Paul Facella writes in his book, Everything I Know About Business I Learned At McDonald’s (p. 85):
As Bill Cosby said in his commencement address to Cheyney University’s Class of 2007, workers at McDonald’s pick up many skills. “If I’m flipping burgers,” Cosby noted, “I’m not flipping burger for the rest of my life. I’m learning to become a manager. And I’m not the manager forever because I’m learning to become the regional manager.” Cosby accurately depicted opportunities at McDonald’s–for those, it should be stressed, who adhere to McDonald’s rigorous standards.
That passage brought back more than a few discussions I’ve had over the years about “burger flipping jobs.” Usually, the reference was made by discussion partners as if they were dead-end, low pay hopeless jobs.
One of the best managers I’ve had the opportunity to work for is a former McDonald’s burger flipper.
The author, Paul Facella, started working with McDonald’s at 16 and rose to become a regional vice-president for the company and judging from his writings, he enjoyed it and found it greatly fulfilling.
Just a few pages earlier (p. 77), Facella wrote about the pride of burger flipping:
I worked my way to grill person, the key position, after many months and had a pretty good knack for speed and dexterity, always striving to perform up to the standards expected of me. Coworkers and I raced to see who was the fastest at flipping burgers and putting patties on the grill. I could usually hold my own. But the more important contests were sales. We strove to break any record…hourly, daily, or weekly. There was a bonus if you worked during that time period. And we broke records. Our store became one of the top sales restaurants in the area, and we got quite good at keeping the lines down and increasing sales. It was also important in the status of your crew if you worked the record hour on your station. We fought to be there when the big crowds gathered for a chance to break the record on our shift.
It sounds like a burger flippers learned to see the big picture. They knew their efforts contributed to keeping lines moving quickly, which helped keep customers satisfied and their store break sales records. As Cosby said, they’re learning to be the manager. And they took pride in their work. Imagine that.