Young Saudis to get 1000 fast food jobs

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Men and women wait in separate lines to order at McDonald’s in Riyadh’s Faisaliah mall. Photo – Arlene Getz/Reuters

A Saudi catering company has announced it will hire 1000 young people to work at McDonald’s restaurants in the central, eastern and northern regions of the Kingdom.

Prince Mishal bin Khaled Al-Saud, president of the Riyadh International Catering Company (RICC), also owns McDonald’s restaurants in the country. He insisted that the American fast food chain is 100% locally owned and operated.

“McDonald’s Saudi chapter prides itself on being a local member of the community and has been committed to being a responsible corporate citizen since the first restaurant opened in the country,” Prince Mishal said.

McDonald’s is a household name for many Saudis with 120 restaurants spread across the Kingdom’s towns and cities. The first outlet was opened in Riyadh in December 1993.

The American fast food chain has come under intense criticism for serving meals that are linked with obesity among children and young people. The announcement comes in the backdrop of a recent report that four of the six GCC states feature among the world’s top 10 obese nations.

Shrugging off the concerns, the Saudi prince said McDonald’s supported various humanitarian causes through different charity initiatives in Saudi Arabia including the Insan Charity Association, which helps and rehabilitates orphan children in the Kingdom.

McDonald’s is also involved in various sports events that promote an active lifestyle such as the Kids Marathon, Rally Hail Sponsorship, Olympic Day Run and many more, he added.

“We are committed to investing in local employment and investing in the local workforce. We are a leader in local employment and proud to have over 1,000 Saudis on our payroll representing 30% of our total workforce of 3,500 people,” the Saudi businessman said in an interview with Arab News.

Referring to a recent controversy in which a video posted online showed how lettuce is handled at a McDonald’s restaurant, he insisted that all outlets operate according to the highest food safety standards and regulations, meeting both local and international laws and regulations.

Prince Mishal said McDonald’s in Saudi Arabia has been long involved in local charities, events and youth sports events that inspire our citizens. “Our social responsibility agenda continually embraces different charity projects with organizations such as Insan, SANAD, and the Disabled Children’s Association,” he said in the interview.

king abdullah fries
A screen grab of a video posted online in which Saudi King Abdullah is having french fries from a McDonald’s outlet. Photo – ArabianGazette.com

The Saudi royal said that McDonald’s is a part of the Kingdom’s social fabric with officials, celebrities, families, and teens having an emotional connection to the brand. He also mentioned an online video where the Saudi King Abdullah inaugurated the Al-Faisaliah Mall and had a McDonald’s meal along with many of the country’s leaders and officials.

“We were honored and proud to serve the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques along with many of the country’s leaders and officials who all enjoyed our delicious McDonald’s fries,” Prince Mishal bin Khaled Al-Saud said.

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