McDonald's Franchisees No Longer Loving It

Menu changes are increasing lines and expenses for restaurant owners
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2015 7:20 PM CDT

(Newser) Kale, McGriddles, yogurt parfaits, antibiotic-free chicken, a sexy Hamburglar. McDonald's has tried all these and more in recent years to shore up lackluster sales. But not only have these attempts largely failed, they're beginning to alienate the company's 5,000 franchisees, whose restaurants bring in one-third of the fast-food giant's profits, Bloomberg reports in a fascinating story. The article introduces Al Jarvis, who sold his two McDonald's restaurants last November just shy of 50 years with the company. He says too many new menu items—such as "foo-foo" McCafe lattes—are slowing service, watering down what he thought McDonald's was about. "That’s not our niche," he tells Bloomberg. "We make burgers and fries.”

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McDonald's menus have ballooned to more than 100 items, Bloomberg reports. Correspondingly, service times in 2013 were the slowest since at least 1998. Jarvis says company guidelines allot 90 seconds per customer, but things like McWraps take closer to three minutes. New menu items also mean new expenses for franchisees. The introduction of the "foo-foo" McCafes required espresso machines costing up to $20,000. And this month's announcement of all-day breakfast could cost franchisees up to $5,000 in new equipment. One expert tells Bloomberg by trying to compete with non-burger chains like Starbucks and Jamba Juice, McDonald's is failing to be the best at anything. Read the full story here. (Read more McDonald's stories.)

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