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This article was published 24/8/2016 (1859 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
This ain’t your grandpa’s McDonalds.
The iconic fast food giant loves its brand legacy, but with some very focused innovations, is trying to re-invent itself to take a bite out of the competition.
At a cost of more than $200,000 per store, the burger chain is enhancing the customer experience with easy-to-use touch-screen ordering, customizable burgers, and pastries that place those old apple tarts into the same category of memories as black and white TV — the olden days.
And if it’s not already obvious that they’re trying to attract people who are not traditional McDonald’s patrons, there’s also limited table service, if you can believe it.
By the end of September, 29 of the 50 Manitoba McDonald’s will have the full range of those new services. Some locations will just have the self-order kiosks and new bakery fare but are not large enough for the new work-stations required for the customizable burger offering, which include stainless steel automatic bun-buttering machines (this IS McDonald’s after, all).
And Ryan McCullough, a McDonald’s franchisee who owns 11 locations in Winnipeg, said, it’s the premium burger business that they’re really going after.
There’s no denying a little guacamole (for 49 cents extra) or carmelized onions or five different cheese selection, two different types of buns (or a lettuce wrap) and about 10 different toppings can make for a different type of burger experience than a Big Mac. (For a limited time, the stores are offering free drinks and french fries with every "Create Your Taste" burger.)
"McDonald’s is re-creating its brand, heading towards a more guest–centric direction," McCullough said. "I think it is a fantastic investment that will launch us into the future... offering guests products they really want, including new trending ingredients like guacamole, sriracha sauce and blue cheese."
Rolling out the new "Create Your Taste" offering on top of all-day-breakfast that was launched last year is a mammoth undertaking for a restaurant company with almost 37,000 locations worldwide and more than 1,400 in Canada.
While McDonald’s Canada has experienced fairly consistent sales growth over the past five years, the company has emerged over the past 12 months after suffering from seven consecutive quarterly declines in same store sales in the U.S.
McCullough is bullish on his prospects and the new investment (that is being shared by the corporation and the franchisees). He’s embracing it even though it means significant additional costs.
On top of the new equipment — self-order kiosks, and a few new pieces of equipment for each kitchen — each store is adding 10-to-12 new employees on top of the average 60-to-80 employees per store. (A Western Canadian job fair will be held Sept. 14).
"We’re going to need more people to handle all the new business," McCullough said.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.