How The New McDonald’s CEO Could Improve Restaurants Worldwide

(yarnzombie)

(yarnzombie)

For years now, we’ve referred to Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed as “curiously Australian,” since it’s unexpected and exotic for a Tex-Mex fast-food joint to be run by someone from the other side of the planet. Now another fast-food company has a chief executive from elsewhere in the Anglophone world: the incoming CEO of McDonald’s, Steve Easterbrook, is British.

Don Thompson, who will step down on March 1st, started with the company as an electrical engineer and worked his way up to the top job. Easterbrook started as an accountant, and served as CEO of McDonald’s UK. Changes made in restaurants in that country under Easterbrook’s leadership are things that American consumers have found lacking at McDonald’s.

Fruit: Well, no one goes to McDonald’s because they’re in the mood for health food, but McDonald’s in the United States has been experimenting with feeding more fruit to their youngest customers. Instead of a confusing array of Happy Meal options that include apples or tangerines, McDonald’s UK started a simple enough promotions: free bags of fruit with every Happy Meal on the first Friday of every month.

Environmental responsibility: Okay, “McDonald’s” and “environmental responsibility” might sound like they contradict each other, but they don’t. McDonald’s UK started a composting program, returning food scraps to the earth.

Food sourcing: This is important, since food sourcing is part of why Chipotle has become so popular with young adults in the US. McDonald’s UK sells beef, pork, and organic milk that has been sourced from inside the country, and coffee that’s Rainforest Alliance-certified. They’ve only used sustainably caught fish since 2001.

Fish sticks: We’re not sure whether this is a good or bad thing, but McDonald’s UK sells fish sticks that are similar to the Filet-O-Fish patty, or “fish fingers” as they’re called over there. That’s not necessarily something that American consumers are clamoring for, but it’s an interesting difference.

McDonald’s in US vs. UK: How New British CEO May Transform the Burger Chain [ABC News]