Posts tagged with "McDonald’s"

McDonald’s temporarily shuts U.S. offices as chain prepares for layoff notices

April 4, 2023

Whatever happened to the personal touch? Like a slew of other major firms, McDonald’s plans to sack its staff virtually. The burger chain is temporarily closing its U.S. offices this week as it prepares to inform corporate employees about layoffs undertaken as part of a broader company restructuring, reports The Wall Street Journal

 The Chicago-based fast-food chain said in an internal email last week to U.S. employees and some international staff that they should work from home from Monday through Wednesday so it can deliver staffing decisions virtually. The company, in the message, asked employees to cancel all in-person meetings with vendors and other outside parties at its headquarters

“During the week of April 3, we will communicate key decisions related to roles and staffing levels across the organization,” the company said in the message viewed by The Wall Street Journal. 

McDonald’s declined to comment Sunday on the number of employees being laid off. McDonald’s in January said that it planned to make “difficult” decisions about changes to its corporate staffing levels by April, as part of a broader strategic plan for the burger chain.

Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski said in an interview at the time that he expected to save money as part of the workforce assessment, but that he didn’t have a set dollar amount or number of jobs he was looking to cut. “Some jobs that are existing today are either going to get moved or those jobs may go away,” Kempczinski commented.

McDonald’s employs more than 150,000 people globally in corporate roles and its owned restaurants, with 70% of them located outside of the United States, the chain said in February. 

McDonald’s in the message acknowledged that the week of April 3 would be a busy one for personal travel, which it said contributed to the decision to deliver the news remotely. Workers who wouldn’t have access to a computer during the week should provide personal contact information to their manager, the company said. 

“We want to ensure the comfort and confidentiality of our people during the notification period,” the company said. 

Companies across industries are reducing head counts amid concerns about a slowing economy. Layoffs that began in the tech sector last year have spread to retailers and manufacturers. Last month said it was eliminating 9,000 more jobs, following previously announced layoffs.

When Twitter in November notified staff about head count reductions, it said the company’s offices would be temporarily closed to ensure the safety of employees, Twitter’s systems, and customer data. Employees who were in the office or on their way to one were asked to go home.

McDonald’s sales have held up even as retailers have reported a slowdown in spending. The company told investors in January that some lower-income consumers were ordering fewer items per visit or opting for cheaper offerings, but customers generally continued to spend at its restaurants. 

McDonald’s has conducted several rounds of layoffs in recent years. In 2018, McDonald’s said that the company was cutting its management to be “more dynamic, nimble and competitive.” The company said at the time the layoffs would occur as part of a half-billion-dollar plan to shrink administrative expenses by the end of 2019. 

Kempczinski, who was the company’s U.S. president at the time, didn’t disclose the scope of the head-count reduction, but said it included regional chain offices. McDonald’s said it employed 205,000 people globally in corporate roles and its owned restaurants in 2019, down from 235,000 in 2017.

Research contact: @WSJ

How McDonald’s’ latest ad got everyone talking about an everyday facial expression

January 17, 2023

Advertising from fast food chain McDonald’s tends to feature its products–burgers being bitten into by delighted-looking customers, food items merrily bouncing as if freshly flung into buns by a cheerful chef—or in former years, a clown. But a new ad for the chain, initially released in the UK, upends that tradition, reports Quartz.

British filmmaker Edgar Wright—best known for comedy movies like Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Baby Driver (2017)—has raised eyebrows with his use of quirky choreography and one suggestive gesture.

The “double eyebrow raise”—a person raising both his or her brows twice in quick succession—is, of course, not new. But the Wright ad does cleverly align the oft-used facial expression to suggest that something like “this is a bit cheeky” with the McDonald’s “M” logo, sometimes referred to as the “golden arches.”

At the same time, the ad’s narrative captures the zeitgeist of the times. In it, two female workers instigate a comedic exodus from a dull-looking office, using their raised eyebrows to signal to colleagues that they should all go for lunch—a reminder of the months of debate over post-COVID workplace practices that really have seen workers refuse to return to their desks in favor of more flexible work lives.

The ad, set to 1985 track Oh Yeah by Yello, is also reminiscent of dance trends popularized by Tik Tok and other apps in which groups of people, often wearing ordinary clothes and in everyday settings, break into well-rehearsed coordinated dance moves.

A Twitter conversation between Tom Sussman, head of planning at the agency behind the Wright ad, Leo Burnett, and another advertising agency executive, also shone a light on the creative process behind the ad. Sussman explained that ethnographic research suggested the eyebrow raise as the starting point for the ad, and only later was that gesture linked to the McDonald’s logo, and the ultimate music choice.

Fans of Wright’s films have debated online whether he did well to accept a commission from a company that many associate with corporate America, industrial food production, and even obesity. But many others seem simply to be enjoying the sight of “ordinary” workers wielding the power of their brows to take collective action on… getting some lunch.

Research contact: @qz

Krispy Kreme doughnuts soon will be on the menu at select McDonald’s locations

November 2, 2022

McDonald’s certainly is known for testing new menu items at any given time of the year—but it’s rare to find the fast food chain testing out fare from an entirely different restaurant. However, clearly anything is possible because McDonald’s has just announced its plan to test Krispy Kreme doughnuts in select locations, reports Delish.

Yes, the hot-and-ready doughnuts are heading to a McDonald’s near you—that is if you live near one of nine restaurants in the Louisville, Kentucky, area.

During the test run, Krispy Kreme will provide three of its most popular doughnuts: Original Glazed Doughnut, Chocolate Iced with Sprinkles Doughnut, and Raspberry Filled Doughnut. The sweet treats, which can be purchased individually or as part of a six pack, will be delivered to participating restaurants fresh each day.

“McDonald’s is always looking for ways to give our fans more of what they crave, and we often conduct tests to inform future menu decisions,” reads a press release announcing the test. “This small-scale test will help us understand how offering new bakery items like Krispy Kreme could impact operations in our restaurants.”

Krispy Kreme doughnuts aren’t the only new addition McDonald’s is testing this year. In August, the fast food chain announced that it would be testing the Chicken Big Mac at select locations in Miami for a limited time.

Research contact: @Delish

Taco Bell is enlisting Pete Davidson to help apologize for its breakfast menu

October 5, 2022

Taco Bell is apologizing for its breakfast menu, CNN exclusively reports. In recent years, it has been littered with questionable foods, such as the Naked Egg Taco or even the Waffle Taco, both of which have since been discontinued.

Turns out, people just want the basics and the chain is finally accepting that. Now, the company is releasing a new ad campaign that includes with an apology of sorts for its past behavior, along with a promise that it won’t go that crazy again.

“We honestly over-innovated in breakfast,” admitted Sean Tresvant, Taco Bell’s chief brand officer, in an exclusive interview with CNN. “When you look at today’s consumer and the [fast food] breakfast business, it’s about familiarity and it’s about comfort.”

Taco Bell has been focusing on those two things. Since it was brought back last year after a brief pandemic-induced pause, its breakfast menu has been filled with unique items without going overboard compared to past creations.

Currently, the menu features breakfast-themed takes on its popular afternoon and evening foods, such as breakfast burritos, quesadillas, and crunchwraps—all stuffed with eggs, cheese, and meats.

As a result, breakfast sales have surpassed its 2019 sales levels, Tresvant said, adding that “slow and steady wins the race and in breakfast, you have to be consistent.” Breakfast makes up about 6% of its sales, the chain has previously said.

To help promote breakfast, Taco Bell has enlisted Pete Davidson, a comedian best known for a stint on “Saturday Night Live” that Tresvant said “probably took it a little bit too far sometimes,” similar to how the chain went a “little too far on breakfast.” Tresvant said it was a “great partnership” because Davidson is a fan of the chain and appeals to Taco Bell’s younger customer base.

Two 30-second TV ads featuring Davidson will be released this month and run until December 24. In one cheeky spot, Davidson walks into a Taco Bell says “Sometimes, we go too far. I have, and that’s why Taco Bell has hired me to make an apology for them.” The other ad shows Davidson waking up from a dream thinking about the chain’s breakfast.

Although Taco Bell isn’t making any changes to its breakfast menu, its competitors have adjusted their own. In recent weeks, Wendy’s has added french toast sticks; McDonald’s is selling a new cheese danish; and Tim Horton’s has a new waffle sandwich on its U.S. menus.

Bolstering breakfast is a smart business decision: A recent report from research firm NPD Group revealed that business for mornings has remained steady in the second quarter of 2022, while other parts of day (including lunch and dinner) have declined in the midst of rising menu prices.

According to new research from GlobalData, breakfast is also entering a resurgence because people are resuming their pre-pandemic routines of returning to the office.

“With such a large portion of the population regularly making a commute, it is unsurprising that breakfast sales have remained steady,” said Hannah Cleland, a food service analyst at GlobalData, in a recent note. “Consumer spending habits in response to the cost-of-living crisis have been nuanced, but it is clear that a small breakfast treat is still being incorporated into many people’s budgets.”

Research contact: @CNN

Beyond Meat stock falls following conclusion of the McDonald’s McPlant test

August  1, 2022

Shares of  Beyond Meat—the Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes—fell 6% in morning trading on Thursday, July 28, after J.P. Morgan revealed that  McDonald’s  had ended its U.S. test of the McPlant burger, which uses Beyond’s meatless patties, reports CNBC.

The fast-food giant confirmed to CNBC on Thursday that the McPlant test had concluded as planned. Neither McDonald’s nor Beyond Meat has announced any plans for additional testing or a nationwide launch.

 Indeed, Beyond’s stock has fallen 53% this year—dragging its market value down to $2.06 billion. Wall Street has become skeptical about the company’s long-term growth opportunities as grocery sales lag.

 Moreover, buzzy partnerships with restaurant giants like Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands and McDonald’s haven’t progressed to many permanent nationwide menu offerings yet.

 McDonald’s first tested the meat-free burger in eight restaurants in the United States in November to try to get an idea of how the menu item would impact its kitchens. In mid-February, it rolled the McPlant out to roughly 600 locations to learn more about consumer demand for the menu item.

 Analyst research reported lackluster demand for the Beyond burger. BTIG analyst Peter Saleh wrote in a June note that franchisees told him that McPlant sales were disappointing, coming in at or below the low end of projections.

 J.P. Morgan analyst Ken Goldman wrote in his note on Thursday that some McDonald’s restaurant employees told him that the burger didn’t sell well enough, potentially putting a nationwide launch in jeopardy.

“Consensus contemplates 21% growth for BYND’s total top line this year, followed by another 25% next year. These rates will not be easy to hit, in our view, without [McDonald’s] in the United States,” Goldman wrote.

 McDonald’s and Beyond  announced a three-year partnership in early 2021. The burger chain already has started selling McPlant burgers in some international markets, including Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. 

 In May, Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said that the McPlant is selling well in the U.K. and Austria.

 Beyond is expected to report its second-quarter earnings after the bell on August 4.

 Research contact: @CNBC

Stolen Olympic gold medal found in discarded McDonald’s bag

July 12, 2022

If you came across a fast food bag on the ground, you probably wouldn’t pick it up and look inside. But, if you were to check it out, you’d expect to find maybe some ketchup packets, a half-eaten burger, and some napkins. This was far from the case for a California woman decided to take a peek inside a McDonald’s bag she saw on the pavement outside of her Anaheim, California-based office, reports Delish.

Assuming the plastic bag was merely litter, the woman, 50-year-old Maria Carrillo, picked it up and was surprised by how heavy it was. When she opened the bag, she discovered a gold medal engraved with the words Games of the  XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020, according to The Washington Post.

A bit skeptical about the authenticity of the gold medal, she phoned her husband, Noe Hernandez, who works as a barber. “Noe has a friend who works for the police department, and it turned out he was coming in for a haircut,” Carrillo told the Post. “As soon as [the officer] saw it, he told my husband it was real and that it had been stolen.”

It turns out that the Olympic gold medal belonged to Jordyn Poulter, the starting setter of the 2020 U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team. Poulter and her teammates took home the gold at last year’s Summer Olympics after defeating Brazil. The athlete, who had been showing the medal to friends the day it was stolen, accidentally left the medal in her car, which she forgot to lock.

“I’d forgotten to take it out of the car,” Poulter said. “When I saw it had been stolen, I felt instant regret. I also felt stupid for not locking the door. I thought my medal was long gone, I made peace with the fact that I’d probably never see it again.”

The Olympic gold medal has since been returned to Poulter, who says she’s “happy to have it back” and plans to send the medal to her parents for safekeeping.

Research contact: @DelishDotCom

Number of job postings requiring COVID-19 vaccination has nearly doubled since early July

August 16, 2021

Vaccination is increasingly a requirement to be hired, as employers ranging from accounting and software firms to schools and restaurants are asking applicants to get themselves inoculated against COVID-19, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The share of job postings stating that a new hire must be vaccinated has nearly doubled in the past month, according to the job search site Indeed.

The total number remains low, roughly 1,200 postings requiring a vaccination per million in the first week of August. But that is well up from about 600 in early July, and about 50 per million job postings in early February.

Many of the postings don’t explicitly name COVID-19 as the virus for which the vaccination is needed, said Indeed economist AnnElizabeth Konkel, who wrote the report, but broader context of the job descriptions suggested most employers were referring to the coronavirus vaccine, as opposed to other shots.

Early this year, before COVID-19 vaccines were widely available in the United States, very few job postings outside of healthcare positions indicated a vaccination requirement, she said.

“While the number of postings requiring a vaccine is still low, it’s a trend that’s really taking off,” Konkel told the Journal. “I think a growing number of employers are trying to keep workers safe and do not want to shut down again this winter….They see vaccines as the way out of this pandemic.”

The increased number of job postings requiring vaccination comes at a time when the number of coronavirus cases is surging because of the fast-spreading Delta variant. Employers ranging from the federal government and State of California to McDonald’s and Walt Disney are saying that at least some of their workers must soon be vaccinated against COVID-19 to report to worksites—or, in some cases, face frequent testing or other requirements.

Consumer sentiment in the United States soured early this month as Americans grew more worried about the spread of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, according to a University of Michigan survey released on Friday, August 13.

The university’s index of consumer sentiment fell sharply to 70.2 in the first half of August—down from 81.2 in July. Consumers reasoned that the economy’s performance would weaken in coming months, said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist, adding, “the extraordinary surge in negative economic assessments also reflects an emotional response, mainly from dashed hopes that the pandemic would soon end.”

As evidence, the share of job postings, per million, in the education sector that required a vaccination rose to 2,166 in July from 33 in February, according to Indeed. In food service, the rate per million rose to 814 in July from 43 in February. The rate per million for accounting rose to 1,184 from 39, and in software development the rate increased to 438 from four.

Konkel told the Journal that there is no evidence in Indeed data that job searchers are looking specifically for positions that require or don’t require vaccinations. She said some job postings mention that the existing staff have been vaccinated or that the company is offering a small bonus to workers willing to be vaccinated.

“The labor market is tight enough that there will likely be employers who are willing to overlook vaccination status,” she said.

Research contact: @WSJ

Bulletin to stress eaters: Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s offer free ‘noshes’ on Election Day

November 4, 2020

More than 90 million Americans voted early or by mail this year. But, with the U.S. presidential election on track to have the highest voter turnout since William Howard Taft was elected in 1908 with a 65% turnout, that still leaves over 100 million who should be hitting the polls on November 3.

And for most Americans—whether they are going to the polls or watching the results vigilantly—that could mean a very stressful Election Day. However, Business Insider reports, help is on the way.

If stress eating is your thing, several food chains are offering freebies that will take away the pain—among them:

  • Krispy Kreme is giving customers free doughnuts. The chain also is handing out “I Voted” stickers, in case customers voted early or by mail.
  • McDonald’s is offering a free Apple Fritter, Blueberry Muffin, or Cinnamon Roll with the purchase of coffees starting on Election Day. The “post-Halloween” deal will last from November 3 through November 9.
  • Boston Market is giving away free sliders from 9 p.m. until close nationwide, with no additional purchase necessary. The chain launched its new late night menu in October.
  • McAlister’s Deli is doing a buy-one-get-one-free sandwich deal to celebrate National Sandwich Day, which also falls on November 3. Customers need to sign up for the chain’s rewards program to access the deal.
  • Chili’s $5 Presidente Margarita deal is ending on Election Day. Customers can use the hashtag #PresidenteForPrez for a chance to win free Chili’s for a year.

Taking advantage of one or more of these offers could give Americans something to “chew on,” besides the election results.

Research contact: @businessinsider

Starbucks does ‘plastic surgery’ to create environmentally friendly coffee cups

March 10, 2020

Starbucks has created a “greener” coffee cup by inserting a liner made out of biodegradable materials, rather than continuing to rely on the thin plastic liners added to most paper cups to keep liquids from seeping through.

Starting on Monday, March 9,, a new BioPBS-lined cup will be tested in select stores in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and London.

The company said in a press release that it is evaluating the new liners because the plastic in its cups has been difficult to separate from other components during the  recycling process.

Starbucks executives said they would ask baristas and customers whether the new cup keeps drinks hot and avoids leaks. They hope customers won’t notice any difference from the current cups.

While the company characterizes the new design as an “exciting step forward,” Starbucks will continue to evaluate additional NextGen Cup Challenge-winning concepts and cup technologies, as well as learn from other reusable and recyclable innovations to find the most sustainable solutions for its business, partners (employees) and customers.

Starbucks is one of many consumer companies working to address customer concerns that they generate too much waste. Public awareness over the environmental risks posed by plastic waste is at the highest level ever, according to a McKinsey & Co. report released last year.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s has pledged to procure much of its nonplastic packaging from recycled or sustainable sources by this year. What’s more, Yum Brands. last month said it would make all packaging at its Taco Bell division sustainable by 2025.

Starbucks and McDonald’s in 2018 committed $10 million to a partnership among consumer companies working to develop more sustainable cups. Starbucks also started its own internal research and set 2022 as a goal for a new cup for hot drinks


VaResearch contact: @Starbucks

You want fries with that? McDonald’s aims to personalize drive-thru menu boards

March 27, 2019

Chicago-based fast-food monolith McDonald’s announced on March 25 that, in its largest acquisition in 20 years, it will spend $300 million to acquire the Israeli company Dynamic Yield—a leader in personalization and decision logic technology, according to a report by Bloomberg.

With the new technology, McDonald’s envisions that it can change up the food it offers on its electronic menu boards, depending on factors such as the weather–coffee on cold days and McFlurries on hot days, for example—or the time of day, current restaurant traffic, trending items, or regional preferences.

What’s more, the menus will be able to instantly suggest and display additional items for a customer’s order based on his or her current selections.

“This will enable McDonald’s to be one of the first companies to integrate decision technology into the customer point-of-sale at a brick and mortar location,” the fast food chain stated in a press release.

McDonald’s tested this technology in several U.S. restaurants in 2018. Upon closing of the acquisition, McDonald’s will begin to roll it out at the chain’s drive-thru at restaurants in the United States in 2019; and then expand it to other top global markets.

McDonald’s also will begin work to integrate the technology into all of its digital customer experience touchpoints, such as self-order kiosks and McDonald’s Global Mobile App.    

“Technology is a critical element of our Velocity Growth Plan, enhancing the experience for our customers by providing greater convenience on their terms,” said McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook, adding, “With this acquisition, we’re expanding both our ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future and the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalized experiences for our customers.”

Upon closing, McDonald’s will become sole owner; and will continue to invest in Dynamic Yield’s core personalization product and world-class teams. Dynamic Yield will remain a stand-alone company and employees will continue to operate out of offices around the world. Dynamic Yield also will continue to serve current clients and attract future prospects.

Research contact: @McDonald’s