What’s It Like to Run a McDonald’s During a Pandemic? The Orders Get Larger.

State Rep. Janelle Bynum owns four restaurants in the Portland metro area.

Fast Food

Sector spending increase: 3.6%

State Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) and her husband, Mark, own four McDonald's restaurants in the Portland metro area, including one on Southeast 82nd Avenue and another in Oregon City. "I say JP Morgan Chase has four, because we have loans," says Bynum. Drive-thru restaurant visits increased by 26% over three months this spring as COVID-19 cratered the rest of the industry. Bynum misses the older patrons who would arrive at her McDonald's for a breakfast club, and she worries for her employees. But business has increased.

"We have seen an uptick in business. I think part of it is the longer we go along in this, the more tired people get. The fatigue is starting to set in. You can feel the fatigue, people just wanting to get out and get some fresh air.

"We have a philosophy: more of a community-minded approach. So we left our lobbies open. A lot of people did not. I think that was for liability reasons, and that was kind of a gamble, so to speak.

"We had mobile ordering before. Once you come onto the property, you can [order]. It's geo-fenced, as like a fancy term or whatever, but we've seen an uptick in mobile ordering.

"[With] Uber Eats, people have been ordering very large orders. My baby son, he's 10. He's been ordering a lot—not from our store because the closest [McDonald's] to us is not ours—but he's managed to order $20 worth of [food], while I was working. I just wasn't paying attention. And I went back and looked at the bill, and there's like an $8 tip. So there were probably a lot of 10-year-olds ordering stuff, too."

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