McDonald's is dealing with a divide that is widening between its management and its restaurant owners as a result of abrupt policy changes to its franchising scheme.
A vote of no confidence in the company's CEO Chris Kempczinski and its president of the United States, Joe Erlinger, is supported by up to 87 percent of McDonald's operators who are represented by the National Owners Association.
Nearly 700 of the chain's 13,000 franchisees participated in the survey, which was conducted a few weeks after Kempczinski also received a vote of no confidence from The National Black McDonald's Operators Association.
These outcomes reveal a tense climate among the chain's ranks as a result of recent adjustments made to the company's restaurant operator screening process.
Erlinger proposed new, less benevolent guidelines for extending 20-year franchise contracts in a memo that was distributed in June.
Whereby even the most seasoned franchisees would now undergo tougher scrutiny and their spouses and kids would not receive preferential treatment over nascent franchisee candidates.
Nearly all respondents to the survey disagree with these decisions' unilateral nature, and a sizable majority think the firm does not have the owner's best interests at heart.
Erlinger earlier stated that the "move is in keeping with the notion that getting a new franchise term is earned, not granted," while the company declined to comment.
The corporation declared a goal to improve minority participation in its staff and promote operator diversity last year. It has contended that in order to accomplish these ends, the ownership rules must be changed.
These modifications appear to be hastening the mass exodus of McDonald's franchise owners. 400 owners, or 13% of the total franchisee-owned outlets for the company, left the system last year, a record.
The Florida-based Caspers Company, one of its largest operators, announced this week that it was leaving the industry after 64 years.