B.C. McDonald's employee told not to use bilingual greeting

Cars line up in a drive through lane at a McDonalds fast food restaurant in Toronto, May 1, 2014. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

An employee working the drive-thru of a Victoria McDonald’s was told by his manager to stop greeting customers in English and French after customers complained.

Archer Kuklev, who works at a McDonald’s location in the neighbourhood of Hillside, decided to change up his script at the drive-thru just before the summer. He began greeting customers with “Hello, bonjour, welcome to McDonald’s.”

In an interview with CHEK News, Kuklev says the customers seemed to like the greeting, but eventually he received his first complaint.

“This is B.C., if you want to have business here you have to speak English,” Kuklev says the customer told him. The customer then reported Kuklev to his manager.

Kuklev says he did it to be inclusive, knowing what it’s like to be language minority. He moved to Canada from Russia as a child.

The managers at the McDonald’s location received a few more complaints about Kuklev’s bilingual greeting, and asked him to stop using French.

McDonald’s Canada has come under fire in the past for how it has handled sensitivities around language in various parts of the country. In 2017, Quebec parents were upset that McDonald’s Canada only made allergy warnings in store available in French in the province. Patrons told CTV that while they understand language is a hotly-contested issue in the province, safety concerns should trump cultural preservation.

McDonald’s Canada has been contacted for comment, but had not yet replied at the time of publishing.