WASHINGTON — McDonald's knows you're not lovin' it anymore, and thinks it's got a great new plan to win you back.
The world's biggest burger chain plans to restructure its globe-spanning empire, slash costs and spruce up its menu in hopes of becoming what a turnaround plan released Monday called "a modern, progressive burger company."
The 60-year-old Golden Arches has struggled to regild itself amid competition from "better burger" rivals, global scandals and America's changing tastes for fresh and healthy. A typical McDonald's has seen sales crumble for six straight quarters, and even company leaders are admitting the fries have gone cold during its bleakest sales slump in years.
"No business or brand has a divine right to succeed, and the reality is our recent performance has been poor," chief executive Steve Easterbrook said in a 23-minute video Monday morning. "The message is clear. We are not on our game."
The company-wide "reset" plan will reorganize the company into four parts: the U.S., "international lead markets" like Canada and France, "high-growth markets" like China and Russia, and the rest of the world, a change Easterbrook said would cut down on bureaucracy.
The company wants to sell 3,500 corporate-run restaurants to independent owners by the end of 2018, a "refranchising" Easterbrook said would bring in more predictable cash flow and thin the support system needed for corporate stores. The fast-food joint also plans to cut $300 million a year in costs, though it didn't detail how that would affect jobs.
Besides the internal changes, the time-worn chain also made one of its three priorities "returning excitement to our brand," including by launching home delivery today in New York City, via Postmates. McDonald's also said it plans to win back spurned diners with "a recommitment to hot, fresh food" and a refocusing on its target clientele; at one point, Easterbrook said there would be "less sweeping talk of millennials as if they're one single group."
The global turnaround plan comes just two months after Easterbrook, a former head of McDonald's U.K. division, assumed the throne with promises he would challenge the stodgy burger joint's conventional thinking.
In nine weeks, he has already presided over several huge shake-ups, including dropping several unpopular items from the menu — including the Deluxe Quarter Pounder, the chipotle barbecue snack wrap and half a dozen chicken sandwiches — to speed up service and make way for other grub, like its "Artisan" grilled chicken sandwich and sirloin burger.
The company is also testing out all-day breakfast in California, and it intends to stop buying chicken treated with antibiotics. The company also said last month it planned to close about 700 of its more than 36,000 worldwide stores this year, twice as many as expected, but raise wages at its corporate-run U.S. restaurants.