In the thriving era of “fresh and organic,” can a mega – chain like McDonald’s survive?
McDonald’s said Thursday that it will replace frozen beef patties for fresh ones in its Quarter Pounder burgers by the middle of 2018 at most of its U.S. locations. That statement immediately struck me as odd, for a multitude of reasons. The most obvious being the other, oh I don’t know, 20 burgers on the menu?! How you just gon’ put fresh meat on one burger Craig?
Assessing factors like, food safety, pay rates and employee retention are very important. Mainly because these points have the potential to affect a companies bottom line. The rigidity of these factors lead to my next point — Why Fast Food Restaurant Chains like McDonald’s, Can’t Change.
The chain has stated that their burgers will “no longer taste like they just came from the freezer box.” But if you are only changing the meat on one burger, won’t the rest of your burgers still taste like trash? May (2017) of this year, the mega-chain began working with a few small test markets. Serving up fresh, grilled beef at 14 restaurants in the DFW area and 75 outlets in Tulsa.
“No longer will McDonald’s (MCD) burgers taste like they just came from the freezer box.” – McDonald’s
The article also eludes to something much larger than the freshness of McDonald’s beef. Something that in my opinion confirms why fast food restaurant chains like McDonald’s, can’t change. The employees.
Most fast food chains, like McDonald’s have a stigma, when it comes to employment. They’re known for hiring single moms and students for $8.00 – $10.00 per hour, depending on position. Though, I’ve never worked at a fast food chain, I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories from family and friends. The news media doesn’t help either. I cringe every time I see a bag of cold fries tossed back into a drive-thru window, or worse, a fight in the restaurant’s main lobby.
Employees hired at these places aren’t looking to work at a “farm-to table” restaurant. Hell, who has time to worry about the temperature of meat, when there’s a homeless man wielding a corkscrew fashioned as a shank at you from across the counter?
The article references another vary valid point — food safety. Should employees of fast food chains be responsible for properly cooking fresh beef? Is that part of their training? uh, no. When you factor in the cost of training millions of employees on food safety, the cost of fresh beef, and the immediate need for more “skilled workers,” it’s no reason why fast food restaurant chains like McDonald’s, can’t change. They’ve built a culture around “mediocre” offerings, in an evolving fresh food market.
Unless these mega-chains have the money to hire and train new employees, this whole “fresh beef” concept isn’t going to cut it. Luckily, McDonald’s has the money! As the 90th-largest economy in the world raking in $24 billion in revenue and $32 billion from franchise revenue, they can put fresh beef in all their burgers, fix that damn ice cream machine AND figure out a way to keep my fries hot until I get home!