'Burnt out & overworked' | Burger King suffers embarrassing 'bad conditions' QUIT fiasco

Burger King suffers embarrassing 'bad conditions' QUIT fiasco

A franchise of Burger King has suffered an embarrassing en masse quit fiasco – after nine members of staff announced their resginations by writing ‘we all quit’ on a sign outside the restaurant.

It comes after staff claimed the store was understaffed and that they were working in bad-to-unsafe conditions – with one manager claiming she was hospitalised with dehydration as a result of how she was having to work.

She claims the employer did not help with staffing issues and often she would work well over her full-time hours, just to keep things going.

From bad conditions to bad branding

Although this story comes from the US, there are lessons for all HR practitioners – especially as no firm wants to lose so many staff all at once or suffer such a blow to the brand.

With allegations including – before the employees walked out of the job angrily – the fact that staff were being made to work in a kitchen with no air conditioning, alongside accusations that one member of staff who claimed to suffer from dehydration that needed hospital attention, while on shift, it is hardly surprising this sign stunt was pulled.

Yet, over the last five years, according to Robert Half research, employers are increasingly cognisant of the impact that looking after staff wellbeing is likely to have.

Over two thirds of HR managers have increased their company health and wellbeing offerings over the last five years.

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What this shows is that there is a seeming understanding that there are clear links between wellbeing, retention, reduced sickness and reduced costs.

It also shows that there is growing understanding between staff conditions and the employee experience and company branding.

This is borne out in the stats. According to a Speexx post on employee experience, people-centric organisations – those who stray away from allegations of understaffing and unsafe conditions - are likely to boost the employer brand and position themselves as employers of choice.

And are less likely to suffer a big-sign branding catastrophe just as this one franchise of Burger King has.


What is clear from the Burger King story is that staff felt burnt out – citing long hours, bad conditions and chronic understaffing - something that many employers have witnessed in their workforce over the last year.

What should worry employers is how this hits their retention plans.

Several studies over the last year have tracked rising staff burnout levels and that has an impact on attrition and retention.

Indeed, a study in the Employee Engagement Series conducted by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace, found that 95% of human resources leaders admit employee burnout hits their retention.

In fact, almost half of HR leaders believe burnout is responsible for over half of their annual workforce turnover.

So, how can this be changed? Well, according to Rachel Montañez, a career coach who writes for Forbes, a lot of burnout is attributed to poor management and bad workplace cultures, so that’s one place to start.

Montañez continues that if HR wants to change, that they should think about the support in place for management sand staff – understanding that many might not be upfront about conditions, especially if they consider culture and conditions to be bad.

She said: “You and I both know that success on a job, as in most things in life, is attributed to support and one's mindset and not just capabilities.

“Without support, the burnout cycle will continue to escalate.”

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