I’ve been following McDonalds’ woes for what seems like ever, but that’s nothing compared to what franchisees are going through:
“We are in the throes of a deep depression, and nothing is changing,” one franchisee wrote in response to the survey by Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski. “Probably 30% of operators are insolvent.”
Another wrote, “The CEO is sowing the seeds of our demise. We are a quick-serve fast-food restaurant, not a fast casual like Five Guys or Chipotle. The system may be facing its final days.”
More than a dozen franchisees expressed frustration with McDonald’s management, saying that CEO Steve Easterbrook’s turnaround plan — which includes initiatives like all-day breakfast and a shift to digital ordering kiosks — is a distraction from the core issues of McDonald’s, like food quality and customer service.
“The lack of consistent leadership from Oak Brook is frightening, we continue to jump from one failed initiative to another,” one franchisee wrote.
A second wrote, “I have been in this business since the early 1970s but have not seen us this leaderless in all my time.”
Elsewhere in the reports, franchisees complained that “Our menu boards are still bloated, and we are still trying to be too many things to too many people,” and that corporate is “throwing everything they can against the wall to see what will stick.”
This isn’t rocket science — it’s fast food. It needs to be nothing more than simple, affordable, and tasty.
Cut the menu back to just a few items. That will simplify inventory, management, and preparation — and most importantly, it will tell people that McDonalds remembers what it’s supposed to be. Use the savings to improve the quality of ingredients, for customers who have gotten used to better food at the rising fast casual restaurants.
And put the beef tallow back in the fries, STAT!