McDonald's Task Force Wants Simpler Menu

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Chicago-A McDonald's Corp. task force has recommended that the company simplify its menu and meal promotions in order to boost sales, it was reported last week.

The Chicago Tribune said a five-year plan drafted by a "high-level task force" at McDonald's predicted the company would increase sales by simplifying the menu to focus diners' attention on core items.

The task force also recommended limiting the variety of sizes for drinks and french fries and reducing promotional materials in restaurants.

Word of the internal plan, which the Tribune said was presented to McDonald's staff in January, came at a time when the fast-food giant had been adding to its menu options.

For example, the company's New Tastes Menu, announced on January 17, added a roster of more than 40 specialty items, including several chicken and pork sandwiches, that U.S. regional franchisee groups could add to their menus on a seasonal basis. Each group would promote four items for six to eight weeks at a time.

McDonald's also recently launched a new version of its popular Happy Meal, featuring bigger portions for older kids.

The task force said McDonald's customers were being bombarded with an increasing number of messages and promotional clutter inside restaurants, the Tribune reported. The internal report said a test in an outlet with far fewer messages led to higher sales and higher per-customer spending.

The task force also addressed the costs of management turnover, the newspaper said. Its recommendations included better pay for managers and improved benefits for restaurant employees, such as free meals, the Tribune said. Crews currently pay half-price for meals. -Reuters

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