McDonald's Plans To Rebrand Itself As A 'Progressive Burger Company' The McDonald's turnaround plan is staking its future on being a "progressive burger company." But what does that mean?

McDonald's Plans To Rebrand Itself As A 'Progressive Burger Company'

McDonald's Plans To Rebrand Itself As A 'Progressive Burger Company'

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The McDonald's turnaround plan is staking its future on being a "progressive burger company." But what does that mean?


For most of McDonald's's 60-year history, the company has focused on selling cheap, fast food, but that's not working as well as it once did. Today, a plan for a turnaround - NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports that McDonald's executives made clear they want to recast the company as a modern and progressive burger company.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: It was a phrase the executives at McDonald's repeated nine times during a conference call and an online video. CEO Steve Easterbrook said in order to shore up flagging sales, the company will manage established and high-growth segments differently. It will convert 3,500 stores it operates into franchises to cut costs, reformulate its food and try to engage customers using better technology.


STEVE EASTERBROOK: All of these phases together will culminate in our ability to be seen as a modern, progressive burger company.

NOGUCHI: Reorganizing, he says, will enable it to react better to changing customer demands.


EASTERBROOK: We will also seek to modernize and be more progressive around our social purpose in order to deepen our relationship with the communities on the issues that matter to them.

NOGUCHI: Jason Moser is a retail and restaurant analyst with The Motley Fool.

JASON MOSER: When you hear him talking about wanting to become a modern, progressive burger company, well, the big problem there is we already have a lot of those out there.

NOGUCHI: Chains like Five Guys, Shake Shack, Habit Burger and Smashburger are in this category and share things in common.

MOSER: A leaner cost structure, stores that are a bit more modern-looking, a bit more enjoyable to be in, not to mention, really, I think the ingredients and the quality of the food.

NOGUCHI: McDonald's did announce recently it plans to largely eliminate chicken raised with antibiotics from its food. That's a step in the right direction, Moser says, but the company is still behind the curve.

MOSER: McDonald's has communicated value for so long, for them to be able to pivot and start convincing consumers that the brand stands for quality, I think that's a higher hurdle to clear than maybe they think.

NOGUCHI: One key challenge is how the company can use better, more expensive ingredients without raising prices in a way that could alienate regulars who order off its budget-conscious dollar menu. R.J. Hottovy is an analyst with Morningstar.

R.J. HOTTOVY: I think that's what McDonald's has to identify and really focus in on is, you know, who they want their core customer to be.

NOGUCHI: Defining that, he says, requires taking more risks and tough choices than what the company has laid out so far. Yuki Noguchi, NPR News, Washington.

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