McDonald’s location allegedly offering ‘free’ iPhones to new employees amid worker shortage

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One McDonald’s appears to be offering free iPhones to workers who stay on the staff for six months and meet additional “employment criteria.” (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Welcome to McDonald’s — would you like an iPhone with that?

Amid widespread reports of restaurant operators struggling to find workers as their dining rooms reopen across the country, one particular McDonald’s restaurant is allegedly trying to entice new hires with the promise of free iPhones.

The promotion was spotted over the weekend by Twitter user @Brogawd_, who shared a photo of a window display advertising the deal at an unidentified McDonald’s.

“McDonald’s now hiring,” reads the sign. “Free iPhone after six months employment & meet employee criteria.”

The user who posted the photo further joked that McDonald’s was “starving” for a workforce, but Twitter commenters weren’t so surprised. Many questioned how a McDonald’s employee would be able to afford basic living expenses, while some shared their opinion that the McDonald’s operator should just raise wages, rather than try to offer an iPhone as an incentive. Others questioned what the management’s “employee criteria” entailed, and whether or not it would be feasible for a new employee to redeem the phone after six months.

This being Twitter, however, some just joked about the iPhone depicted in the window display, noting that it appeared to be an older model.

The Twitter user who originally shared the photo to Twitter did not reveal where the McDonald’s was located.

Worker shortages, meanwhile, continue to affect the restaurant and food-service industry. Earlier this month, the National Restaurant Association claimed that 57% of operators “recruitment and retention of workforce as their top challenge” during a poll conducted in April.

Many of these restaurant operators allege that extended unemployment insurance benefits might discouraging potential workers from returning to restaurant jobs, but the real reasons for the shortage are the result of several challenges and factors, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

The EPI, a non-profit think-tank, recently released findings that indicated that April’s slow job growth had little to do with continued unemployment aid, but rather continued health concerns and an “outflow” of workers — primarily women — from employment due to caregiving concerns.

The National Restaurant Association also noted that newly relaxed COVID-19 restrictions were driving more customers out to restaurants — thus creating a greater demand for workers, all at once.

In any case, the McDonald’s operator above isn’t the only one trying out unconventional hiring incentives. In mid-April, a McDonald’s in Florida was offering potential employees $50 just to sit down for an interview. The operator of that franchise, however, had later admitted that the tactic produced less-than-desired results, according to Business Insider.

McDonald’s had previously confirmed that hiring efforts are currently ramping up throughout the country. Owner/operators are also allowed to offer their own incentives at the local level, including hazard pay, referral bonuses or paid time off, a spokesperson for the company said.

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