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Five Ways McDonald's Could Appeal to Millennials, According to Millennials

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Survey says less burgers, more burritos.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

McDonald's just doesn't get millennials, no matter how hard it tries. (No one wants to pay with selfies and a "hipper" Ronald McDonald would probably never wear yellow cargo pants.) The chain claims that it will no longer focus on millennials as part of its massive restructuring, but just a month after making the announcement, the chain launched filters for Snapchat, a social media app especially popular among the millennial set.

While McDonald's is willing to put lots of time and effort into weird stunts to woo millennials, it seems to have forgotten one thing — asking millennials what they actually want. However, brand strategy agency Y Pulse recently did just that and surveyed 1000 people ages 13 to 32 year-olds about what they want McDonald's to improve on. Turns out millennials want just five things:

1. Better quality food
For many millennials, the McDonald's brand is linked to obesity and unhealthy eating. The chain would need to overhaul its image, and while the restaurant is trying, so far no one really believes them. Most importantly, millennials want the chain to have more "transparency around the ingredients and food preparation," and to get rid of artificial and processed products. McDonald's recently announced that it would stop using chickens and eggs treated with human antibiotics but millennials want more.

2. Better atmosphere
Millennials also have an issue with the quality and appearance of the company's restaurant dining rooms, saying that the chain lacks cleanliness and it has a boring, "typical" ambiance. One 22-year-old male surveyed noted: "The environment of the restaurant still feels like the typical fast food restaurant.  Make it feel less like I'm eating at McDonald's and I'd go."

3. Fewer calories
McDonald's doesn't seem healthy to millennials, even though calorically the food may be lighter than a meal at Chipotle. Many of the people surveyed were extremely concerned with sodium levels and felt that McDonald's used far too much salt in its food.

4. Burritos or bust
Perhaps McDonald's biggest problem is that millennials apparently prefer burritos to burgers, the food in which McDonald's specializes. Y Pulse writes, "some of these young consumers just don't want to eat burgers anymore. Several mentioned craving burritos over burgers." However, the chain's chorizo-less chorizo burritos don't seem to be satisfying the teenaged crowd.

5. More variety
Millennials say that McDonald's needs some new menu items to keep things from getting boring: "They would have to get healthier options and get some new menu items. I've eaten chicken nuggets and french fries from there forever." They also want more customization options — such as being able to add avocado to a sandwich — something McDonald's has been working on for a while now, and something that franchise owners hate.

Video: Why McDonald's Might Be on the Brink of Failure

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