Monday, March 17, 2014

1305 McDuh

McDonald’s is going through some shrinking pains. Figures were down more than expected in February.  

Naturally, they had explanations or excuses.  The CEO put out a paragraph or two about how “customer centric” the company is and how they keep tweaking the menu and all such blah blah.

If you want to learn the real reasons for the downturn first hand, visit one of their stores.  Try for a remodeled one.  They’ve been redecorating at a mad pace lately and stepping into a remodel will give them the benefit of the doubt.

But that won’t last.

First, the lines are slower than ever now that they’ve doubled the drive through lines without adding significant staff.  

The menu has become so complicated, you no longer can order “burger fries and coffee.”  Well, you can.  But most of us don’t.  And even if you do, you’ll get the coffee dance.  Do you want cream?  Do you want sugar? Do you want a large, medium or small?  Do you want just plain coffee or decaf or one of their two dozen imitations of Starbucks?

Slow.  Painfully slow.

Everyone behind the counter runs.  That’s motion but not action.

Enough times to notice, the order comes out wrong.  More often than not, the order comes out luke warm to stone cold.

Use the menu, you need speed reading.  And very good eyes.  Of course, it’s not all their fault.  They have posted calorie counts that take up space.  Earth to McDonalds and all the municipalities that require lab results on menus:  Almost no one who eats there gives a whit about calories, fat, carbs, cholesterol, fiber, vitamins or any of the other stuff on food labels.

The latest line slowing tactic: “Build your own burger.”  You think you wait forever now? Wait until you get a family of four ahead of you.

You want health food?  Go to a health food burger joint if you can find one.

You want calorie counts?  Give people on line the autopsy reports and let them read them on their iPads and smartphones to pass the time while they wait for their so-called fast food.

The February downturn wasn’t all that bad.  It just didn’t meet Wall Street expectations, which often are based on … um … nothing.

And what about that “customer centric” thing.  A bunch of Korean Americans in Queens -- old people -- have “reached an agreement” with the local McD franchise owner.  They have been made to promise that they won’t sit around the place during lunch hour and hog tables after buying only coffee.

And the “restaurant” has posted signs in Korean, Chinese and English outlining the policy.  A local assemblyman, Ron Kim (D-Flushing -- shocking isn’t it?) intervened on behalf of the residents who have agreed to visit a senior center for their lunchtime get togethers.

How customer centric is THAT?

Shrapnel:

--Lower screen television graphic from Fox News: “Longest Spelling Be Ever?”  Spelling “be?” What are they hiring over on Sixth Avenue?

--Sometimes it’s tough to get those on-screen graphics right.  The most common times are when the spelling of a name isn’t well known, as Osama bin Laden wasn’t, for example, in late 2011. But graphic artists and the people who love them have to learn spell check has limits.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2014

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