Today's Chicago Tribune has a clueless editorial about millennials and McDonald's. It has a lot of nonsense about wanting customizable fast food (like they like customizable music). Or how McDonald's reinvested itself my not selling shitty coffee.
But this part is pretty good…except that last sentence.
Some of the biggest challenges for McDonald's are connected to its size: It has about 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. serving 27 million customers a day. So room to grow by expansion is limited, and everything it does must be on an enormous scale. It's also a lightning rod for industry controversy, whether it's the obesity issue or environmental concerns. In short, McDonald's isn't trendy.
Yes. McDonald's isn't trendy. It has never been trendy. For decades was the only game in town. It's biggest competitors all sold hamburgers. In the 90s, Arby's build whole ad campaigns around the fact they didn't sell hamburgers.
Now McDonald's has reached peak hamburger. They have no place to go. A ton of options means no more lock in. Chipotle, Panera Bread and Noodles & Co offer food that is demonstrably different. At Five Guys you can see the cook meat on a real grill with real fire. After decades of hiding the "cooking" process in the back, an open kitchen seems revolutionary.