Community Connection

Maccas rolls out wellbeing app Sonder to 115,000 employees and their families.

28 August 2023

August 2023: McDonald’s, together with its franchisees, has become the first Quick Service Restaurant company in Australia to provide the digital health, safety, and wellbeing platform Sonder to every one of their 115,000 employees and employees’ families.

Emma Napoli-Hala, McDonald’s Australia’s Chief People Officer, said: “We are one of the largest employers of young people in Australia, which means we have a big responsibility to ensure our crew are supported whenever, wherever, and however they need.

“With Sonder, we saw an opportunity to provide that support around the clock, and in a format that’s familiar to our young, digital-savvy workforce.”

Sonder provides a wide range of health, safety, and wellbeing needs including digital 24/7 live chat with registered professionals such as nurses, psychologists, and emergency responders, and provides employees with a much broader experience than a traditional employee assistance program (EAP) can offer.

Since launching in April, thousands of McDonald’s employees have registered for the app, and the number continues to grow every week.

“We’re proud to be the first Quick Service Restaurant in Australia to extend our wellbeing support with this 24/7 digital platform,” said Napoli-Hala. “Most chats are taking place between 10:00pm and 1:00am, which has been a big learning for us. I think it shows that businesses have an opportunity to rethink the way they’re supporting the mental health and wellbeing of younger employees.”

Stephen Shillington is a McDonald’s franchisee in Melbourne, and one of the first to trial the platform with his local workforce. “I employ more than 500 people, and their wellbeing has always been my priority,” he said. “My own kids are Macca’s crew members, and so as an employer and a parent, it’s important to me to ensure they have access to as much support as we can provide.”

Craig Cowdrey, Sonder co-founder and CEO, said: “We’re excited to partner with McDonald’s to set the standard for what a great employee experience looks like, by supporting crew members and their families with a wide range of health, safety, and wellbeing needs”.

“Through our initial launch program with McDonald’s, 100% of crew members who reached out for help told us they felt more supported by having Sonder. By helping these employees live well and perform their best, we can ensure McDonald’s continues to be an employer of choice for generations to come,” Cowdrey added.

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About McDonald’s in Australia:
  • Together with its franchisees, McDonald’s proudly employs more than 115,000 people across its restaurants, making McDonald’s one of the largest employers in the country.

  • McDonald’s is one of Australia’s largest employers of young people. With approximately 70% of restaurant crew in secondary school, TAFE, or university, we play an important role in youth development, training, and education.

  • Each year, McDonald’s Australia invests more than $60 million into training and development initiatives. We have been a Registered Training Organisation (RTO Code 90820) since 1997 and have issued more than 50,000 qualifications or skill sets during this time. Employees can undertake a SIR20216 Certificate II in Retail Services, SIR30216 Certificate III in Retail along with the SITSS00069 Food Safety Supervision Skill Set, while getting paid and continuing to learn on the job.

  • Since 1971, McDonald’s Australia and its Franchisees have employed more than one million people.

  • Australia’s first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Yagoona, Sydney, in 1971. Today there are over 1,025 McDonald’s restaurants across Australia, nearly 85 percent of which are franchised and run by local businessmen and women.