Friday, November 16, 2012

Have It Your Way

MacDonald's has a new CEO. Gross sales and net income is down. The one time leader in fast food in America and the world is shaky, or so it seems.

From the LA Timess business section this morning:

The head of U.S. operations for McDonald's Corp. is on her way out amid the burger chain's efforts to counter intense competition and a string of uncharacteristically sour financial results.
Jan Fields will depart Dec. 1 as president of McDonald's USA, a position she has held for more than two years. She will be replaced by Jeff Stratton, currently McDonald's global chief restaurant officer. Both are 57.

Sure, tough competition from other fast food sellers, Starbucks jumping into more than coffee and scones. All of that has an effect, but have you eaten at a Mickey D's lately?

My unscientific survey based on nothing more than a total of 4 visits in 2012.

1. Soggy fries. (McDonald's always had great fries.)
2. Cheeseburgers with un-melted cheese.
3. Cold burgers and even worse, a cold egg mcmuffin.
4. Stale buns
5. Messy, dirty stores.

That's my survey of McDonald's in Thousand Oaks, Ca, Pizmo Beach, Ca, Paso Robles, Ca and one at truck stop on 1-15 on the way to Vegas. You know what they all have in common? They were owned by investment groups. Most fast food and chain restaurants aren't owned by local folks any more, they are owned by investors who buy franchises in big clusters all over the country.

When Ray Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers, he sold franchises to local owners. Because of that process the owner had an investment in his or her community, they supported local charities, sponsored kid's sports teams and actually cared about the people they hired to work in their store. They even had full time employees beyond a manager or two. And they had a local "name" to protect.

Today an investment group owning 30-40-50 or more McDonalds franchises could care less about an individual market, store or the people working there. That leads to cheeseburgers without melted cheese served with soggy fries across a dirty counter. Did I forget the broken ice machine?

I don't think competition is hurting McDonald as much as lousy ownership. I wonder if they have taken a look at KFC? They sell raw chicken for a living now. Ray Kroc and Colonel Sanders must be weeping in fast food heaven. (hell?)


  1. Excellent analysis. Why can't they figure this?

    1. Our old business has the same problems as McDonalds has.