McDonald's in Illinois Entices With iPhone Instead of Livable Wage

Although restaurants and bars are opening back up as Coronavirus concerns lessen, many fast food chains are experiencing an unexpected barrier- a lack of applicants. Demand for fast food and eating out is rising as more and more people get vaccinated and feel safe to go out, but there aren't enough people to serve the food. One McDonald's in Illinois is trying to combat this shortage with an unusual hiring bonus, a free iPhone.

Now Hiring, Free iPhone

The McDonalds in Altamont, Illinois, near Effingham and Chicago, is desperate to find staff, and they'll go to any length to find them. A photo of the advertisement went viral on Twitter, posted by user @brogawd_ with the comment "LMFAO G MCDONALDS IS STARVING."

The picture shows a sign in the window of the McDonalds that says "Now hiring. Free iPhone" with a picture of a hand holding an iPhone. At the bottom, it adds "after 6 months employment & meet employment criteria."

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As great as a new iPhone sounds, the sign does raise some questions. What is the "employment criteria," and is McDonald's planning on using that ambiguity to make the criteria difficult or impossible to meet? As for the phone, what model iPhone will it be, and in what condition?

Employment Criteria?

A McDonald's employee at the hiring restaurant confirmed that the sign belonged to the store, but the manager was unable to give details on the "employment criteria" mentioned.

A McDonald's spokesperson told Insider on Tuesday that the restaurant is attempting to increase recruitment, adding that the McDonald's corporation allows individual McDonald's restaurants to offer a variety of incentives, from sign-on and referral bonuses to PTO.

Employment Shortage

The issue isn't only with McDonald's; the fast food industry overall is experiencing an extreme labor shortage, causing chains to cut hours and reduce dining areas. Many guess that the shortage is due to COVID-19 concerns, child care responsibilities, unemployment benefits and the low wages offered by many fast food chains.

While Taco Bell, Chipotle and other fast food restaurants are enticing applicants with raises, education benefits and cash bonuses, the McDonald's in Illinois is taking another route with an ambiguous "new iPhone" sign for those who can meet the mystery requirements.

Although the Altamont McDonald's doesn't list the starting pay on its website, Indeed reports that average salary for a McDonald's crew member in Illinois is $10.06/hour. I don't know about you, but I'd need more than a free iPhone to serve burgers for that wage.

A McDonald's restaurant in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, is offering a $15 wage to attract new workers, in yet another, more feasible, approach at combatting the labor shortage. Another McDonald's in Tampa, Florida gave applicants $50 for even coming in for an interview. That location's owner said that hiring was harder than it had been in decades.

The Origin of McDonald's

Incidentally, the Illinois McDonald's in question is four hours south of the McDonald's said by some to be the first McDonald's restaurant, in Des Plaines, Illinois. However, other reports say that the original McDonald's restaurant was opened in 1940 in Downey, California, while others still say that it was in San Bernardino.

This story says that Richard James and Maurice McDonald opened the McDonald's in San Bernardino, creating the Speedee Service System with which they pioneered the concept of fast food. After partnering with Ray Kroc in 1954, they continued to run the company for another seven years. After functioning as a McDonald's restaurant for years, the original restaurant in San Bernardino was converted into a McDonald's museum!

Regardless of where it was founded, the Golden Arches have long been the place to go for a fast drive-thru meal and a delicious milkshake. However, it seems that the restaurant needs more than just a vague offer of a free iPhone to persuade workers to ignore the abominably low wage that the position would pay. As much as a Big Mac can hit the spot, you won't catch me applying for a McDonald's position anytime soon, no matter how many iPhones are offered.

Watch: This Is Why Coca-Cola Tastes Better at McDonald's