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McDonald’s first turnaround steps aren’t about food

Sarah Gardner May 4, 2015
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McDonald’s new CEO was pretty blunt on Monday.

“We are not on our game,” Steve Easterbrook told investors and customers while unveiling a turnaround plan for the company amid sagging sales. Easterbrook’s plan involves a major restructuring he hopes will make McDonald’s more nimble in responding to consumers’ changing tastes. The company will also franchise more of its restaurants and buy back more shares.

Some investors wanted more details about menu and store changes, but there were no sweeping announcements on that. McDonald’s is experimenting with more customized orders and online ordering at a few locations, among other changes.

Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, says the company’s immense size makes any fundamental changes across the board challenging.

“Repositioning a brand is hard and it takes time to do those things,” he says. “It means there’s not a quick fix here.”

 

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