McDonald’s is entering a new era.
The brand’s new CEO Steve Easterbrook just took over, replacing Don Thompson.
McDonald’s has been losing its core customers, who are increasingly turning to fast-casual options like Chipotle Mexican Grill and Five Guys Burgers & Fries.
Unlike his predecessor, Easterbrook is known for his quick decision-making, Darren Tristano, executive vice president at research firm Technomic, told Business Insider.
Easterbrook, who previously ran the European business, will meet with franchisees this week in what the company is calling the “Turnaround Summit,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Here are a few changes McDonald’s needs to make to compete in the fast food space.
1. Clean up restaurants.
“There’s clearly an opportunity to improve cleanliness in restaurants,” Tristano said.
While Chipotle is known for its modern, minimalist restaurants, McDonald’s has more of a dated feel, said Michelle Greenwald, a marketing professor at Columbia Business School, told Business Insider.
“Going to Chipotle is more of a pleasant experience,” she said. “McDonald’s doesn’t give you the feeling that you want to go back.”
McDonald’s has been working to remodel restaurants for a more up-to-date feel.
2. Fix order accuracy and speed of service.
Drive-thru service has slowed down as workers struggle to prepare dozens of new menu items. More consumers than ever are customising their orders, presenting another challenge for the staff.
McDonald’s is planning on installing self-order kiosks to improve accuracy of orders, Thompson said. Panera Bread also recently installed automated ordering.
Some restaurants will begin offering table service, and the brand will also improve its mobile ordering interface.
3. Offer better-quality ingredients.
McDonald’s needs healthier items on the menu to attract modern customers, Tristano said.
“McDonald’s could do something similar to Chick-fil-A and offered grilled chicken nuggets,” he said. “They could replace their soft serve with frozen yogurt, or start making their iced tea in-house, like many fast-casual brands.”
Tristano believes that like Chipotle, McDonald’s could eventually start offering antibiotic-free meats.
McDonald’s has already started offering fruit as an alternative to fries in Happy Meals.
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