McDonald's expands custom sandwich option

The future of McDonald's fast food may be slowing it down.

Responding to declining same-store sales, falling stock prices and a shrinking base of younger customers, the world's largest fast-food chain will announce plans to vastly expand its "Create Your Taste" test platform.

Create Your Taste lets customers skip the counter and head to tablet-like kiosks where they can customize everything about their burger, from the type of bun to the variety of cheese to the many, gloppy toppings and sauces that can go on it.

"This is a big deal," says Greg Watson, senior vice president of U.S. menu innovation; the senior executive in charge of what is arguably McDonald's most significant menu change since the roll out of breakfast more than 40 years ago. "We are all under some pressure that is coming from the business picture not being where we want it to be."

What has until now been a tiny test in four Southern California stores is immediately expanding to 30 locations in five more states and in 2015 to 2,000 U.S. locations, or about one in seven of the 14,000 domestic McDonald's restaurants, says Watson. The five additional states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

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