I will admit to being one of those people that actually enjoyed McDonalds. Or USED to enjoy McDonalds. (Note – I understand that McD is in it’s own class when it comes to defining “food” – keep that in mind – LOL) Over the last year or so I noticed a general decline in the taste of the food itself, including an increasing saltiness and rubbery texture to the burgers. (Even more so, yes – LOL) The McD around here have all adopted these new systems that fry the burgers on BOTH sides at once by putting them in something that looks like an industrial clothes press. Then they slip the burger into some kind of tray (some kind of either steam or broth tray) where someone on the other side of the shelves pulls the burger out (eventually) and assembles the burger. From THIS ARTICLE, I’m starting to see a bit of what has gone wrong. Chief Executive Jack Greenberg’s costly new food-preparation system–a program that was supposed to address the worst of McDonald’s woes–has backfired. Sales are flat, with customers complaining about slow service, rude employees, and cardboard-tasting food. Rumors even swirled that Greenberg, the chain’s chief since 1998, was the target of a failed coup earlier this year.
The new food preparation system was supposed to be something they called ‘made for you’ which cut assembly time in half and made each burger specially for the person who ordered it – something like Burger King used to do. But McD is NOT Burger King, which has their own methods. They are NOT a ‘restaurant’ like Applebees or that ilk. They are McD – they served reasonably priced, reasonably tasty burgers (with great fries, which are still rather good), at a reasonably fast pace. You could get special orders – faster during ‘rush’ times than when it was slower – because production was moving along faster and there were already burgers on the grill being cooked. BUT they weren’t waiting in bins to be ‘made for you’.
All in all, this is just another example of what goes wrong when a company (or person) tries to do what they think everyone else wants (marketing surveys? assumptions? not sure) instead of really having a vision for the creation of the product itself. I think this happens a lot when the original founder of a company dies and a new CEO is brought in – someone with training in business management perhaps, but not necessarily someone passionate about the company itself. (I hope that, now that Dave Thomas is gone, Wendy’s doesn’t start to slide.) I know that Ray Kroc (McD) has been gone a long time already, but McD really has spread itself too thin – not just geographically, but with its focus.[insert dramatic arm wiping over forehead and huge sigh].