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McDonald’s Urges Franchises To Remain Open On Christmas Day

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(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) — McDonald’s is urging its franchises to stay open for business on Christmas Day following a 2.5 percent sales increase that many analysts attribute to their stores having been open on Thanksgiving Day last month.

Advertising Age reports that an internal memo from McDonald’s USA Chief Operating Officer Jim Johannesen asks the franchises to stay open during Christmas to boost sales. The fast-food giant’s urges come after large November profits with 6,000 more franchises remaining open on Thanksgiving Day than in 2011.

“Starting with Thanksgiving, ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays,” reads the Nov. 8 memo from Johannesen, according to Ad Age. “Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day. Last year, [company-operated] restaurants that opened on Christmas averaged $5,500 in sales.”

McDonald’s employees will not receive overtime pay for working on the federal holiday, spokeswoman Heather Oldani told Ad Age.

“When our company-owned restaurants are open on the holidays, the staff voluntarily sign up to work. There is no regular overtime pay,” said Oldani.

Many of these employees make state minimum wage across the country. According to the Charlotte Observer, fast-food restaurants have added positions more than twice as fast as the U.S. average during the economic recovery that began in June 2009. The jobs created by companies including Burger King Worldwide Inc. and Yum Brands Inc., which owns the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC brands, and “are among the lowest-paid in the United States.”

If the same amount of franchisees stay open on Christmas as they did on Thanksgiving, the sales boost would be nearly $72 million for its fourth quarter, Ad Age calculated. And if all 14,000 stores stay open on Christmas the chain could rack up a total of $84 million more in profit.

“Our November results were driven, in part, by our Thanksgiving Day performance,” COO Johannesen wrote in the Dec. 12 memo. “Thanks to proper planning and your great execution, we capitalized on the opportunity to be open while our customers were on the road — and those customers rewarded us.”

Spokeswoman Heather Oldani told Ad Age that the company does not comment on leaked documents or information, but added, “However, our restaurants will be open to serve our customers when and how they need over the holidays.”

In addition to increasing store openings on Christmas Day, the company plans to boost fourth-quarter sales by moving its popular, limited-time McRib sandwich to December.

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