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Posted on Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 5:56 a.m.

Ann Arbor area McDonald's stores plan to add dozens of jobs as chain seeks image turnaround

By Nathan Bomey

Have you had your McJob today?

Fast-food chain McDonald’s is launching a national hiring campaign Tuesday with plans to add 50,000 workers.

Owners of seven of Washtenaw County’s 16 McDonald’s stores said they collectively plan to hire between 53 to 72 new employees.


Al Fellhauer (left) stands with his son, Jeff, outside of the McDonald's in Pittsfield Township. Al owns the McDonald's stores in Pittsfield Township, Milan and Dundee, and Jeff is the operator.

Angela J. Cesere |

The hiring campaign reflects a bid to improve the image of working at McDonald’s and to draw in better talent to accelerate what the analysts have described as a significant improvement in service over the last few years.

Al Fellhauer, who owns the store on Michigan Avenue near Sam’s Club in Pittsfield Township and the store near U.S. 23 in Milan, is hopeful that the national hiring campaign will undercut the “stigma” of working at McDonald’s that still exists in some people’s minds.

“Ten years ago we were the joke of comedians and that has really slowed down a lot. But I think that the caliber of employee at McDonald’s now is much, much better than it has been for a long time,” he said. “We have a pretty good story if people take the time to look at it.”

Indeed, analysts say McDonald’s outpaced its competitors during the global economic crisis, renovating stores, strategically adding locations and introducing new products that drove a sales increase while other chains stagnated.

Total revenue at McDonald's rose from $23.52 billion in 2008 to $24.07 billion in 2010 while profits rose from $4.31 billion to $4.95 billion, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Now, the chain wants to improve the image of working there. Owners argue that working at McDonald’s is not a dead-end job. They say crewmembers often work their way into management positions — and even sometimes into ownership or corporate positions.

Monique Vann-Brown, who owns the stores on Washtenaw Avenue in Pittsfield Township and Ecorse Road in Ypsilanti, grew up working at a McDonald’s in Oak Park, Mich.

Although she spent a “long stint in the automotive industry” after earning engineering and MBA degrees from Purdue University, she returned to the Golden Arches in summer 2009 by purchasing her two stores.

Vann-Brown said she hopes the hiring campaign “addresses the gaps between the external perception and the internal reality of working for McDonald’s.”

“A lot of the critics disparage McDonald’s jobs and there’s a lot of misperceptions that exist in America about employment opportunities at McDonald’s,” Vann-Brown said. “We believe that now is the time to take a step forward and celebrate the quote-unquote ‘McJobs’ that we proudly offer.”

Applying for a job at McDonald's

The fast-food chain on Tuesday will conduct interviews at all of its stores with plans to add 50,000 employees nationwide. 

Here’s how to apply:

Visit to file an online application. Most stores are conducting open interviews on Tuesday, but check on timing and procedure in advance. Some stores will provide computers to help employees file applications on site.

Owners said the benefits of working at McDonald’s include a social atmosphere, an opportunity to learn basic customer service, the chance to improve communication skills and the opportunities to advance.

“Companies like to hire McDonald’s workers because we train them well, they have good experience in process, they learn different functions — anywhere from handling money to marketing — and it’s a great place to not only start, but grow,” said Toni Rodgers, who owns the stores on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township, North Huron River Drive in Ypsilanti and Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor.

Still, critics say that the McDonald’s jobs are low-paid and representative of a general trend in Michigan’s economy toward low-paid, low-skill jobs.

The “food services and drinking places” sector is expected to add 784 jobs from 2010 to 2013, according to economic forecast recently conducted by the University of Michigan.

Part of that sector is “limited service eating places,” such as fast-food restaurants, which are expected to add 221 jobs during that period.

McDonald’s says it employs 32,300 people in 544 restaurants in Michigan. The average store brings in annual sales of about $2 million and spends about $559,000 on wages and benefits.

Storeowners readily acknowledge that many of their entry-level employees start at minimum wage, which is $7.40 an hour.

But they also say that good employees have a chance to advance. The company says that 70 percent of its managers, 50 percent of its corporate workers and 30 percent of its owners started as crewmembers.

“You can go all the way up,” Rodgers said. “You have full potential to do anything.”

Fellhauer said salaried workers start around $30,000 a year with store managers making more than $50,000. He said his goal with the national hiring event is to attract some experienced employees. He’s looking for about five workers overall.

“I would like to get a couple management people out of it,” he said. “That would be very nice.”

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Nathan, You need to do a follow up to this article. Before you do, visit the Mc Donalds on Washtenaw ave just west of the burger king. The mass hiring has failed miserably at this location. The counter people are rude and not at all trained and the management staff is worse. The day I was there I counted 10 people in Mc Donalds shirts behind the counter not one of them acted like they knew what they were doing. The manager on duty was grumpy and never once turned around to even check on the crew and customers at the front counter. She was too busy having a conversation with another crew person. with all of these people working they should have atleast wiped the counter down but no, it was all finger prints and smeary. This store is one of Ms Vann-Browns and gives Mcdonalds a bad name. I called Mcdonalds 800 number and got the preprogramed response that their so called customer service representatives artold to say. For a company that boasts a billion dollar increase in sales in the last year they sure don't spend any of it on training. Mcdonalds corp forwarded my concern to the franchise and i got a 4 line form letter with no phone number to call. After that the manager of that store called and left me a message. Sorry to say i called her back. She answered the phone , not Mcdonalds but, Hello, I asked if this was jennifer(the name she left) and her response was, "Who is this?!" I told her who this was and explained the situation to her she was rude throughout the conversation and when i suggested training the crew people she got mad. She yelled at me and said." i have a 4 yearold daughter at home that I want to spend time with and can't be here all the time" and she hung up on me. I think that if you are going to do articles on big corporations that you need to print the whole story and not just the feel good part that they want you to see.

Raggety Andy

Sun, Apr 17, 2011 : 12:47 a.m.

ahh... more mcjobs. selling horrifyingly unhealthy food at artificially low prices. sounds great! let's encourage this whenever we can. In fact let's subsidize it! oh wait we already do with our billions in tax breaks to oil companies and subsidies to big AG. Forget those well paying union jobs that paid middle class salaries and provided benefits and pensions. Now we can all dress up like clowns for $7.40/hr and watch our self respect ooze away. Do you want to super size that?

jeremy stephens

Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

The good news is that every job added (even lousy paying ones) adds money to the local economy and I'm sure there are a lot of people who'd be glad to have one of these jobs. This could potentially be a contributing factor (however slight) to rebuilding the economy. For some, it may even lead to getting a better job down the line. Also, the fact that companies like The bad news- there is a lot of support for the push to change societal views on lousy paying jobs. I understand that one should never snub a person because of their mcjob due to the fact that we live in an age where anybody could become jobless at any time. What bothers me is that our standards of what a good job is have diminished so much that it has gotten to the point to where jobs like fry cook are starting to be treated like career options. There are people who act like the service industry alone is what's going to save the economy. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but an economy which is based on a lot of people making min. wage is still a very weak economy. You can hype it up as much as you want but at the end of the day, a rose by any other name is still a rose and a mcjob by any other name is still just a mcjob.

jeremy stephens

Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

my computer cut me off. the end of the first paragraph should say, the fact that companies like mcdaonalds are expanding their businesses and hiring more people could be a sign of an improving economy in general.


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

I hope they CAN achieve their goals. But, I recommend they start with training ALL their people at the counter to greet people in a friendly manner and thank everyone for their order. Most of the time in recent years when I've gone in there, the person at the counter just stares at you silently waiting for you to order. Very bad. McDonalds has at least, attempted to add a few healthier choices to their menu in recent years. But, the unhealthy fats, processed carbs, and high levels of sodium and sugar in their food scares me away most of the time (unless I'm on the road and there's not any other acceptable choices).


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

If you're scared of sugar and salt you should change your picture, pilgrim.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

No mention of health insurance. I found this at one of the links with regard to health benefits. "*Subject to availability and certain eligibility requirements and restrictions. Talk to your local franchise owner or restaurant manager to learn more."


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

It would definitely be better if they could have more healthy food. But I just have to use this forum to give props to the employees at the Waahtenaw / Huron Parkway McDonald's. Among all of the Ann. Arbor McDonald's they are consistently the most pleasant workers.

Random Man

Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

Stop coming down on the Clown! The more good people they hire the better & healthier food they'll serve. An low paying jobs help pay the bills until you can learn higher paying skills. The foundation for many a good career was supported by Golden Arches!


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

"Stop coming down on the Clown!" Hilarious! You are funny. They ought to make that their motto.


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

Have I had my McJob today? Really? =/

Jim Nazium

Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

It's great that they want to add more jobs, we need them. Sadly though, since watching Super Size Me, I can't stand the smell of their food. Also seeing how they chemically make up the combination of the "meal", and how terrible it is for you healthwise, I'll only eat there in an emergency.


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

If they could only make the food better for you.


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Awesome article love the facts ! It appears a great place to start out a lifetime of being a good steward . Make fun if you may , most people eat there .


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

I don't eat there.


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

"most people eat there " Uhmmm.... no, they don't. I don't know what circles you run around in, but 'most' people don't eat at Mickey D's.


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

"But I think that the caliber of employee at McDonald's now is much, much better than it has been for a long time," I will be convinced when I can go to the McDonald's on Stadium twice in a row and get home with what I ordered!