In a world where more than 20 billion identical mass-produced hamburgers have been sold, an average of $10 worth each year for each American, what is the greatest need?
So McDonald's, which made such a success of the hamburger hunger, is now packaging individuality. When the vice president in charge of personnel, James Kuhn, came up with the idea last summer, he said that McDonalds president Edward H. Schmidt immediately replied, "Oh, man, that's right on the money."
Individuality will not, however, be available to the public over the counter. It is just for the benefit of McDonald's 65,000 employees.
"When I got out of school, I won't say I was an anarchist, but I saw all those fact cats with their country club memberships, and I used to view big business as evil," said Kuhn, who is 42. "I was going to be a teacher or a social worker, but I couldn't make enough money at it, so I went into personnel.
"Now I find that most people like to see executives driving big cars - the company buys me a Lincoln. But they want a chance at it themselves. They want to be able to grow and to utilize their individual abilities.
"Big business has a social responsibility to allow its people to be people. Big business is necessary, but so is humanity."
Plans for developing individually in McDonald's employees include.
A McDonald's Olympics to be held next fall in Oak Brook III., where staff members will compete in a National Racquet Ball Championship and a Two Mile Run Championship.
A Hobby and Special Interest Directory, indexing hobbies to provide conversation material to "a lot of compulsive workers who don't talk about anything else but their work."
Eight -week Bonus Vacations every 10 years, so you "get a chance to realize you have a family."
An Attitude Survey of spouses and older children of employees to find out "how they view the company and what we can do to make family life better."
Performance Review, "a basis for a career-planning system, which recognizes that everybody gets a job and then thinks they are suppposed to want to be president, but some people just want to grow in their present jobs."
Continuing All-American Competitions for employees in such fields as "French fries," "buns" and "turning meat."
The second annual Store Day on April 15, during which staff people do hamburger duty in McDonald's out-lets to remember the company's roots.
A question-and-answer session at Oak Brook, at which "a mail clerk can ask the president whatever he wants."
However, participation in Individuality is not required at McDonald's "Nobody has to get it," said Kuhn. "We just want to help them make the best out of their lives."