‘Our Menu Is Very Darwinian.’ Leading McDonald’s in 2021.

Any of the topics that are going on today from a social standpoint — inequality issues, education issues, opioids, etc. — we are asked to...


Any of the topics that are going on today from a social standpoint — inequality issues, education issues, opioids, etc. — we are asked to opine on all of them. One of the things that I’ve had to think about is, where do we speak up on an issue, and where do we not speak up? The way we’ve looked at it is: Is it either directly in our industry — which is an obvious one that we would comment on — or does it go specifically to the pillars that we’ve said are going to matter to us? So we’ve talked about jobs and opportunity. We’ve talked about helping communities in crisis. We’ve talked about planet. And we’ve talked about supporting local farmers and ranchers. Those are the areas that we’ve said are specific to our business where we feel like we’ve got a role to play. If it’s outside of that, then there has to be a really good reason that us saying something can also be part of the solution. And in the case of voting rights, it wasn’t our business. It wasn’t aligned with one of our leadership platforms. And we didn’t feel like our voice was going to be particularly helpful to addressing the issues.

When a lot of people think about McDonald’s, the image is unhealthy fast food. To put it plainly, why doesn’t McDonald’s serve more healthy food?

Our menu is very Darwinian. We will put on the menu what our customers are looking to buy. We do have healthier choice options on the menu. And we have more indulgent choices on the menu. Ultimately, we leave it to the customer to make those choices.

I do feel strongly that we need to be 100 percent transparent on nutritional information. And we do try to do things, for example, particularly as it relates to marketing to kids, to promote healthier choices. We do try to nudge from a little behavioral economics standpoint to better-for-you choices. But ultimately we do leave it to the customer.

One area we are making an investment is plant-based. Plant-based is inherently a more costly product today than a conventional protein — chicken, beef, etc. We’ve made it a focus to make sure that we parity-price all of those things. We don’t see someone choosing to go with a hamburger versus a plant-based burger because of price.

I have many friends who will say, “Well, you’re just not moving fast enough. Just change out the menu tomorrow and leave people with these choices. That’s how you’re going to get there.” Well, the reality is that’s not going to force people to make the right choices. That’s just going to drive them to go in a different direction. They’re just not going to come to your restaurant. They’re going to go somewhere else. These things have to be done also at the pace that a customer is willing to be nudged. Just radically making these decisions and saying, “Well, now these are your options. Take it or leave it,” is not how we as consumers are conditioned. We live now in a world of infinite choices.

What kinds of jobs do you see being phased out and replaced by automation? Is it going to go beyond the order-taking and get into the back of the house as well?

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Newsrust - US Top News: ‘Our Menu Is Very Darwinian.’ Leading McDonald’s in 2021.
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