Big Mac comes up with a super-sized menu for change in seven seconds
C H I C A G O — Mc D o n a l d ’s the dominant player in convehopes to turn around its nience, as convenience was fortunes by saving seven defined in those days,” Steve seconds at a time. Easterbrook, the company’s
The high street giant that chief executive officer, said helped define fast food is last month. making supersized efforts “But convenience continuto reverse its fading popually gets redefined, and we larity and catch up to a haven’t modernized,” he addlandscape that has evolved ed. around it. The push came after
That includes expanding McDonald’s stock hit all-time delivery, digital ordering highs as investors cheer a kiosks in restaurants, and turnaround plan t hat has rolling out an app that saves included cutting costs and precious seconds. expansion overseas.
Much of the work is on disYet the asterisk on the play in an unmarked wareheadlines is the chain’s house near the company’s declining stature in its flagheadquarters in suburban ship US market, where it is Chicago in the United States, fighting intensifying compewhere a blowup of a mobile tition, fickle tastes and a perphone screen shows the app sistent junk food image. launching nationally later In an increasingly crowded this year. field of places to eat, the num
McDonald’s estimates it ber of McDonald’s locations better fit into lifestyles in the would take 10 seconds for a US.intheUSissettoshrinkfor customer to tell an employeeL the third year in a row. ots of once-dominant restheir order number from the At established locations, taurant chains are feeling the app, down from the 17-second the frequency of customer pressure of people having average of ordering at the visits has declined for four more eating options. drive-thru, a difference that straight years even after the Last year, an estimated could help ease pileups. launch of the popular “All613,000 places were selling
Elsewhere at the InnovaDay Breakfast” menu. either food or drink in the US, tion Center, the digital orderThe chain that popularized an increase of up to 17 percent ing kiosk shows how innovations such as drivefrom a decade earlier, accordcustomers can skip lines at thrus in the 1970s acknowling to government figures. the register. edges it has been slow to Supermarkets and conve
“Five, 10 years ago, we were adapt, and is scrambling to nience stores are offering more prepared foods, and meal-kit delivery companies have been expanding.
“Better burger” places like Shake Shack and Habit Burger Grill do not come close to McDonald’s roughly 14,000 US locations, but they are growing.
“They’re still taking customers from the same market pool,” said Nick Karavites, a McDonald’s franchisee with 22 locations in the Chicago area.
Richard Adams, a former McDonald’s franchisee who is now a consultant to those businesses, has questioned whether the chain can return to the height of its popularity in such a fragmented marketplace.
He also noted that many of the new offerings the company is pursuing, such as delivery, are already available at other places. “They’re following the marketplace,” he said.
Still, McDonald’s needs to make changes to keep customer visits from falling further.
One main focus is the drivethru, where McDonald’s gets roughly 70 percent of its business.
Customers who place orders on the app, for instance, could also pull into a designated parking spot where an employee would bring out their order.
That would theoretically ease backups at the drive-thru, which in turn might prevent potential customers from driving past without stopping during peak hours.
Then there’s the partnership with UberEats to offer delivery. So far, McDonald’s says delivery is bringing in new business during slower times at the roughly 3,500 locations where it has rolled out since the start of the year.
Either way, such changes are not likely to transform operations overnight, since most of McDonald’s customers might prefer to order the way they always have.
“That’s like turning a very large ship,” said Karavites. At his remodeled restaurant in Chicago where delivery was recently launched, he said sales are already climbing.
To bring more people in over the short-term, the company is promoting $1 sodas and $2 McCafe drinks. Glass cases displaying baked goods are also popping up in stores.
And at about 700 locations, the company is testing “dessert stations” behind the counter where employees can make sundaes topped with cake or brownie chunks.
Those stations could eventually handle an expanded menu of sweets. And that model could be rolled out across the whole group
“I wouldn’t underestimate the power of scale,” said Sara Senatore, an analyst at Bernstein Research, referring to the number of McDonald’s.
the number of McDonald’s outlets in the US market share of drivethru taken by McDonald’s
Steve Easterbrook, president and chief executive officer of McDonald's Corp.
See more by scanning the code.