McDonald's Task Force Wants Simpler Menu <b></b>

Chicago-A McDonald's Corp. task force has recommendedthat the company simplify its menu and meal promotions in order toboost 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 thecompany would increase sales by simplifying the menu to focusdiners' attention on core items.

The task force also recommended limiting the variety of sizesfor drinks and french fries and reducing promotional materials inrestaurants.

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

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

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

The task force said McDonald's customers were beingbombarded with an increasing number of messages and promotionalclutter inside restaurants, the Tribune reported. Theinternal report said a test in an outlet with far fewer messagesled 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 formanagers and improved benefits for restaurant employees, such asfree meals, the Tribune said. Crews currently pay half-pricefor meals. -Reuters

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