The Drive-Thru: Lowe’s worker morale plummets, Target’s back room nightmare continues, and McDonald’s invests millions to speed up the drive-thru

Hello from The Drive-Thru, Business Insider’s weekly newsletter about everything you need to know about shopping, fast food, and more. This is Kate Taylor, senior retail correspondent at BI.Every Friday, I’ll be giving a rundown on what the largest retail companies in the world are up to, and how these decisions impact everyone from Wall…

The Drive-Thru: Lowe’s worker morale plummets, Target’s back room nightmare continues, and McDonald’s invests millions to speed up the drive-thru

Hello from The Drive-Thru, Business Insider’s weekly newsletter about everything you need to know about shopping, fast food, and more. This is Kate Taylor, senior retail correspondent at BI.Every Friday, I’ll be giving a rundown on what the largest retail companies in the world are up to, and how these decisions impact everyone from Wall Street to grocery-store cashiers.You can sign up to become a Drive-Thru subscriber here. Let’s get into what happened this week! Lowe’s restructuring is killing morale. 

Lowe’s Newsroom; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Áine has a deep dive into a restructuring at Lowe’s that is driving away workers. Workers told Áine the company is eliminating roles, replacing full-time positions with part-time jobs, and rolling out a chaotic new scheduling system. According to workers, some of these changes are thinly disguised layoffs. “It’s the way corporate America works and we expect it, but no one likes it when it happens to them,” said a former employee. According to this employee, Lowe’s used to feel like a family; the changes convinced them to quit the company earlier this year after eight years on the job. Lowe’s restructuring is another entry on the endless list of cost-cutting measures that can end up being dangerously short-sighted. Even seemingly minor changes can have a huge impact on morale — or indicate bigger problems. 3G reportedly cutting off workers’ Kraft cheese supply might seem like a minor quibble, but it reveals bigger strategic mistakes around cost cuts throughout the firm’s Kraft-Heinz merger.Morale sounds intangible and touchy-feely, but it can have concrete consequences if stores lose seasoned workers or are unable to fully staff locations. Lowe’s is clearly worried — the CEO sent out an employee engagement survey on Thursday, soon after Áine’s story went up.Read Áine’s full report here, and get in touch at retail@businessinsider.com if you’ve dealt with similar cost cuts on the job. Inside Target’s modernization nightmare. 

A photo of a backroom in a New Hampshire Target last October.
Courtesy of an anonymous former Target employee

Shoshy got her hands on Target’s “Bible” for modernization. It’s a 54-page document that spells out the chain’s new stocking system, providing a window into Target’s more general restructuring.Unfortunately for Ta
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