5 Lessons I Learned From a McDonald’s Employee

attitude engagement listening Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

I rarely frequent fast food restaurants, but on one particular Saturday morning, I took my kids for breakfast at a local McDonalds. Besides their awesome and underrated coffee, I found something even better.

There was an employee I noticed who was in charge of sweeping the floor, cleaning up trays, and other typical unappreciated jobs. I would assume he makes minimum wage and gets little to no benefits. However, you would never know that by watching him.

In twenty minutes, he struck up countless conversations, engaged the customers, and put smiles on their faces. It was awesome. As I sat there listening to him talk to other customers, I couldn’t help but think; How come most salespeople don’t do this?

No, he wasn’t selling anything. He wasn’t making a commission. He just genuinely cared about the people in the restaurant. It wasn’t fake, rehearsed, or manipulative. It was simply from the heart.

I learned more in 20 minutes watching this rockstar McDonalds employee then I have learned in day-long sales seminars.

Here are five lessons I learned.

1) Attitude is everything no matter what you do.
We all have a choice when we wake up every single day. We can’t control all circumstances, but we can control our response.

I don’t know if this guy truly loved his job or if it was just his birthday. What’s more important, is that every one of the customers, including me, didn’t know and didn’t care. We just admired his positive attitude.

How do people view your attitude? Do you attract or repel?

2) Listening is an art.
This McDonald’s employee didn’t just smile, make small talk, and then walk away. He listened to the customer’s responses in full and responded accordingly.

There is a difference between listening out of courtesy and listening because you care. This guy cared………..And it showed. Don’t listen just to be polite. Listen because what the other person is saying is important.

3) A genuine smile lights up any room
Seriously, this guy’s smile was off the charts. You couldn’t help but smile back.  A great smile truly lights up any room. It creates an instant positive vibe.

How is your smile? See how many people you can make smile this week.

4) Engagement is not about you.
It’s about the person whom with you are speaking. This employee was very direct with the customers, but he didn’t tell them about his issues. He focused squarely on the customers. He asked questions, gave compliments, and made every conversation about them.

Most salespeople ask questions to get answers for their own benefit. Great salespeople ask questions to inspire, build rapport, and enhance relationships.

5) You can have fun doing anything
Let’s be real. If most of us were sweeping the floor at McDonalds we would be looking down, stone faced, just trying to get through the day. Not this guy. You would have thought he was sweeping the floor for the President of the United States.

You have a choice every day, every task, every moment. A choice to go through the motions or make each second count.

As Rabbi Daniel Lapin says in his book, “Thou Shall Prosper,” successful people treat work as worship. They work for something bigger than themselves.

How do you embrace tasks you don’t enjoy? It’s amazing the lessons we can learn from just paying attention to the world around us. Find superior qualities you see in other and learn from them. I sure did that day.

Question: Where have you encountered exceptional employees in obscure places? 

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