Yugoslavs Find No Paradise at McDonald’s

Associated Press

The first McDonald’s to open in a communist country has run into an unexpected problem: Trained employees are quitting because they find they have to work like Westerners and get paid like East Europeans.

Since the American fast-food chain opened its outlet in Belgrade in March, 40 employees--about one-third of its workers--have voluntarily left their jobs despite a high unemployment rate in Yugoslavia.

Predrag Dostanic, managing director of the restaurant, blames illusions about the West gleaned from American movies shown on Yugoslav television for the dropout rate.


“That is all a result of a drastically incorrect concept about international businesses, implanted in people’s minds by such American TV series as ‘Dynasty,’ ” Dostanic said.

Expected to Relax on Job

“Those who have left us thought they would earn high wages only by virtue of working for an American enterprise,” said Vesna Milosevic, an official of Genex, the Yugoslav state enterprise that entered into a joint venture agreement with McDonald’s.

“Those young people who quit probably also expected they could do their jobs the Yugoslav way--relax at work but still receive wages,” Dostanic added.

According to a recent domestic survey, average Yugoslavs work efficiently for only half of their eight-hour workday. The rest of the time is spent reading newspapers, conducting private business or having interminable private chats with colleagues over coffee.

The fast-food outlet, located on a downtown square, has drawn huge crowds since it opened March 23 to post a European record for McDonald’s restaurants by selling an average 6,000 meals daily for the first month of operation.