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]