July 16, 2015

McDONALD’S FRANCHISEES HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS DEPRESSED:

The six-month outlook for franchisees is at an all-time low, according to a small survey by Mark Kalinowski, a long-time restaurant industry analyst.

Some 29 franchisees, who collectively own and operate 208 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States, were asked to give their six-month forecast from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). The average response was 1.69, the lowest in the survey’s 12-year history.

“Corporate has no answers,” one respondent said. “They are throwing ideas at the wall hoping something will stick. Their collective arrogance has come home to roost.”

The handwriting was on the wall a few months ago, when Steve Easterbrook, their British-born CEO announced his plans to transform McDonald’s into a “modern, progressive burger company:”

McDonald’s is almost certainly doomed. Or at the very least, Easterbrook is the wrong guy to head up the burger chain — any burger chain, for that matter.

To understand why I’ve come to this conclusion, read the very next line from the story:

Easterbrook plans to unveil his plan for turning McDonald’s into a “modern, progressive burger company” on May 4.

Now maybe I should withhold judgement until I see this plan next week. Maybe a bold headline like “McDonald’s Is Doomed” is just the kind of baseless clickbait fear-mongering I try to resist indulging in.

But a progressive burger company? Really?

How about a barber shop with shampoo laced with Nair? No, that doesn’t seem like a good idea to you? Let’s talk about it at my bar, where I water down the scotch. No, you’d rather not? Well, that’s how I feel about a “modern, progressive burger company.”

A progressive burger chain is like a quiet rave, a smoke-free poker game, or a free & fair Chicago election.

A burger chain serves up the sandwich version of meat & potatoes — the very antithesis of “progressive” anything. A fast-food burger is supposed to be simple, hearty, wholesome, perhaps-not-entirely-healthy fare designed for families on a budget and on the go.

* * * * * *

This shouldn’t be rocket math. Progressivism has come to mean top-down, pre-engineered, overpriced, “we know what’s best for you,” nannystatism — which is not what I consider to be a fun meal with the kids.

A fun meal with the kids is decent, fast, inexpensive dining on American food. There’s nothing “progressive” about it. And any attempt to force that square peg into the round hole of our hungry mouths is doomed to failure.

As with pretty much everything that’s sold to the public as a “progressive” idea.

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