McDonald's Unveils 'Gourmet' Plan as Sales Drop

Company's sales fall 4.5% domestically
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2014 5:10 PM CST
McDonald's Reveals Low Sales, New Plan
Ronald McDonald throws out the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Wall Street gave McDonald's a little kick today after the global fast-food giant posted some of its worst numbers in over a decade, USA Today reports. The problem, oddly, may be that its food is too fast. First, the numbers: The company's November sales fell by 4.5% domestically and 2.2% globally at stores in business for at least 13 months, prompting its stock to sink almost 4% today. The domestic fall is its worst in same-store sales in more than 10 years; the global slide is worse than the 1.7% analysts expected. Now, the food: The tumble comes a day after McDonald's announced a plan to widen its program to customize burgers, which currently exists at just four Southern California locations.

By next year, customers at 2,000 US locations should be able to choose higher-quality burgers at "tablet-like kiosks" and add gourmet toppings like grilled vegetables, eggs, and smoked bacon—all part of an attempt to attract younger customers who like customizing their meals at places like Five Guys, Panera, and Chipotle, Entrepreneur and the Financial Post report. But the cost with a drink and fries will rise to about $8.29, and such burgers take longer to cook, making them impractical at drive-thrus, where McDonald's conducts up to 70% of its sales. All of this puts "intense pressure" on CEO Don Thompson to "right the ship," reports USA Today. "We haven’t been changing at the same rate as our customers’ eating-out expectations," says Thompson. (More McDonald's stories.)

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