Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s new CEO is fighting a battle on two fronts. One franchisee, quoted in today NYT, said store sales have been “horrible.” Overall, for stores opened at least one year, February sales were down 4% (February, remember, is a short month). In addition to poor sales, McDonald’s has been dinged in the media for paying low wages.
Mr. Easterbrook, who recently started his new job as CEO, has come out with guns blazing. Ballsy. And needed. He’s raising wages and adding benefits at corporate stores, putting pressure on franchise stores to do so. He has extended breakfast all day (couple of bumps in that road) and decided to use artisanal bread on the grilled chicken sandwich. He has also stopped serving food with maltodextrin (that must be good). He’s shooting in many directions; directions that purport to hurt profit. And it feels a little disorganized…but times are tough. Were he to simply fix the menu, it might not be enough. Were he to correct wages, not enough. Improve corporate responsibility, not enough.
McDonald’s, to steal a phrase, is too big to fail. It’s not too big to have some tough times though. Mr. Easterbrook is scrambling a bit, but will find his way. He’s certainly not a man of inaction. Peace.