — McDonald’s urges stores to stay open on Christmas

Cultural shift — McDonald’s urges stores to stay open on Christmas

After a greater number of McDonald’s stores stayed open on Thanksgiving, resulting in an estimated $36 million additional sales this year, an internal memo from the company is urging franchisees to remain open on Christmas. According to an analysis in Advertising Age, that one day accounted for almost one percentage point of their 2.5-percent increase in sale growth for the month of November:

Opening on holidays didn’t happen much in the company’s Christmases past. Richard Adams, a consultant and former McDonald’s franchisee, said that “Thanksgiving was never open. Then 15 to 16 years ago, some started staying open.” As recently as five or six years ago, “you would never even talk about being open on Christmas, even if some were open on Thanksgiving. For the franchisees, this is a big cultural shift.”

Contrast this approach with a company like Chick-fil-A, which is closed on two holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving, as well as Sundays. Two different ways to serve their customers: one by remaining open, and therefore retaining extra sales, and the other by respecting a holiday that many of their customers celebrate. Time will tell if either strategy is more successful.


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I rarely go to McDonald’s but I’ll make sure it’s never again.

    snopercod in reply to Roux. | December 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Really? A lot of people are traveling on Christmas day and need somewhere to eat. What would Jesus do?

    I don’t see the problem here. The employees probably get double or triple time for working on Christmas.

      punfundit in reply to snopercod. | December 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      “What would Jesus do?”

      What kind of snotty, pissant comment is that? Take your arrogant, irreligious bigotry and wipe your backside with it.

        snopercod in reply to punfundit. | December 19, 2012 at 6:13 am

        Are we a little sensitive about religion for some reason? Unfamiliarity with the scriptures, perhaps? I always understood that Jesus would rather people feed his flock than celebrate his birthday, but that’s just my understanding of John, Chapter 21 Verses 15 to 17. Look it up.

      Browndog in reply to snopercod. | December 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm


      I thought libs, like yourself, and you are, are all about the worker, and here you are defending the evil corporation in the name of profits.

      Money more important than family, friends, religion?

      tsrblke in reply to snopercod. | December 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      I worked at McD’s until about 2005. Several Christmas Eve shifts in fact (our store basically had a lottery for who got the day of, and tried to schedule 4 hours shifts for everyone else. If you removed youself from the lottery you got better shift hours.)
      We were never paid extra on Christmas eve (or any other holiday for that matter. I know I worked a few July 4ths.)

      WWJD? He would hand out McFish sandwhiches free of charge to McAtheists.

You know, there is something to be said for some of these places staying open on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Several years ago, I had to rush my darling wife to the ER on Thanksgiving morning for what turned out to be a serious GI bleed that kept her in ICU for four days. After 10 hours at her side at the hospital, I had to go home to let the dog out and grab a bite to eat for myself. The turkey I had been basting had sat out for the entire time I was at the hospital, so it was kaput — and with the grocery stores and all the local restaurants closed, I had nowhere to get anything to eat. I was ultimately forced to pay extortionate prices for bologna at Walgreens so that I didn’t have to cook myself a meal. Would that McDonalds had been open that day.

I agree that some restaurants staying open on holidays isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for reasons like RhymesWithRight stated, as well as others. That being said, who really wants to go to a fast-food joint for a holiday meal? Better than going hungry, for sure, but there usually are other options, like a sit-down / family restaurant (Perkins comes to mind). Our standby: Chinese restaurants are generally open when others are closed, save on Mondays.

southcentralpa | December 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm

McDonald’s? Go to a Chinese restaurant and then you can get the lowdown on what movie to go see …

BannedbytheGuardian | December 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm

As long as they wear something festive & add a little extra something on the menu , I think it is agood thing.

The staff get triple pay & even the alone can eat in company.

Christmas day can be bitterly lonely.

McDonald’s earnings have been disappointing to Wall Street of late; that’s why they’ve brought back the McRib (and the McRib special) of late … to jack up fourth quarter earnings.

To the extent that corporate can encourage (ie. coerce) its franchisees to stay open on Christmas day, will just be further frosting on the cake.

Pish. Chinese restaurants have been open on Christmas since time immemorial. Anyone from a Jewish family knows that. 😉

Seriously, though, who cares? Lots of people don’t celebrate Christmas. If a company is willing to pay extra to keep their restaurants open, I say it’s their call. I suspect they’ll get enough people to staff the registers.

I think the war on Christmas is ridiculous, and love it everytime somebody still says “Have a Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”

But this one doesn’t bother me.

a) not everyone celebrates Christmas (and when supporting global IT systems, those people are great to have running the data center so my family can enjoy the holiday)

b) my youngest son is a super finicky eater. While I look forward to the day he mans up and eats what is put in front of him, when traveling on holidays its a blessing to get him a bunch of Chicken Nuggets and have a fuss-free meal without a contest of wills that ends in tears.

Without getting into the full story, I remember one McD that was open on Thanksgiving one year in particular when all else was closed that I will be forever grateful for preserving the familial peace and holiday joy 🙂

Besides, everyone knows conservatives are big on being pro-choice … when it comes to choices in a free market. Let the franchisees choose! God bless America for choice (while we still have it) 🙂

I’m a devoted free market capitalist. I also worked every Christmas for the past 30 some odd years…volunteered…in an Emergency Room, because I’m Jewish and felt it to be the right thing to do. No big deal, but…why not?

McDonald’s is NOT a hospital or ER i.e it is NOT vital. Let workers stay at home. If they worked in a hospital, fine, you know you would end up having to take holidays, but this crap where everyone is now going to be forced to work on big days like Christmas and Thanksgiving…no, it’s sad and unecessary. Let people spend it with friends and family, and yes, if they have neither it’s terrible, but most will….

I do remember growing up that my Dad, from Europe, would take us out Christmas Eve, and we’d end up at the one place open in our city that we could find…a tiny truck-stop, where many of the patrons required two chairs…awesome fried…everything. It was situated right over the other side of the runway at our airport (St. Louis Lambert Field) and this place would literally shake whenever a plane took off though not many flew on Dec 24 eve.

Ok, it WAS open, but it was one place, and if it hadn’t have been, we would have gone home…I still don’t like the idea of McDonald’s franchisees forcing their workers to show up on Christmas…it’s one freakin’ day, let ’em have it off. I know the economy is pathetic, but this is not the answer!

    “You’ll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?” said Scrooge.

    “If quite convenient, sir.”

    “It’s not convenient,” said Scrooge, “and it’s not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you’d think yourself ill-used, I’ll be bound?”

    The clerk smiled faintly.

    “And yet,” said Scrooge, “you don’t think me ill-used, when I pay a day’s wages for no work.”

    The clerk observed that it was only once a year.

    “A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!” said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin.

      comatus in reply to RKae. | December 19, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Now you’ve done it. You can’t go far wrong if you’re against everything Dickens was for. He virtually invented childhood, and Christmas, so the rest of us could be beaten over the head with them for 150 years.

      He once visited my part of the country, and pronounced the inhabitants “morose, sullen, clownish and repulsive.” So you’re not getting Christmas off, and I can eat at McDonald’s if I damned well please. To hell with him, his works, and his ways. Pip this.

“Time will tell if either strategy is more successful.”

Even if it’s not more successful, closing on Christmas is respectful.

I’m pretty sure I’d be more successful if I produced porn instead of children’s books. Is success what it’s all about?

If we want a different outcome then: be fruitful and multiply, and don’t forget to pass on your traditions and morality.

The market (i.e. people) will decide its value, as it should. The market operates on the principle of democratic leverage.

From what I understand, stores and restaurants that are open for Christmas are staffed by people that volunteer. If the company will pay overtime, doubletime, or tripletime, there are usually a line of employees wanting to work those particular shifts.

It really comes down to customers who want to give a company our business.

I’m a practicing Catholic and Christmas for me is a time to be with family. That said, it wouldn’t bother me if franchisees decide (the operative word here being “decide”) they want to stay open, as long as it is not mandatory, as long as there continues to be a choice. I do, however, remember with nostalgia past days when everything was closed and there was a special serenity and calm in town, if only for one day! P.S. Chinese restaurants have always been open and continue so.

I’m not urging others to avoid McDonald’s. It’s just a personal choice. I don’t encourage boycotts.

Since I did not go home this year for Thanksgiving I had an authenic Thanksgiving at McDonald’s and Boston Market; My meals were prepared by brown-skin people who did not speak english, just like the Pilgrams – bada bing!

FWIW, I own a restaurant as a franchisee of an international chain. The decision to open or close is complicated. As corny as it sounds to the crew, I try to help motivate them by pointing out that those who end up having to work Memorial Day, Fourth of July, etc. are making happy memories for the people who are celebrating those days.

Last year, for the first time, I stayed open on Easter. It was a tough decision for me. Being smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt, religious sensibilities weigh heavy. However, knowing how much I appreciate places that are open when we are traveling or on vacation, I opted to try staying open. It was a disaster economically, so I won’t be open on Easter anymore. Was it a cultural or an economic decision? Both. It’s complicated.

This year, we are closing early on the 23rd and are closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I don’t typically do that, but conditions are right this year, so nobody has to sacrifice family time this year. I’m no hero; that’s just the way it worked out this year. Next year we’ll probably only take off Christmas Day and close early Christmas Eve, which is what we normally do.

Business owners have a profit motive permeating all decisions. Sometimes it’s primary, sometimes it’s secondary, sometimes it’s set aside to do the right thing.

[…] Whatever you think of them, there is probably no restaurant chain more ubiquitous or representative of Americana than McDonald’s. So it is perhaps revealing that McDonalds is now encouraging their franchisees to be open on Christmas day: […]

Phillep Harding | December 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

People stop eating just because it’s Christmas? I recall trying to find food on holidays a few times. Good for McD!

BTW, seems nearly everyone says they would never eat at McD, but I’ve never seen one empty unless it was closed. Actually, they are generally packed.