May 20, 2013
McDonald's Menu Gets a Trim
OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. is planning to axe some menu items and this time, it's not all about the waistline; it's also about the streamline.
McDonald's Fruit & Walnut Salad, Chicken Selects and Angus Third Pounders will be making an exit, according to a franchisee e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News.
Additional items such as the Caesar Salad, the McSkillet Burrito, the Southern Style Biscuit and steak bagels are also on the chopping block.
Trimming its menu is a significant reversal of trend for McDonald's. As of January, it was still expanding its Dollar Menu, with the goal of seeing a sales lift, as CSNews Online previously reported.
Since 2007, McDonald's expanded its menu by 70 percent to approximately 145 items, according to data Bloomberg obtained from menu research firm Datassential in Los Angeles. As a result, the chain that defined rapid service has slowed down.
"It's gotten to the point where the operation has kind of broken down and that's all a symptom of the complication of the menu," said Richard Adams, a San Diego-based restaurant franchise consultant and former McDonald's store owner. "They can't make food fast enough."
For instance, the McWrap, which debuted in March, is offered in three varieties and takes about 60 seconds to make. Adams called this turnaround "labor intensive" for a fast-food restaurant.
In contrast, industry experts point to Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.'s "minimalist menu." The quick-service restaurant chain offers just five main, customizable food items and saw a 20-percent increase in revenue last year.
"Part of the reason why Chipotle works so well is that it's simple," Peter Saleh, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group in New York, told Bloomberg. If they added four more items, it would screw up the entire process."
The rising cost of beef is also playing a factor in McDonald's decision to rid its menu of the Angus Third Pounder, according to the Associated Press. The burgers were among the most expensive items on the fast-food giant's menu and will be replaced by three new Quarter Pounder burgers that come in two of the same varieties as the Angus burgers -- Bacon and Cheese, Deluxe and Habanero Ranch.
McDonald's, which operates approximately 14,100 locations in the United States, said the new burgers will roll out nationally in mid-June.
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