McDonald's on Wednesday announced that it closed 350 restaurants in the first three months of 2015, bringing the total planned closings for the year to 700. Despite the closings, which are only a sliver of McDonald’s vast global market, the fast-food giant is doing more than just cutting dead weight as it looks ahead to recover from the declining profitability of its brand.
Customers’ changing eating habits, clearly shown in the success of so-called fast-casual restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, as well as a growing concern for where food comes from have played a big part in the brand's erosion.
McDonald’s product isn’t the problem; it’s how customers perceive the Golden Arches. The brand has become synonymous with unhealthy eating habits and horrifying factory farms.
To address the situation the company has begun phasing out the use of antibiotics used in human medicine on its poultry farms, raised employees' wages (only in non-franchised restaurants) and has started to test an all-day breakfast menu.
As McDonald’s tries to regain lost ground in the fast-food sector, the question that the company needs to answer is how is it going to keep the brand fresh in an increasingly saturated market?
With a brand like McDonald’s the revitalization process is going to take time, but staying open and transparent about the changes being made will keep the brand on the stairway back to burger heaven.