Chipotle vs McDonald’s and The Future of Workforce Development
Tomorrow’s workforce is being built today. Can our education system keep pace with the demands of industry?
CEOs like Alibaba’s Jack Ma are looking for “people who have a strong sense of entrepreneurship, leadership and integrity. They need to be positive, creative, and resourceful; and at the same time resilient in the face of uncertainty, changing dynamics and constant challenge.” Alibaba is poaching talent from elite U.S. MBA programs to achieve this objective. But they are not the only employer looking for the self-starter, innovative, resilient and positive hard charging employee.
Let’s compare the stereotypical McDonald’s employee to employees at Chipotle…
$9 per hour and higher expectations
For years, McDonald’s has served as the first employer for teenagers across the United States. From the very inception of the restaurant chain, the McDonald’s brothers relied on teenagers to fill its workforce needs. Over the past decades, little has changed regarding teenagers flocking to fast food and retail chains to seek out their first employment opportunities. But, what has changed is the type of person businesses like Chipotle are willing to hire.
Let’s compare the stereotypical employee at McDonald’s to the employees that you encounter at Chipotle and Chick-fil-A. The former is more likely to seem uninspired and bored, similar to how Steve Ells, the CEO of Chipotle described his high school years working at McDonald’s. On the other hand, employers like Chipotle and Chick-fil-A deliberately seek out more enthusiastic employees. In fact, Chipotle actually has a list of 13 characteristics that they look for in potential hires:
- Conscientious 5. Infectiously Enthusiastic 9. Polite 13. Honest
- Respectful 6. Happy 10. Motivated
- Hospitable 7. Presentable 11. Ambitious
- High Energy 8. Smart 12. Curious
What does all that mean?
Entry-level employers Chipotle and Chick-fil-A have raised the bar for the standards of their employees and companies like Alibaba are not the only ones looking for positive, innovative and entrepreneurial future employees. This is great news for customers; it is comforting to know that employees are being held to a higher standard. For teenagers looking for future employment in entry-level positions, it is a warning that employers are looking for employees who add value to the company beyond completing a task, and can responsibly serve as ambassadors of the organizations brand. This is a huge shift in mindset from fast food giants like McDonald’s who have not previously focused on service and food quality to the extent of new companies like Chipotle. As a result, McDonald’s has found itself in a bit of a corporate crisis with lower sales and diminishing market share in an industry where they once dominated. Today, even managers at McDonald’s are looking for a different type of employee – apply and then complete a 60 minute psychological profiling assessment – it just got real at Mickey D’s!
Tomorrow’s Employee & The Entrepreneurial Mindset
The basic tenets of entrepreneurship offer critical building blocks for constructing better employees. Curiosity, innovation, customer satisfaction, brand awareness, and profitability are foundational to entrepreneurship and (once understood) they can have a profound impact on the value an employee brings to a company.
Let’s look back at Chipotle’s list of employee characteristics. #1 Conscientious, #8 smart, #10 motivated, #11 ambitious and #12 curious all lend to employee innovation and problem solving. Numbers 2 through 7 and #9 polite and #13 honest, center around the idea of a pleasant working environment and superb customer interactions. All of this essentially amounts to employees with an entrepreneurial mindset who see themselves as an extension of their company’s brand.
This is in stark contrast to MAD TV’s Bonquiqui of King Burger…Gurl, bye! RUDE!
Remember Calvin?! Bring Back CALVIN from the McDonald’s Commercials, circa 1992!!
Calvin from the corner is on his way to owning a McDonald’s!
A New Standard
Maybe company’s like Chipotle are not poaching MBAs from Princeton and Harvard but they do expect their employees to be hardworking, dedicated and caring individuals. Steve Ells learned that from his high school days as an McDonald’s employee and he then set a much higher standard for his employees at Chipotle at a much higher standard. It won’t take long for more companies to follow suit by learning from McDonald’s error in not making Calvin (from the corner) the example for their standard employee.
An understanding of how the quality of a company’s products and services impacts the financial bottom-line of a business can provide key insight for employees looking for job security. Participate in bringing money (increased sales) into the business then you will undoubtedly feel a stronger sense of job security. Embracing an entrepreneurial mindset and working for brands you believe in is pivotal for today’s workforce and increasingly important for future employees.
Is our education system prepared to produce entrepreneurial employees?
Let us know your thoughts below!
Yours in service,