What Should McDonald’s Do When Kids Aren’t Interested In Happy Meals?

McDonald’s has a problem: kids. For a few generations now, families have been a big part of the company’s business, and marketing to children an important part of their business strategy. Yet kids and families just aren’t streaming in the door like they used to, and it’s not because terrifying new mascot Happy has scared them off. No, it’s because eschewing fast food is now aspirational for middle-class consumers, and everyone else is broke.

Members of the Millennial generation, loosely defined as “anyone younger than the Consumerist staff,” tend to look down on processed foods. Younger adults with small kids are raising them with more sophisticated palates than they grew up with in turn. Today’s kids would prefer a Chipotle quesadilla to a cheeseburger. Apparently.

“[Kids in 2014 are] not just looking for the Golden Arches and the toy,” a market researcher explained to Crain’s Chicago. Burgers and fries are not cutting it. Even Go-Gurt and apple slices are not up to the standards of modern youngsters. Only 14% of McDonald’s customers are adults eating with kids, and the majority of people who walk in the door are dining (loosely defined) by themselves.

Maybe in twenty years, McDonald’s will have a fantastic resurgence after today’s small children grow up and discover that there is a world outside of buffalo burgers on artisanal pretzel buns. Or something.
(via Bloomberg Businessweek)