Not So Golden Arches?

Over 1 billion sold? The restaurant establishment known to some as the “golden arches” has posted another loss for the once thriving fast food chain. Does this mean Ronald McDonald will be at the local welfare office looking for his unemployment check?

McDonald’s has been a staple of many Americans for as long as we can remember. According to an article by Leslie Patton, McDonald’s posted a 3.7 percent drop in sales in August. Some of the causes include declining sales in America as well as a scare involving a Chinese supplier. 

(Image courtesy of mcdonalds.com)

McDonald’s restaurants have been facing some stiff competition from many of their competitors who copy their model on the value menu, offering unique menu items, and even extending limited offers for longer. The health phenomenon might be one of the more important issues at large, though; especially coming from an America where healthy is being stressed and considered more and more. Sales in Russia have slumped due to politics as well as sanitation issues with stores (Patton, 2014).

McDonald’s hasn’t been lying dormant. They’ve tried to fight back with healthier menu options such as salads, yogurt parfaits, apple slices, or many other alternatives to their burgers and fries. So why hasn’t this worked to help turn sales around in an economy that works late hours and feels they don’t have time to make food when they get home? 

That question is the very one McDonald’s has been trying to answer. With documentaries like Morgan Sperlock’s “Super Size Me” giving bad publicity to the health of McDonald’s food, the fast food super-giant has a lot to worry about. Yet, they keep trying to appease the customers by offering things we all say we want.

One of the complaints I’ve heard from people who say they don’t eat there is that the food doesn’t look like what’s advertised.

(Image courtesy of alphaila.com)

In addition to appearance, costs have gone up. Value meals aren’t such a value anymore when one costs nearly as much as a burger and fries at a regular restaurant. Even a revamp of Ronald and their stores haven’t helped McDonald’s (Patton, 2014).

Even with all the bad press, there are people who are trying to help the fast food establishment. A science high school teacher in Iowa has eaten McDonald’s for six months and actually lost 56 pounds. So this begs the question whether McDonald’s really can be healthy. After all, everything can be bad for you in large amounts.

So what can McDonald’s do to help their slumping sales? That’s an enigma they are trying to solve, but they aren’t for lack of trying with their brand re-positioning and advertising. 

Do the readers of this blog eat McDonald’s ever? Why or why not? What does everyone think they can do or are they doomed in our new “health conscious” society?

Sources:

Patton, L. (2014, September 9). McDonald’s Monthly Sales Slump Worst Since 2003. Retrieved September 9, 2014, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-09/mcdonald-s-august-sales-slump-as-u-s-declines-for-fourth-month.html

Pawlowski, A. (2014, March 7). Man loses 56 pounds after eating only McDonald’s for six months. Retrieved September 9, 2014, from man-loses-56-pounds-after-eating-only-mcdonalds-six-months-2D79329158

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7 thoughts on “Not So Golden Arches?

  1. I used to eat at McDonalds once in a while as a child, but stopped eating at McDonalds in junior high. Sure I miss the M&m McFlurry and I have fond memories with family and friends, going for something quick on a road trip or something. You’re right that the health initiative America has been trying to encourage for over a decade really is impacting McDonalds. But I think you are more spot on about the competition being better and the prices being higher. McDonalds was a place to get a cheap sinful meal, but there’s no magic anymore. Maybe we’re finally reaching the end of McDonalds. They need to look at their old campaigns, reconnect with their original voice, rethink how they allocate their budget, and reinvest in quality (in food, drink, toys, happy meal boxes, and above all cleanliness of their stores and who they hire). They need a refresh of their image for sure, but they need a refresh, a cleansing of their restaurants, and maybe…they should stop having more restaurants and just work with what they have.

    I really don’t know what’s in their future, but trying to be something they are not is not working.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Stephanie,

      Thanks for the response! I think that McDonald’s has done what they can to tailor their message and show healthier options at their stores as well as refresh their image (this was done recently). I think American’s have such a stigma about fast food that they just want to automatically reject it. I find it ironic because if you look at the calories of many restaurant meals, they are just as caloric or sometimes more.

      With that said, competition is definitely putting a damper on their sales. I personally feel that even if they went back to their roots such as their “The closest thing to home” campaign, they’ll still be shunned. You may also be spot on, who knows?

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is such a strong point. Restaurant portions, calories, and ingredient shortcuts to make food tastier are just as unhealthy for us. Hard to tell the difference between fast food and restaurants in America.

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  2. I too used to be a supporter of McDonalds as a child but as I grew up and learned more of the health effects I have been turned off by it. McDonalds apparently is loosing speed especially with the millenial generation. Not only is it unhealthy and and as an organization, partakes in shady international dealings but I also believe it has to do with psychological factors. I don’t think that McDonalds is a place to eat that is considered chic or hip anymore and the advertisement and marketing campaigns do not help its case. If anything it is targeted towards younger children. I am interested to see where McDonalds will be headed in the future.

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    • Great reply Bree!

      I think you could be onto something with image of it not being chic or hip. Like I replied to Stephanie above, even foods at other chic places like Chipotle, Starbucks, etc aren’t really any better when one looks at calories or fat content.

      It does seem to be targeted more toward families and kids. I think you’re right there. Singles and millennials just aren’t into McD’s anymore. I do think it’s dangerous to think that any restaurants are any better though when it comes to health. Look at the bloomin’ onion from Outback as just a single example of proof, yet people go to restaurants and they don’t get the backlash that McDonald’s does.

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  3. A high school science teacher lost nearly 60 pounds eating McDonald’s for 6 months??! I find that hard to believe. I would love to look into this further.

    Being a health nut for the past few years, I do not think I would ever eat McDonald’s sober. Unfortunately for McDonald’s, sales are decreasing. It will be interesting to see where they are 10 years from now, but didn’t they see this coming? It is about that time where generations are transitioning and health awareness is becoming even more commonly looked under a microscope. If McDonald’s wants their sales to ever increase, they are going to have to make a drastic change. I wish them the best of luck on that.

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  4. You’d be surprised to know that a plain hamburger from McDonald’s is only approximately 300 calories. The fast food chain has spent millions on changing perceptions about the relative healthiness off its food. Many now believe that while McDonald’s might have unhealthy options on its menu, the fast food chain has healthy options too. And they’re right, McDonald’s does include healthier options now. The problem with their sales decline, though, is due to the quality of their product. They serve really terribly processed, not-fresh food that isn’t natural in the slightest. Even the best advertising campaigns cannot fix a problem with the actual product.

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