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McDonald’s plans to ‘evaluate’ corporate positions; lean into marketing and digital

The chain launched its Accelerating the Arches 2.0 strategy, noting a continued focus on marketing and digital channels while also alluding to staff cuts.

McDonald’s Friday announced several updates to its Accelerating the Arches strategy, first announced in late 2020 to guide the company through growth opportunities. Its Accelerating the Arches 2.0, as it’s called, is designed around three pillars – M-C-D – that include maximizing marketing, committing to the core and doubling down on the four Ds (delivery, digital, drive-thru and development).

In a release, McDonald’s noted that it plans to push the gas on the marketing success it has had throughout the past couple of years, buoyed in large part by its Famous Orders campaign.

“Culturally relevant campaigns are driving growth and elevating the entire brand. We will continue to lean into that strategy and scale platforms across markets to find new ways to tap into the zeitgeist and have fun with our customers,” the company said.

It will also continue focusing on its core menu, including Big Macs, fries and McNuggets. The company said chicken will continue to be a growth driver and it will improve on its burgers and other classic items. Notably, much of the company’s Famous Orders success can be attributed to its ability to create buzzy news without adding new menu items or complexities in the kitchen. The Travis Scott Meal, for instance, simply included a Quarter Pounder with bacon, fries, a medium Sprite and barbecue sauce.

The company’s initial Accelerating the Arches included a focus on the three Ds (digital, delivery and drive-thru) as those channels experienced robust growth during the throes of the pandemic. They will continue to be priority areas as digital sales now represent over 30% of systemwide sales in the chain’s top six markets. This effort includes its loyalty program, first launched in 2021. The program has since expanded to over 50 markets and has garnered more than 25 million active users in the U.S.

“We’re creating an even more personalized and convenient experience when our customers order digitally, enabling us to serve up relevant offers, make them feel more connected to McDonald’s and increase visits and engagement,” the company said.

Also, as part of Accelerating the Arches 2.0, McDonald’s is adding a four D for development. The company said it plans to accelerate the pace of restaurant openings to meet increased demand and sees opportunities in many of its major markets. The company also teases it could test more concepts like the order-ahead restaurant recently unveiled in Fort Worth, Texas.

Finally, the company announced it will facilitate this updated effort through an initiative called Accelerating the Organization, “to solve problems for our customers and people and scale innovations faster than ever.”

Roles to be evaluated

In a message to McDonald’s employees, Kempczinski said the company is performing at a high level, “but we can do better.” In doing so, the company plans to break down segment and market silos, which he calls “outdated and self-limiting.” He said to become faster and more efficient, the company will cease or de-prioritize some initiatives, which means some roles and staffing levels will be evaluated.

“This will help us move faster as an organization, while reducing our global costs and freeing up resources to invest in our growth,” Kempczinski wrote in the message. “As part of this work, we will evaluate roles and staffing levels in parts of the organization and there will be difficult discussions and decisions ahead. We will look to our strategy and our values to guide how we reach those decisions and support every impacted member of the company.”

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Kempczinski confirmed that “some” jobs that currently exist are going to be reorganized or cut all together. These decisions are expected to be made by April 3.

Kempczinski also announced new leadership appointments, effective Feb. 1. They include the promotion of Morgan Flatley to executive vice president, global chief marketing officer and new business ventures; the promotion of Skye Anderson to president, Global Business Services – a new unit that oversees the finance and global people functions with expectations to eventually include marketing, development, supply chain and technology as well; Andrew Gregory has been named senior vice president of global franchising and development; and Spero Droulias has been named senior vice president, chief transformation officer.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]


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