McDonald's restaurants were filled with eager job prospects Tuesday, lending proof to the notion that McJobs look more appealing in tough times.
Promising same-day on-site interviews to fill 50,000 jobs nationally, the fast food giant was besieged with job seekers despite each store only hiring a few people.
"I haven't had a job since last August," said Tyra Hosein, a 35-year-old Tampa woman who moved in with friends. "I've never been out of work this long,"
While it's possible a few could land a six-figure store manager slot, most positions offered under the golden arches were entry level and pay a bit more than the $7.25 an hour minimum wage. Job seekers included many high school students looking for their first job.
"We have had thousands of applicants interviewed today in Tampa Bay McDonald's," said Jennifer Mikosky, spokeswoman for the chain's Tampa Bay marketing co-operative whose stores expected to fill about 275 jobs.
McDonald's, which employs almost 1 million people, was tight lipped about the total turnout. But by mid afternoon, one store manager in Ruskin had hired five people from a field of 80. In east Tampa, another store manager hired five from a candidate pool of 170, while a store in Seffner that appeared on several local live TV news feeds drew 280 job seekers.
"Our lobby was so packed with applicants this morning we didn't have seats left for the customers," said Ami Patel, a Tampa store manager. "So we assigned the applicants times to come back later in the day."
"It has been a steady stream all day," said Scott Brown, who owns three franchised McDonald's in East Lake and Largo.
McDonald's stepped up hiring because business has been improving. It also wants to beef up staffing for more 24-hour stores and to reload its applicant pool for future hiring, since turnover is high.
A few more jobs will be filled in the next few days because background checks are pending or applicants were interviewed before filling out all the paperwork.
Mark Albright can be reached at email@example.com or (727)893-8252.