McD'S invites politicians to flip burgers

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STOCKHOLM -- McDonald's has invited Swedish prime minister Goran Persson, MPs and local authority officials to work behind the counters of the company's 100 outlets in Sweden for one day. The initiative was taken to counter the perception that the service industry does not provide "real jobs."

The invitation, penned by McDonald's Sweden President Mats Lederhausen, was communicated in a personalized letter that was hand delivered to the prime minister, MPs and councilors.

"We want the political segment of Swedish life to see what McDonald's is really doing, what kind of a service we provide, and how we treat customers," says Lederhausen. "It would be educational for politicians to get out of their suits for one day, don our uniforms and serve Big Macs, milk shakes and fries.''

According to Lederhausen, the exercise is designed to make the "political class" more aware of the culture which drives McDonald's. "We create 1,000 jobs a year in Sweden. However, politicians have this strange relationship with the service industry and see us as not providing real employment. This is unfortunate for everyone in the service sector and an obstacle to the development of the industry," says Lederhausen.

By putting the premier and legislators behind the counter, the fast food company hopes to gain an understanding from power brokers of the problems service companies face. The response to the mass-invitation, says Lederhausen, has been "positive".

"Of the 500 letters sent out, we have received positive replies from around 100, but not so far from prime minister Goran Persson. We hope to receive his letter of acceptance in coming days," he says.

As an added inducement, Lederhausen adds that the politicians "Would of course be paid at the standard rate."

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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