Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fast Food Restaurants closing

It is without question that my jaw dropped when I came across the headline, “Fast-food restaurants closing as Quebec unemployment rate nears all-time low.” The article associated with the headline relates the temporary closing of a McDonald's in a small Canadian community of Val-d'Or and the closing of a KFC in the small city of Lévis, both in the province of Quebec, Canada. The author, Benjamin Shingler, writes that these are “among a number of Quebec restaurants forced to close its doors because of a staffing shortage.”

The article suggests that given the lowest unemployment rate that the province has seen in decades, the fast-food industry is having difficulty finding staff. In an attempt to recruit employees, some restaurants launched social media campaigns offering wages above the $11.25/hr minimum wage. Given that the economy is booming, employers will have a harder time “filling both skilled positions and low-wage jobs.” The labour “crunch” has resulted in many fast food chains struggling to survive. This reality has forced some restaurants to reduce their hours, while others have had to close their doors.

At first, I had a hard time believing how this could happen (not really!). However, after a bit of thought (very little in fact!), everything made sense. Considering that fast food restaurants are in the business of making money by producing low quality goods (in this case foods) as quickly as possible, the companies must keep expenses at a minimum. Not only are the ingredients of low grade (cheapest to be frank), the wages must be kept low so the conglomerates can make as much money as possible as quickly as possible. This includes making money off the back of their employees. The reality is when jobs are scarce, people will take whatever jobs are available, even at fast food joints! However, now that better paying jobs are out there, people quickly move on.

To me, the expression “you reap what you sow” clearly applies. As illustrated above, it is the fast food conglomerates that created this situation by trying to get the better of people through selling inferior products while simultaneously taking advantage of their employees by paying them the least amount possible. As fast as the fast food industry produces its garbage, employees will leave if given the opportunity. Hopefully, people will also move on to better quality foods. So as a result, we can genuinely say … Blame it on fast foods!

-B.J.T. Pepin