Addressing the slump

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Fast food giants McDonald’s are continuing their slump in worldwide sales, with falling stock values resulting in a change of direction for one of the most recognisable brands in the world.

McDonald’s are currently facing six straight quarters of declining in-store sales worldwide and as a result have launched an innovative ‘Create Your Taste’ to be rolled out across selected stores in Australia. The un-McDonald’s-like approach has been getting trialled in American stores for the past six months.

Create Your Taste is all about you making your very own gourmet burger. With over 30 ingredients to choose from, consumers can now customise their burger, much like in most boutique burger joints.

McDonald’s is also introducing table service, allowing customers to relax with a drink while they waitmaccas for their customised burger to be cooked and brought to their table on a wooden board, complete with a wire basket of fries.

McDonald’s thinking that customisable food may bring back in the diners has already made short term gains in the stock market, with the company today announcing trading up 0.2% to $97.02.

With 36,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, turning the world’s perception of McDonald’s to a healthy gourmet burger destination is going to be a huge task for new CEO Steve Easterbrook. Easterbrook is scheduled to reveal his corporate turnaround plan at a meeting scheduled for May 4th, which will go into more depth on the changing direction for the fast food giants.

Whether or not this proves to be a fad or a permanent change of direction for the company, remains to be seen. With healthy menu choices, café coffee and now gourmet burgers with table service it appears they are taking notice of what most modern diners prefers.

The only thing that is certainly clear is the chain needs to act fast, with expected sales and net income sliding 21 per cent. Revenue fell seven per cent to $6.57 billion in the fourth quarter, while their net income fell to $1.09 billion, or $1.13 per share.

2014 was one of the worst years in McDonald’s history. The company barred reporters from its shareholder calls last May and last July also saw an expired meat scandal in China dominating news reports.

“2014 was a challenging year for McDonald’s around the world. Our results declined as unforeseen events and weak operating performance pressured results in each of our geographic segments,” said former CEO Don Thompson, before the McDonald’s veteran of 25 years was ousted in March.

Whether Australians can ever associate McDonald’s with anything other than a quick fast food hit at 2am when you’re rolling out of the pub, remains to be seen.

Check out where you can build your own burger – click here
Images sourced from the above ‘create your taste’ McDonald’s website.

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