GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Fast food workers are upping their game in trying to get your burgers and fries ready quickly without sacrificing quality. McDonald's employees went head to head today in a skills competition called the Big Mac Games. Crew members said the real winners are the customers.
McDonald's employees were in the kitchen and feeling the heat."Just performing with people watching me. It really put the pressure on me," said employee Kaitlyn Wolverton.
The Big Mac Games scored workers on how good a job they do at making sure hungry customers leave happy.
"We had five different categories. We took orders. We made McCafe drinks," said employee Matthew Holliman. "We assembled sandwiches. We were doing hash browns, and we were running the grill."
Employee Maddison Linder said, "I don't think I did that well on grill just because I don't really work it that much. I did pretty well on everything else I think."
The Big Mac Games aims to motivate crew members to become more versatile in their training.
Heidi Jenkins oversees training for the McDonald's- Descher Organization which includes about 20 restaurants in Mississippi and Alabama. Jenkins said the company noticed how staff members may become "comfortable in one position and didn't really want to learn anything else. They have a reason now why they want to be learning more about the grill or more about the counter or the drive-thru. It will help the store because you have someone who is cross trained and help them because they could possibly be a winner at the Big Mac Games."
Crew members said the better training equals better the service for McDonalds customers.
Wolverton said, "Otherwise you just have people running around. They really don't know what to do. Customers are upset. Things just don't go as smoothly as they could be. You've got to work smart."
"I hope it transfers into great customer service," said Owner Pat Descher. "Because that's the one thing we really put in the training emphasis on. Greeting the customer, smiling, asking what they want, helping them. I think that absolutely translates into training."
This is the sixth year that the Descher Organization has put on the Big Mac Games. The top finishers took home medals and gift cards. Some crew members said they hoped scoring high in the Big Mac Games might make them more likely for promotions into management.