McDonald’s has new angle on families at MK test-bed
7 December, 2011
McDonald’s UK chief executive Jill McDonald has fresh plans to consolidate the chain’s popularity among families, she reveals in a profile in the Independent.
The company is currently trialling new offers for families at a testbed restaurant in Milton Keynes, under the internal working title of ‘Spirit of Family’. They include an in-built play area with iPad stations, plus a flatscreen TV displaying interactive magic tricks—and they could soon be used elsewhere. “We would probably look to take elements of it and use them in other restaurants that have a high proportion of family customers.”
The Independent credits McDonald for continuing the startling turnaround of McDonald’s since 2006, when it was mired in controversies including criticism in the Super Size Me film. But it has now increased its sales in the UK for 22 quarters in a row, and grew by around 5.5% in October alone. Its 1,196 restaurants are now serving more than 2.5 million people a day.
Interestingly, it is also getting 15 applicants for every job it advertises, something McDonald thinks is a sign of the difficulties young people face. “For young people today… it is pretty bleak. If I was the government I would be focusing on getting young unemployed people back into work by continuing to invest in apprenticeship programmes and ensuring that those programmes are focused on the young as well as on slightly more mature workers.”
McDonald says there is also huge interest in taking on a McDonald’s franchise. “We are inundated and would have 5,000 applicants for one position—it’s that sort of scale of interest.” Franchisees pay a one-off fee of £30,000 and a £5,000 training course fee, as well as the costs of running a restaurant.
She also defends McDonald’s role in combating obesity problems in the UK. “Putting our role in context, out of the 90-plus meals that someone will eat in a month, only two or three will be a McDonald’s.”
To read the profile in full, see Jill McDonald: Supersizing McDonald’s—Britain’s big cheese.