The year was 2000 and a McDonald's corporate PR person uttered the dumbest words
ever to come out of the Oak Brook headquarters.
By the end of 1999 most McDonald's USA stores had implemented the "Made For You"
cooking system. Reporters and analysts observed that suddenly the service was slower
and lines were longer.
When asked about service times the corporate PR person said, "People don't mind
waiting longer if they know the sandwich was made just for them".
Pre-MFY 1999 same store sales were a healthy +4.0%, 2000 +1.5%, 2001 +0.5%, and
2002 (- 1.5 )%.
Customers on were voting on MFY with their feet.
This week Restaurant Business Magazine published an interview of one of McDonald's
chefs. Editor Jonathan Maze asked about menu innovation and its impact on service
times. The chef talked about "indulgent moments". Another editor asked, "So it's the
opposite of fast-food?'
Answer: "When the food is right, people slow down"
Yikes! Now, it's his job to think that way. But, if that thinking permeates the minds of
more than a few people at the new headquarters McDonald's USA is about to take a trip
back to the years 2000, 2001, and 2002.
By the way, desperate to get sales turned around, management strong-armed Operators
into launching the original Dollar Menu in the fall of 2002. Same store sales in 2003 were
a robust +6.4%.
So "Made For You" was the father of the Dollar Menu.
This is a recorded interview and is only seventeen minutes long. The discussion on speed
begins at the eleven minute mark.
How McDonald’s is working to change its menu by Restaurant Business Magazine