McDonald’s branch hiring kids as it claims it is critically short-staffed

A McDonald's restaurant in the United States has launched a recruitment drive aimed at kids amid unprecedented staff shortages.

The branch in Medford, Oregon, has erected a huge banner stating "Now Hiring 14 & 15-Year-Olds", which has attracted 25 applicants in two weeks.

In a previous attempt to drive recruitment, the franchise raised the minimum wage to $15 (£10.83) an hour.

Although laws vary in different states, the Department of Labour has set the minimum age for working at 14 for non-agricultural roles.

In the US, anyone younger than 20 can be paid as little as $4.25 (£3.07) an hour for up to 90 days of training.

Heather Coleman, who runs the McDonald's restaurant, described the child workers as a "blessing in disguise".

Her family have operated McDonald's franchises for 40 years, and she told Business Insider: "There are always staffing issues, but this is unheard of.

"They [young people] have the drive and work ethic. They get the technology. They catch on really quickly."

Coleman's restaurant isn't the only fast food joint that has turned to children in a time of need. Layne's Chicken Fingers in Texas are promoting teens into management roles where they earn more than $50,000 (£36k) a year.

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CEO Garret Reed told the Wall Street Journal: "We're so thin at leadership that we can't stretch anymore to open more locations. I've got a good crop of 16 and 17-year-olds, but I need another year or two to get them seasoned to run stores."

A Burger King in Ohio also erected a sign earlier this year, albeit less grand than Coleman's at McDonald's. It read: "Hey Parents! Do you have a 14 or 15-year-old? Do they need a job? We will hire them!"

Some think the move is wise, especially at the moment.

Mark Kalinowski, founder of Kalinowski Equity who advise on restaurant-stock investments, told Business Insider: "Over time we'll get back to normal.

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"It's really tough times for staffing, why wouldn't you try to figure out how to hire people?"

Others on Reddit aren't so sure, with one user commenting: "I drive past this sign most days during work. Makes me sick every time."

Another added: "I worked in management at McDonald's for 25 plus years. 14-year-olds are a nightmare. They simply are not mature enough for the position. "

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