McDonald’s USA has shut down its “McResource” website, which was an online tool intended for the quick-service chain’s employees to find personal-finance advice and resources.

In a statement, McDonald’s said it had worked with outside consultants to develop the McResource program, but that “a combination of factors has led us to re-evaluate, and we’ve directed the vendor to take down the website.”

“Between links to irrelevant or outdated information, along with outside groups taking elements out of context, this created unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary,” McDonald’s said. “None of this helps our McDonald’s team members. We’ll continue to provide service to our folks through an internal telephone help line, which is how the majority of employees access the McResource services.”

The employees-only website had been the source of controversy for months, first capturing the attention of advocacy group Low Pay Is Not OK, which vaulted the site’s sample budget for a McDonald’s employee — which included the assumption that the staff member likely would work a second job — into the public debate. Visa and Wealth Watchers International developed the sample budget for McDonald’s employee website.

Since then, media outlets like Gawker seized upon other controversial pieces of content on the McResource site publicized by Low Pay Is Not OK and other advocacy groups, such as the suggestion to sell gifts received for the holidays to make some extra cash. Earlier this month, the site included advice sourced from etiquette consultant Emily Post on how to tip service providers commonly associated with wealthy Americans, such as housekeepers, pool cleaners, massage therapists and personal trainers.

This week, the McResource website published “Fast Food Tips,” an outsourced piece of content advising employees to avoid eating foods high in fat, typically served at quick-service restaurants.

CNBC reported McDonald’s statement in response, issued Dec. 23: “Portions of this website continue to be taken entirely out of context. This website provides useful information from respected third parties about many topics, among them health and wellness. It also includes information from experts about healthy eating and making balanced choices. McDonald’s agrees with this advice.”

As groups advocating for a higher minimum wage have intensified their demonstrations over the past six months, McDonald’s and other major quick-service chains have been criticized loudly for the prevalence of minimum-wage jobs in foodservice and other service industries. Groups rallied outside the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company’s headquarters during its annual shareholder meeting in May.

McDonald’s operates or franchises nearly 35,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, including more than 14,000 locations in the United States.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN