Wall Street has lost faith in McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD), the great pillar of the fast-food industry. The reasons given include trouble with suppliers in China and Japan, a drop of activity in its home market and what the CEO called “problems we face.”
Not quite as visible in comments is that much of the sales at McDonald’s rely on foods like the 740 calorie Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and the 520 calorie McCafe Frappe Chocolate Chip. It is hard to find medical health experts who believe this sort of 1,260 calorie meal is high on the index of meals good for the average person. And the public has received an education over the past several years that tells them fatty, high-calories foods are bad for them.
Granted, there are plenty of sandwich and drink combinations McDonald’s sells that have a combined calorie count of 800 or 900 — for people who want to lose weight.
As McDonald’s management looked forward during its earnings announcement, it identified goals that it believes will get the company on track:
- McDonald’s Experience of the Future — a comprehensive restaurant execution concept that elevates the menu and customer experience elements that are hallmarks of the McDonald’s brand, and capitalizes on investments in reimaging, service and technology enhancements to improve the look, feel and convenience of the McDonald’s experience in ways that are in-tune with today’s consumer needs,
- Digital Strategy — a global strategy built around simplifying the customer journey across ordering, payment and mobile offers — beginning with the implementation of exciting and relevant new options, such as Apple Pay,
- Resourcing for Growth — a diligent review of the organization’s structure and use of resources in order to redirect spending toward those initiatives, such as the digital strategy and the McDonald’s Experience of the Future, that will support the Company’s key long-term growth initiatives.
Taken one by one: being “in-tune with consumer needs” does not say whether McDonald’s will sell more salads and low-cal, low-sugar drinks to cater to the health conscious. This would involve admitting that the old menu was flawed. The notion of buying food with Apple Pay is not very different from McDonald’s ability to take credit cards today, and “McDonald’s Experience of the Future” is poorly described.
There is a larger market for 1,000 calorie meals. However, that market may be shrinking.