Breaking: people do not go to McDonald's to eat salads. Not even healthy people. Or at least one ex-Marine who "who jogs regularly and swears off soft drinks" told the Wall Street Journal that he orders cheeseburgers at the fast food chain: "If I specifically wanted a salad I'd go to Panera."
Most people, it seems, order cheeseburgers at McDonald's. The WSJ takes a look at the fast food chain's sluggish recent growth and finds that they've "gone about as far as they can with their menu," according to one analyst. In fact, back in May CEO Don Thompson told Bloomberg salads only make up 2-3% of sales and that McDonald's would be refocusing on classic hits like burgers.
After McDonald's became the poster child for America's Fast Food Problem with films like Supersize Me, the chain decided to health up its image with the aforementioned salads, apples in Happy Meals, and other nods to a more health-conscious clientele. But it doesn't seem to be working. In October, McDonald's reported its "first drop in monthly same-store sales in nine years." The company's August report showed only a .2% growth in comparable sales (thanks to their Monopoly promotion, not actual food). They haven't had a hit new menu item since 2003's McGriddle. Ouch.
Meanwhile, chains like Wendy's and Taco Bell are boosting sales with decidedly unhealthy fare like the massively popular Doritos Locos tacos. (Although Taco Bell has announced plans to "get healthy" as well.) Perhaps McDonald's is starting to wise up to customer cravings? According to the WSJ, they've already dropped a fruit salad from the menu because, as one franchisee told them, "We were throwing away more than we were selling." So what's the next move for the chain? Indoctrinating kids to eat their healthy, apple-slice ridden Happy Meals whether they like it or not by giving away books on healthy eating. Obviously.
· At McDonald's, Salads Just Don't Sell [WSJ]
· All McDonald's Coverage on Eater [-E-]