Food Engineering
TECH FLASH

McDonald’s plans to “refocus core” to win back customers

The company says the timeline of last year’s menu additions stressed many restaurants.

March 26, 2014

McDonald’s global comparable sales drop for April

McDonald’s is making a play to win back its customers after a rough 2013 when same-store sales decreased by .2 percent, winter weather disrupted sales, and some new menu items flopped. February same-store sales were even worse, with CFO Pete Bensen reporting a decrease of 1.4 percent “amid challenging industry dynamics and severe winter weather.”

During a conference with investors, Bensen said McDonald’s will “refocus the core” in 2014 by placing emphasis on tried-and-true favorites like the Big Mac, Chicken McNuggets and the Quarter Pounder.

“We acknowledged last year that we probably did things a little bit too quickly in terms of the Egg White Delight and then the McWraps and the Quarter Pounders with the various toppings,” says Bensen, “and that was a big stress to the restaurants.” The steady stream of rollouts meant adding complications to kitchen procedures, which resulted in orders taking too long to fill.

But while McDonald’s plans to slow down the introduction of new products, it is also poised for innovation in other areas. The chain will replace prep tables at many of its locations with larger surfaces able to hold many more condiments and sauces. Meanwhile, a “build your own burger” concept is being tested in some Southern California locations, according to the Associated Press.

As other players like Taco Bell and Subway vie for positioning in the breakfast market, McDonald’s plans to push on-the-go classics like the Egg McMuffin, as well as play up the quality of its coffee.