McDonald’s Admits That Its Menu Is Overcomplicated

In recent years, McDonald’s has been constantly tinkering with its menu, adding numerous limited time offers [LTOs] like the ill-advised and overly expensive Mighty Wings, and changing its Dollar Menu to the confusingly named “Dollar Menu & More.” In doing so, it’s angered franchisees, and alienated some customers who took their fast food money elsewhere. Yesterday, the company finally admitted that McD’s menu has gotten too McComplicated.

“We overcomplicated the restaurants and didn’t give restaurants an opportunity to breathe,” confessed Tim Fenton, McDonald’s chief operating officer in yesterday’s conference call with investors. “We need to do fewer products with better execution.”

CEO Don Thompson admitted that some consumers no longer connect with the McDonald’s brand.

“In the U.S. we’ve lost some of our customer relevance across several parts of the day,” said Thompson, who explained that “The key is going to really be to re-establish the trust of customers… That means basic execution at a restaurant level, marketing engagement at a much stronger level and also to make sure that our menu is relevant.”

McDonald’s sales and earnings for the most recent quarter were flat, with same-store sales slipping for the second quarter in a row.

A number of franchisees have complained in recent years that the constantly changing menu and the frequent LTOs have put an undue burden on them, requiring them to retrain employees, purchase new ingredients and do marketing for products that may not sell. Some say it has resulted in slowed-down service and confused customers.

In spite of a huge, star-studded marketing campaign, McDonald’s Mighty Wings failed to take off, mostly because customers could get better, bigger wings elsewhere for less money. This resulted in millions of unsold wings sitting in McDonald’s freezers.

In addition to the wings, other recent menu additions and LTOs include the the egg white McMuffin, the Premium McWrap, Steak & Egg Burrito, Fish McBites, steak breakfast sandwiches, new Quarter Pounders, Grilled Onion Cheddar, Hot ‘n Spicy McChicken.

“We stumbled a bit last year with too many new products, too fast and we created a lot of complexity,” confessed Fenton.

McDonald’s Says Its Restaurants Got Too Complicated [WSJ.com]
McDonald‘s: We Overcomplicated the Menu [BurgerBusiness.com]

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  1. CommonC3nts says:

    Why wont they bring back chicken selects??
    Their chicken wings have nasty very acidic barbecue sauce. Both times I tried them the wings and sauce were cold, never again. I think they only reason they are still on the menu is they think people will buy them for the superbowl. I dont think people are going to go to mcdonalds for superbowl wings.
    I rarely go to mcdonalds now as I cant get chicken selects anymore.
    If I want a burger I will go to wendy’s. Wendy’s is probably one of the best places for burgers. I like them more than in and out and five guys.

  2. Terryc says:

    I was very excited about the egg white McMuffin but it was really lacking in taste. Now if I do have McD’s for b-fast back to the egg mcmuffin. Best breakfast sandwich ever.

  3. MarthaGaill says:

    I feel like every couple of years McDonalds says this and starts pulling things off the menu. Then a few years later, they’ve added a bunch of crap on and start the process over. Just do what you do and do it well, Micky D’s.

  4. ComputerGary says:

    If memory serves me right, the secrets to McDonald’s initial success were their limited menu and “Speedee Service System.” Burgers, fries, shakes and sodas. That’s it. And part of the “Speedee Service System” was that every burger was made exactly alike, which meant if you didn’t want pickles on your burger, you got rid of ‘em yourself – no “have it your way.”

  5. FusioptimaSX says:

    Dear McDonalds,

    Don’t you DARE take away my White Egg McMuffin and Hot & Spicy McChicken!!!

    Although Mighty Wings are good, I’ll just get mine from Publix instead. Cheaper per wing that way.