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McDonald's Is Desperate
By: Jonathan Lewis
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McDonald’s recent decision to serve breakfast all day is an ominous sign for the fast food icon. Defying years of stalwart discipline from the corporate office, McDonald’s gave in to growing franchise pressure to serve breakfast all day in what can only be described as a misguided effort to goose sagging sales.

The company’s longtime practice of serving breakfast until 10:30 a.m. became somewhat of a pop culture joke over the years. But as the fast food chain nears two years of disappointing sales, the powers that be finally gave in.

According to Ad Age, “McDonald's announced plans… to offer all-day breakfast across its 14,350 U.S. locations on Oct. 6. It's part of CEO Steve Easterbrook's effort to revive domestic sales…”

The corporate office historically argued that restricting breakfast hours preserved process efficiency and fast service. But ongoing pressure from a worried and fractured franchise community, who recently called corporate turnaround efforts a “farce” according to Ad Age’s Maureen Morrison, led to a company about-face.

Unfortunately, this recent decision can only mean one thing: McDonald’s doesn’t know what else to do.

Instead of addressing the root cause of what Ad Age called “their worst slump in more than a decade,” McDonald’s is tinkering with a declining business model, cowering to a desperate franchise community and playing defense in a market they once courageously led.

I’m sorry to say it, but the powerhouse fast food company’s brand is now just as stale as its food.

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About the Author
Jonathan Lewis is partner, Vice President and Strategy Director at McKee Wallwork + Co. Advertising, winner of the 2015 Ad Age Small Agency of the Year SW and Campaign of the Year awards. Jonathan’s firm specializes in turning around companies who are stalled, stuck or stale, publishing two books on the topic including When Growth Stalls and Power Branding. Follow Jonathan @JonathanLewis11.
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