Now I'm not a great fan of Mc Donald's, and am pretty chuffed that my 3 girls seem to find the food greasy and not especially nice. But you have to take your hat off to the business turn-around they've pulled off. Recent reports show that they have strung together 44 consecutive months of sales growth. Their 4th quarter results were welcomed by CEO Jim Skinner as the best in 30 years.
This success seems to me to be a good examples of going back to basics, and working on the "sausage" (or burger I suppose), and not trying to use spin to advertise their way out of the crisis they were in as recently as 2002. [I did actually say this was the strategy to follow a couple of years ago during my 60 seconds of fame as a talking head on ITV's Tonight with Trevor Mc Donald, although only my mum and Aunty Pam seemed to be watching at the time].
Like many brand successes, this one seems to be the result of a whole host of changes that together work to create growth:
- Focusing on existing stores, not opening new ones
- Extending opening hours
- Refurbishing restaurants (yet to hit Putney)
- Healthier options like fruit yoghurt and salads (OK, minority of sales, but they're still the biggest salad seller in the US)
But my favourite initiative is the re-vamp of breakfast. They put on porridge, and also freshly ground coffee at only £1.19, much cheaper than Starbuck's. I worked with the team from Kraft's Kenco brand who provide the coffee, and they were able to show that not only was ground coffee a great image builder, it also boosted profits. It was even voted best high street coffee in the USA by Consumer Reports, somthing worth 10 times more than any ad campaign. (Thanks to Michael at Popsurfing for this)