McDonald’s: On a Customer-Focused Mission
More than half a century ago, Ray Kroc, a 52-year-old salesman of milk-shake-mixing machines, set out on a mission to transform the way Americans eat. Kroc bought a chain of seven stores already existing for $2.7 million. From the start, Kroc preached a motto of QSCV—quality, service, cleanliness, and value. These goals became mainstays in McDonald’s customer-focused mission statement. Applying these values, the company perfected the fast-food concept—delivering convenient, good-quality food at affordable prices. McDonald’s grew quickly to become the world’s largest fast-feeder. The fast-food giant’s more than 32,000 restaurants worldwide now serve 60 million customers each day, racking up system-wide sales of more than $79 billion annually. In the mid-1990s, however, McDonald’s fortunes began to turn. The company appeared to fall out of touch with both its mission and its customers. Americans were looking for fresher, better-tasting food and more contemporary atmospheres. They were also seeking healthier eating options. In a new age of health-conscious consumers and $3 muffin and coffee at Starbucks, McDonald’s seemed a bit out of step with the times.
McDonald’s was struggling to find its identity among its competitors and changing consumer tastes. The company careened from one failed idea to another. It tried to keep pace. None of these things worked. However, McDonald’s continued opening new restaurants at a ferocious pace, as many as 2,000per year. The new stores helped sales, but customer service and cleanliness declined because the company couldn’t hire and train good workers fast enough. Meanwhile, McDonald’s increasingly became a target for animal-rights activists, environmentalists, and nutritionists, who accused the chain of contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic with “super size” French fries and sodas as well as Happy Meals that lure kids with the reward of free toys. Although McDonald’s remained the...
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