Fast food chain McDonald’s has unveiled new uniforms for its US staff which have leveraged some piercing criticism online.
McDonald’s is enduring an extended period of change as it looks to solidify its relevance in its lead markets, underlining this is a sweeping change to the uniforms of its US staff, with them now adopting a sleek charcoal aesthetic that has drawn unflattering dystopian and sci-fi comparisons.
A total of 850,000 staff members across 14,000 restaurants will adopt the garb designed by Waraire Boswell and Bindu Rivas. Once they are fully distributed, an estimated 25m customers per day will enter stores and see the attire.
Jez Langhorn, McDonald’s senior director of HR, said: “Our new collections focus on comfort, fit, functionality and contemporary professionalism, delivering a uniform that crew and managers will feel comfortable to work in and proud to wear.
“Beyond that, it’s another step in the company’s continuous effort to raise the bar by investing in people and improving the restaurant experience with a focus on hospitality.”
The company provided a rundown of how its uniform has evolved, notably shifting from white to the darkest of grey in a few decades.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) April 20, 2017
Some commenters were apparently intimidated by the new look, taking to Twitter to air their grievances.
mcdonalds uniforms will soon require a certain haircut as well. pic.twitter.com/lVkQOSi6W6
— Parmeson and Pinot (@ParmesonP) April 23, 2017
The new McDonalds uniforms look like they should be worn while beating up teenagers in a dystopian young adult novel. pic.twitter.com/ZauwsOtvRt
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) April 22, 2017
— RadioCat (@MrRadioCat) April 21, 2017
Time for another game of... "Am I a McDonald's Employee or an Imperial Officer Working on the Death Star?" pic.twitter.com/pXxX73FCvA
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 21, 2017
New McDonald's uniforms have a really chic labour camp vibe pic.twitter.com/1p0jjbyRPp
— Aamer Rahman (@aamer_rahman) April 22, 2017
New McDonald's uniforms look familiar... pic.twitter.com/YLgBtPmvWl
— Matthew D. Dempster (@dempstermd) April 22, 2017
The new McDonald's uniforms look like all-grey versions of the Westworld technician uniforms. pic.twitter.com/TZWGi5qeTg
— neontaster (@neontaster) April 22, 2017
— Brandon Butler (@Bbutler1985) April 22, 2017
Now that I've been exposed to the idea of McDonald's-as-future-horror I'm seeing things I can't un-see pic.twitter.com/iJ4MzwrQhq
— Avi Selk (@aviselk) April 22, 2017
As it looks to adapt to a digital world (even accepting Snapchat selfies instead of CVs in some outlets), furthermore, it last week rolled out unbranded ads last week to direct viewers to ‘that place where the Coke tastes so good,’ an interesting search experiment that ultimately guided inquisitive viewers towards unpaid search results listing McDonald’s as the answer.
However, it has also been a rough week for the brand. The president of ad agency MullenLowe, Geoff Cottrill, called out the brand’s current use of creative, asking it to contribute to culture, rather than take from it, around accusations it lifted street artists work.
It would not be the first creative to accuse the company of plagiarism with surreal YouTube creator Cyriak Harris echoing these complaints in 2016.