What’s Really Wrong With McDonald’s

lovinitMuch is being written about the so-called McDonald’s turnaround (the current one). Pundits chime in regularly as to what they need to do. Much is being made of “menu creep.” The belief is the menu has grown to the point where it’s too big. Comparisons are made to specialty fast-food burger places such as 5 Guys and In n Out, who do very well per location, with a limited menu, but far fewer locations than McDonald’s.

My view is different. I’ve had lots to say about McDonald’s in earlier posts (just search on McDonald). However, the truth is they long ago gave up the focused menu position for the family, fast-food restaurant position. And they are #1 as a result. The problem is they aren’t executing anymore.

Recently I went to McDonald’s with three young children. Each wanted a hamburger in a kid’s meal. However each wanted their burger slightly different (no ketchup, or no pickles or plain). We placed the order. All three burgers were produced incorrectly . . . twice. It took three tries to get the kids their burgers. Lack of execution.

Then the kids opened their kid’s meals and took out their toys, which were some kind of kids’ action figure. Nice. Until I realized it shot a spear. Who thought that was a good idea? Lack of execution.

Lastly, the restaurant had been recently remodeled so it looked good, but the floor was dirty and the place felt dingy, even though it wasn’t. Where’s Ray Kroc when you need him?

What’s wrong with McDonald’s? It’s simple: they can’t execute at the restaurant level too often anymore. Why? Maybe because the menu is too large, or maybe because the people they hire aren’t trained or capable to do so. Maybe they need to raise their wages not from  social pressure, but to hire good enough talent to EXECUTE.

It’s not about reducing the menu choices by 5%, it’s about executing on your business model. If they are going to offer a wide menu to attract people all day long as well as families, then put the right people in place to get it done.


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