Posts Tagged 'Culver’s'

Can McDonald’s stick to a consistent turnaround strategy?

I commented a couple of months ago about McDonald’s struggles to simplify its menu and thus its operations. Today the BrainTrust panel at RetailWire reflects on some “customization” tests going on in Sydney. I believe McD’s needs to get more focused, not less:

I still believe that menu complexity is McDonald’s biggest issue in the U.S. Its brand positioning should continue to stand for “consistent, affordable and fast.” So a touch-screen offering more customization — instead of fewer choices — is not a solution to the problem. Neither is the wait time added by having meals brought to the table, Culvers-style. (And just picture the breakdowns at the drive-through lane.)

Most of the operating improvements discussed recently by McDonald’s are focused exactly in the right place — narrowing the assortment of food offerings and simplifying the operation. Trying to squeeze into the increasingly crowded brand space of the “better burger” chains would not be the right move.


McDonald’s: All about the burgers (and the service)

A recent RetailWire panel discussion focused on McDonald’s and its problems gaining sales traction. I am among several panelists who feel that “food customization” is not addressing the real problem with food quality:

I am not a McDonald’s regular but I eat there on occasion along with other burger places like Five Guys and Culver’s. So I’m not an authority on the subject (which is a good thing) but it’s true that a Value Meal approaches the price of a similar combination meal at competitors. (And there are plenty of well-priced, healthier options like Panera to choose from.) The problem lately for McDonald’s is the slippage of food and service standards causing an erosion of the value equation.

I’m not sure that customization will solve the problem of food quality, if the burger at the “heart of the matter” doesn’t taste good. If anything, McDonald’s needs to figure out how to take complexity of menu offerings out of the equation, in order to focus on “doing less better.” That’s part of the secret of Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger, after all — not the lowest price or even the fastest service, but the best food quality for the price paid.