McDonald's takes down employee resources website after scrutiny

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

CHICAGO — McDonald's, under pressure to increase pay for its workers, is removing a resources website for employees, after critics pummeled the burger maker for such tips as breaking food into small pieces to feel more full.

"A combination of factors has led us to re-evaluate," the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said in a statement on its website. "Between links to irrelevant or outdated information, along with outside groups taking elements out of context, this created unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary."

The McResource website, which had information for McDonald's workers about health and wellness, as well as child and senior care, was created by an independent third party. McDonald's said it will continue to provide the McResource service through an internal telephone helpline.

BerlinRosen, a New York-based public relations and consulting firm, criticized the McResource website in November, saying it told employees to take vacations when they couldn't afford it and to break food into smaller pieces to feel full on less. About 90 percent of McDonald's 14,100 U.S. locations are owned and operated by franchisees.

The McResource website "provided counsel on using information to make informed choices," Lisa McComb, a spokeswoman for McDonald's, said in an e-mail Thursday. "All of the content wasn't relevant for our audiences and we weren't in a position to customize it. And, portions of the content were taken out of context and misreported so these factors combined weren't helping our employees," she said.

The resources site was created by Nurtur Health Inc., based in Farmington, Conn., McComb said. Terry Miller, senior director of human resources at Nurtur, didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Congressional Democrats, as well as worker advocacy groups, have urged the world's largest restaurant chain to raise pay for store workers. While McDonald's staff and other fast-food chain employees have recently gone on strike across the U.S. to demand higher wages and better benefits, the protests have made little impact on an industry that employs millions of low-wage workers.

McDonald's has been struggling to attract American diners as rivals lure away customers amid a choppy economic recovery. The chain's U.S. sales funk worsened in November as same-store sales dropped 0.8 percent.