By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
CANFIELD -- Rachel McCammon can take a carryout lunch order, serve it up and take the cash in record time. And she'll do it with a smile.
A senior at Western Reserve High School, McCammon takes her after-school job at McDonald's seriously, and her enthusiasm is starting to pay off.
She'll compete in Indianapolis Saturday against other McDonald's Restaurant employees from all over the north-central United States for the chance to represent the chain at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
McCammon, 18, has learned the duties for every work station at the Canfield McDonald's since she started working there three years ago. Drive-through cashier is her specialty, though, and that's the position she'll compete in at the All-American Crew Competition this weekend.
The Canfield store has only one drive-through window -- some restaurants have two -- but that's worked to McCammon's advantage, she said, because she's learned to work more quickly than many of her competitors.
Record time: In competition her average speed at the drive-through window is 15 seconds per customer.
But speed is only one factor used to judge competitors in the chain's nationwide crew member contest.
McDonald's requires contestants to follow its five-step hand washing procedures and payment receipt procedures meticulously, and uniforms must meet exact specifications.
"No white socks. They always get me for that," McCammon said, grinning.
Above all, McDonald's expects All-American contestants to have a friendly, enthusiastic personality.
"You've got to be bubbly, or you can't win, and Rachel's got that. You've got to love her," said Traci Leschinsky, a store supervisor for H.L.W. Fast Track Inc. The company owns the Canfield store and 21 others, most in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys.
Yummy: McCammon said she's always enjoyed McDonald's food -- the quarter-pounder hamburger is her favorite -- and she was just 15 when she got her first job at the fast-food eatery.
"All my friends were baby-sitting, but my Dad told me I should get a real job," she said. "It helps pay for the car and the car insurance."
She works full time during the summer and drops to part time during the school year to accommodate her schedule as a student and member of her high school volleyball team.
Friends sometimes tease about her enthusiasm for the job and the corporate competitions, but said she doesn't mind. The cash awards and other prizes, including a full set of luggage she won in the regional competition, make it well worth her time.
She's so impressed with McDonald's, in fact, that she's considering entering its management training program after graduation. "But I'm also thinking of being a veterinarian tech or a nail tech," she said with a casual shrug.
The McDonald's Corporation invites all its restaurants to compete in its model crew contests, Leschinsky said, but the competition is optional and generally just a few employees at each restaurant get involved.
To reach the finals McCammon had to first compete in a local contest with co-workers at the Canfield store, followed by district and divisional events. Employees from Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Grand Rapids, Mich., and many other smaller communities in between will compete at the next level.
Members of the 18-person winning team selected Saturday will win a four-day, three-night trip for two to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and a trip to the 2002 Olympics.