The first McDonald’s in Illinois circa 1955 was constructed in Des Plains, a Chicago suburb
I have a crystal ball here on my desk that predicts McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson stepping down and their replacing him with Steve Easterbrook, the company’s “chief brand officer” will make no difference what-so-ever on increasing their bottom line. Nope, the new branding guy won’t really be able to convince us (the general public) that their luke warm burgers, rubbery chicken nuggets, their pretend lattes and everything under-the-sun- wrapped in a, you know, wrap, is really good food. Or even a facsimile. We know too much.
We’ve learned “fast food” doesn’t have to taste mediocre or not fresh. We’ve learned fast food doesn’t have to sacrifice taste to be healthy. And some of us have learned that we don’t have to give our hard-earned money to companies that we feel don’t treat their employees fairly by handing out low wages and/or shorter hours so they don’t have to pay benefits. They should really just hire me to run a focus group of “regular people” and they could save themselves a ton of money on executives and pass that money down to the “real” employees that do the work. Surely they understand “trickle down” right?
Sales at McDonald’s have been declining since 2013 so I assume Thompson will be the fall guy. His salary and perks are in the millions so gee, I’m sure he’ll land on his feet. Unlike many McDonald workers who can barely make ends meet and end up being subsidized by taxpayers in the form of food stamps, healthcare subsidies etc. when we know the CEO’s are walking away with golden parachutes and we are in essence subsidizing McDonald’s. Could some of us just be plain mad at McDonald’s and their apparent greed? Of course, but we also know we have many good options.
Many of us have been turning to chains like Panera, Five Guys, Smashburgers, Chipotle, In n’ Out Burger, and Chick-fil-A to name a few. These chains are not trying to be all things to all people. They specialize in fresh, made to order, reasonably priced food. What they prepare they do well. You won’t find 100 items on a Five Guys menu. They make fantastic burgers and hand cut fresh french fries. There is always a line and you don’t mind waiting a short time because you know it is being made fresh for you. McDonald’s has up to 100 items on its menu and when you go to the drive-thru you better not take the time to read it because in three seconds they are asking you what you want.
But taste and freshness aside, McDonald’s recent 21% drop in profit in the most recent quarter compared to last year at the same time ( this according to their own stats) isn’t a fluke. While they are busy playing around with their menu and firing CEO’s our culture has changed to putting our money where our mouths are, literally and figuratively. But McDonald’s and their so-called McFamily culture doesn’t really have a clue.