McDonald's to pare U.S. menus, ingredient lists

McDonald's Corp said on Wednesday it plans to cut the number of items on its U.S. menus and use fewer ingredients in food as it moves to speed up service, bolster sales and offer consumers personalized options to compete better with Subway and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Mike Andres, the company's U.S. president, said starting in January menus will have eight fewer food items and five fewer Extra Value Meals.

The world's biggest fast-food chain, which has not had a monthly gain in sales at established U.S. restaurants since October 2013, is also making the changes to reach out to consumers who are demanding simpler, more natural food choices.

The company is testing its slimmed-down menus in six markets, including Bakersfield, California, and Knoxville, Tennessee, a spokeswoman said.

The simplified menu boards will offer one Quarter Pounder with Cheese hamburger as compared with four on the regular menu, one Premium Chicken sandwich versus three, and one Snack Wrap versus three.

Andres said McDonald's is not finished tweaking menus.

"There's more to come," Andres said on a conference call with investors. "We don't need to have a big menu board to offer variety."

The menu changes come as McDonald's plans to roll out its new "Create Your Taste" sandwich program to 2,000 of its 14,000-plus U.S. restaurants by the end of 2015.

McDonald's is hoping that giving customers a choice of sandwich toppings will enable it to better compete with Subway and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, popular restaurants that allow diners to build their meals ingredient-by-ingredient.

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