McDonald’s looks to pared-back UK menu to arrest global sales decline

McDonald’s is looking to the menu innovations in its relatively successful UK market to help revive flagging sales globally.

Speaking on a call with investors yesterday, CEO Don Thompson said the restaurant will drop six Extra Value Meals and eight lower-selling menu items in the US next month, using its London restaurants, which feature smaller menus with a focus on core products, as a template.

“We need to get the core menu back to a size where the customer can quickly understand their order,” Thompson said, speaking along with Mike Andres, president of McDonald’s US.

Andres said the restaurant is looking to focus on “core burgers and core breakfasts”, having seen no degradation in sales after testing the reduction of menu items.

“80% of our sales come from a small subset of the menu,” Andres says.

McDonald’s latest quarter results showed that total group sales had declined by 5% year-on-year to $6.99bn, while global comps had declined by 3.3%. The results did not strip out UK sales data.

The restaurant is also looking to expand “Create Your Taste” to new markets, a tool that lets customers select their own toppings and ingredients to build their own burgers through a touchscreen. Andres says the tool will be in three markets by the third quarter of 2015.

As part of the focus on core menu items, the restaurant is also looking to reduce the number of ingredients in its products.

“We want the things you find in your pantry to go into our food,” Thompson says.

He also reiterated that the restaurant is looking to offer different types of service to customers through table service and mobile ordering options. Last month, the restaurant announced the launch of a mobile app worldwide that will offer promotions and payments in order to enhance the customer experience.

McDonald’s also hosted its first “hackathon” in London last month, tasking participants to “build the restaurant experience for the next generation”.

The company also sees opportunity for franchise growth in markets such as the UK, where 81% of restaurants are franchised compared to 89% in the US.

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