Did you know THIS company was struggling?
The fast-food chain had aimed to widen its customer base by chasing after health-conscious consumers who rarely eat there. But a customer survey conducted last year revealed it was losing customers to other fast-food chains, not to fast-casual restaurants serving healthier food.
That's why it has decided to embrace its fast-food identity and focus on its core products. Critics have longed urged McDonald's to focus on its core customers, but McDonald's had added more salads, snack wraps, and oatmeal to its menu in hopes of drawing health-minded customers. Recently, the chain pulled many of those slow-selling products.
Interestingly, Burger King similarly attempted to appeal to a broader, more health-conscious customer base in recent years, but it didn't work for them either.
McDonald's will now focus on improving the quality of its food to keep existing customers and regain those who have bolted to the competition. It is testing new cooking methods to improve the taste and texture of its Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. In addition, it is testing burgers made from fresh beef rather than frozen beef in select markets. To attract the morning crowd, it plans to improve how its coffee is served and presented and to upgrade the pastries at its McCafe coffee stations.
Further, as part of its new strategy to retain and attract customers, it plans to test delivering in the U.S., Europe, and several Asian markets. It also aims to roll out mobile ordering and paymnet in 20,000 restaurants and spend over $1 billion to renovate existing locations.
Honestly, I thought McDonald's decision to go after health-conscious consumers would prove viable. When I go to McDonald's, I buy what I presume to be the healthiest items on the menu -- salads and snack wraps -- just to avoid Big Macs, french fries, and other more fattening options.
But McDonald's and Burger King's failure to appeal to this market proves one thing: People will never associate fast food with "healthy." When one thinks of McDonald's, they imagine delicious salty french fries, not healthful salads. It's a perception that's firmly seared in the consumer's mind and not easy to change.
I think McDonald's is doing the right thing by returning to its roots. Trying to steal customers from restaurants like Subway is an exercise in futility. Stick to the fast food junkies and quit trying to be all things to all people.