Just what does the future of fast food look like? If McDonald's franchise owners are right, it may be missing a pair of golden arches.
According to a recent survey, a growing number of McDonald’s franchisees believe the fast food giant is in a “deep depression”, possibly facing its “final days” as the iconic all-American burger and fries fast food chain.
"We are in the throes of a deep depression, and nothing is changing," one franchisee wrote in response to the survey by Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski. "Probably 30% of operators are insolvent."
Kalinowski’s researchers interviewed 29 U.S. franchise owners of more than 200 U.S. McDonald’s restaurants for the survey.
"The CEO is sowing the seeds of our demise,” another franchisee wrote. “We are a quick-serve fast-food restaurant, not a fast casual like Five Guys or Chipotle. The system may be facing its final days."
“More than a dozen franchisees expressed frustration with McDonald's management, saying that CEO Steve Easterbrook's turnaround plan — which includes initiatives like all-day breakfast and a shift to digital ordering kiosks — is a distraction from the core issues of McDonald's, like food quality and customer service,” reports Business Insider.
Sales at McDonald’s restaurants have been on the steady decline over the past seven quarters, the company reports, and it’s the reason for marketing moves like its recent announcement of all-day breakfast.
“Several franchisees complained about all-day breakfast, saying that it has complicated kitchen operations and goes against Easterbrook's repeated promises to simplify the menu,” Business Insider reports.
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"The system is very lost at the moment," one franchisee wrote. "Our menu boards are still bloated, and we are still trying to be too many things to too many people. ... Things are broken from the franchisee perspective."
"I have been in this business since the early 1970s,” one owner wrote, “but have not seen us this leaderless in all my time."
In addition to multiple menu changes, McDonald’s has announced changes to its supply chain, including the removal of antibiotics from all of its chicken products.
McDonald's has more than 14,000 restaurants in the U.S.
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McDonalds image via Valerie Everrett