McDonald’s lost 2.3 percent in sales last quarter. I lost 2.3 percent of my lower intestine after my last Quarter Pounder.
Even that fat purple moron Grimace could deduce cause and effect.
If you want to feel sick after a meal, why not Mad Dog 20/20? It’s healthier, tastes better, and at least provides a high before the hangover.
McDonald’s seeks to counter the downward spiral. The chain announced the worldwide closure of 350 stores atop 350 more already shuttered this year. But that still leaves a problem of about 32,000 restaurants open for business.
The Golden Arches micro-test in San Diego an all-day breakfast menu, which, given the penchant of customers to wear pajamas throughout sunlight hours, strikes as a move of entrepreneurial genius. If only Ray Kroc’s ghost could now convince the federal government to permit his franchises to accept WIC, SNAP, and other obnoxious acronyms meaning “freeloader,” then McDonald’s would eclipse Exxon, Walmart, and Apple in profits. The eatery still does big business where there’s little business.
CEO Steve Easterbrook promises to unveil a plan to transform McDonald’s into a “modern, progressive burger company” on the first Monday in May. In the past, such moves amounted to adding salads and inserting apple slices in sadder Happy Meals. Why not serve vitamin water in bars?
The chain’s problems go beyond selling junk food in a kale and granola world. Mr. Easterbrook clearly needs an outside, unsolicited perspective from one of the fast-food joint’s former patrons they so desperately seek to win back. Domino’s laudably ate humble pizza pie after tastes evolved and evolving competition tasted better. McDonald’s, though profitable and in no immediate danger of becoming Radio Shack, similarly needs a makeover if it wishes to grow in the twenty-first century in a manner rivaling the growth of its most loyal customers in the twentieth.
Here, for the sake of customer comfort, menu palatability, and worker-diner morale, is the not-so-secret recipe for success:
1. Don’t hire cashiers with neck tattoos.
2. Restrict morbidly obese customers to the drive-through to create the impression that most of the people who eat there carry around less than 40 percent body fat.
3. Bathe the indoor playgrounds with a blacklight to allow parents to make an informed decision whether or not they should allow their children to play there.
4. Offer up anybody who calls McDonald’s “Mickey D’s” to Mayor McCheese and his confederates for summary execution.
5. Cut the pay of the workers. Use the proceeds to increase the pay of the CEO. Mr. Easterbrook reportedly earns a salary of $1.1 million this year. The CEO of Wendy’s made seven times that in compensation for 2013. Sure, Dave’s Hot ’N Juicy beats any item on the McDonald’s menu. But it’s not seven times better.
6. Double the size of the hamburger patty so it at least approaches parity with the bun. Include one big burger in the Big Mac instead of two smaller patties to provide truth in advertising.
7. To embrace the age of the algorithm and increase profits, set up kiosks offering scratch tickets, baggy track suits, loose fitting sports jerseys, methamphetamine, and other items the clientele favors, à la Amazon’s “customers who bought this item also bought” feature.
8. Recruit a Jared-like character to trick consumers into thinking a byproduct of daily visits includes weight loss. In replacing the cast of creepy cartoonish characters, this new product pitchman will also provide the added bonus of attracting families scared off by the subliminal sex-offender vibe projected by the clowns and masked marauders representing the brand in the past.
9. Stop confusing sugar for salt. Cholesterol? Fat? Red meat? Yes. Yes. Yes. Nine grams of sugar in a Big Mac? Leave that for the chocolate shakes. Diners want a meal, not dessert.
10. Produce a documentary about what happens to a normal carnivorous man compelled to eat a vegan diet for three meals a day for a month. Show the subject as Rob Gronkowski on the first of the thirty vegan days and as Chris Hayes on the last. Even the few viewers discerning enough to recognize that the New England Patriots tight end didn’t literally become the primetime MSNBC host through a vegan diet will concede the metaphorical truth of the point and likely rush to McDonald’s, or some similar establishment, out of fright.
11. Hire Gwyneth Paltrow and Michelle Obama as culinary advisors. Do the opposite of what they say.
12. No matter how bad McDonaldland morale gets, always remind yourselves: “At least we’re not Arby’s.”
Ignore the sage advice at your peril, Ronald McDonald. The Stanley Steamer drove as the bestselling car on American roads at the dawn of the twentieth century. In 1950, Americans drank Schlitz more than any other beer. In 1960, Detroit reigned as the affluence capital of the United States.
Nothing, not even a preservative-packed Chicken McNugget, lasts forever.