Monday, March 30, 2015

McDonald’s Seeks Its Fast-Food Soul

Who would ever believe that an iconic brand/company would run into trouble? Their story could be yours or already i.

McDonald’s is having an identity crisis.... 
…. Same-store sales have fallen over the last five years, and last year the company turned in a miserable performance…. 
…. McDonald’s rivals are winning on taste and image. To catch them, the company might have to sacrifice on speed, which has been its main advantage. And even on that score, it’s not doing so well…. 
...For years, McDonald's has lurched from showcasing new items — salads! Egg White Delight McMuffins! sliced apples! — to mining nostalgia for its basic Big Macs and fries. Its core customers still line up at the drive-through window for cheap, quick cups of coffee and hash browns. But the company is also trying to appeal to more finicky eaters who have moved onto upstart competitors like Smashburger and Chipotle, which market their quality ingredients and food customization.
Can McDonald’s be both fast and bespoke? Cheap and high-quality? (THE KEY QUESTION THAT GOES TO THE HEART OF WHO THEY ARE)..
… Once, McDonald’s was a place where every American ate now and then. But the fast-food market has splintered, like many other parts of the economy, into the haves and the have-nots. Upscale fast-casual restaurants likeSmashburger and Chipotle attract customers who will pay $5.99 for the Classic Smash burger (“handcrafted” and “seared and seasoned to order”) or $6.65 for a steak burrito (“organic and local produce where practical”). The menu might be full of calories, but it comes with a halo of quality. The McDonald’s core customer, on the other hand, is still looking for a break: A $3.99 Big Mac, served fast. In fact, roughly two-thirds of its customers order at a drive-through counter....

… While some analysts have urged the company to stop trying new things and focus on its core burger business, Mr. Easterbrook (NEW CEO) pushed back on that notion at a meeting with investors this year. “To me, he seemed clearly wedded to the notion that they need to try new things to restore growth,” said one analyst who attended the meeting….
…… If Mr. Easterbrook is trying to attract a more affluent, food-conscious customer, he is surely aware of all the ways McDonald’s has already stumbled on that path.

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