The global sales decline of 3.7% shocked Wall Street. Here is that grim analysis of McDonald's by Julie Jargon at The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)
Obviously, just like other stumbling icons, McDonald's needs to go radical in how it's positioned out there. Yeah, you got it, the brand is long in the tooth. Millennials and Generation Z ignore it. For them, it isn't even worth a rant.
One experiment is to try out mindful eating, that is Slow Food. Sure, service can remain speedy. Prices should remain low. But the shift is to eating as a a real-time experience that opens us. Fast food had shut us down, reducing awareness (i.e. angst) by quickly stuffing ourselves.
Slow food can return McDonald's as a hang-out. The decor will be refurbished to create slowed-down reflective moods. Fewer circus colors (yeah, the clown has to go) and more earth tones. On my one-week relocation journey from the Northeast Corridor to the Southwest, I ate at slow-food restaurants. Some were operated by faith-based groups. Instead of eating as a high caloric tranquilizer it was eating as shot at enlightenment. Those meals provided the platform for a whole new approach to running my business here in Arizona.
If McDonald's can capture the ethos of mindfulness and standardize it for U.S. markets it could succeed beyond any security analyst's expectations. After all, Generation Z prefers to spend money on the concrete immediate pleasure of eating versus abstract long-term investments like higher education. Here is the article I published on this group who will be the largest generation in American history.