Steve Easterbrook, chief executive of McDonald’s, talks about the improvements the fast food chain has made over the last 13 months, how the company is applying forensic analytics across all aspects of its businesses to identify opportunities for longer-term growth and how the group is developing a new teaching approach for shift managers.
I am pleased with the progress we’ve made in the 13 months since I became CEO. We are making improvements that our customers are noticing to serve hotter, fresher food with improved overall service experience. We are returning many of our critical markets to growth in terms of sales, guest counts, and market share. And we’re increasing profitability both for the company and our franchisees, whose cash flow’s approaching all-time highs in many of our major markets.
We’ve taken bold decisive actions that are delivering sustainable benefits. Our decision last year to close underperforming restaurants in several markets, including China, have directly contributed to improved financial performance. In addition, the improvements we made to our compensation and benefits package for our employees in U.S. company-operated restaurants, along with expanding Archways To Opportunity, a program which is now providing tuition assistance to more than 5,000 eligible employees at both company-operated and franchise restaurants, have resulted in lower crew turnover and higher customer satisfaction scores.
At the same time, we’re applying forensic analytics across all aspects of our businesses, both from an external and internal viewpoint, to identify and pursue opportunities for longer-term growth. This includes innovation in markets around the world. For example, with menu, we’re innovating to address customers’ changing demands at every price tier. This includes work being done at the premium end of the menu, such as the new Signature Collection, which was piloted in the UK in the first quarter, as well as enhancements to our value offer, like the new McPick 2 platform in the U.S.
We’re also innovating around service. As we roll out self-order kiosks, table service, and the mobile app, we’re providing customers with more choice and flexibility, as we make progress toward McDonald’s Experience of the Future.
We’re evaluating opportunities to enhance the experience for restaurant employees, too. For example, the US and the UK are working together to develop a new teaching approach for shift managers. This new training module extends beyond core operations education into leadership competencies, to help shift managers learn how to coach and motivate crew to deliver a better customer experience.
As we learn from local market innovations, we’re tapping into the power of our new segment operating structure to more quickly share knowledge and scale the most successful ideas across markets. The rollout of All Day Breakfast in Australia in the first quarter was a testament to our ability to move winning plays quickly between markets.
We’re also continuing to pursue opportunities to grow the business through new restaurant openings. In fact, last month, we opened our first restaurant in Kazakhstan, our 120th market. We received an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm and support from the local community. By the end of the first day, we’d sold over 2,000 Big Macs.
I’m confident in the actions we’re taking. Our turnaround plan is working and, for this reason, the plan will remain our framework for at least two more quarters. Later this year, we will evolve to a longer-term strategic plan to further sustain our momentum.
In closing, I am encouraged by the progress we have made and energized by the opportunities ahead. Across our entire system, we are more in line than ever on running great restaurants each and every day and on providing our customers with what is most important to them: hot, fresh food; fast, friendly service; and a contemporary restaurant experience at the value of McDonald’s. The actions we’ve taken are working. Customers are noting a difference and are choosing McDonald’s more often.
As we look to the future, we will continue to execute against our turnaround plan in the near-term, while we begin to lay a foundation for generating sustainable profitable growth over the long-term.
develop a new teaching approach for shift managers