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Most popular stories: All eyes on McDonald's

Breaking down NRN’s top trending stories

Each week, NRN editor-in-chief Sarah Lockyer gives you her take on the top restaurant industry news.

It's pretty easy to talk about this week's most popular stories, as the news of a new McDonald's CEO simply dominated all discussions starting late Wednesday night. Don Thompson is out; Steve Easterbrook is in.

Many of us knew Thompson wouldn't last too much longer, but I was surprised the announcement came as early as it did. With improved U.S. sales in December, I had bet Thompson would at least get the first quarter to perform after serving nearly 25 years at the brand. Nonetheless, McDonald's has new leadership in place to launch what could potentially be a massive turnaround. And it's possible. We've seen it before under former CEO Jim Skinner and the "Plan to Win."

In my humble opinion, McDonald's needs to focus on its marketing and its use of technology. The brand needs to re-gain relevancy with a more picky and educated consumer. It needs to develop its digital footprint. Where is the killer McDonald's mobile app? Dunkin' has stepped up to that plate, as have Starbucks and Panera.

Millennials want access to the brands they love — ordering access, payment access and rewards access — all in the palm of their hands. Don't get me wrong; McDonald's has menu, marketing and even operational problems. And the company can't forget its shareholders eager for dividends and an improving bottom line. But a major change in brand perception among today's consumers will be key.  

Take a look at NRN’s top 10 most popular stories:

1. EEOC sues Ruby Tuesday on behalf of male employees

2. Steve Easterbrook to replace Don Thompson as McDonald's CEO

3. The Power List 2015: The 50 most powerful people in foodservice

4. Tim Hortons confirms layoffs following merger with Burger King

5. Lawsuit against McDonald’s tests NLRB “joint employer” ruling

6. Starbucks names Kevin Johnson president, COO, replacing Troy Alstead

7. NRA: 2015 restaurant sales to grow 3.8%

8. Starbucks to expand mobile ordering, payment

9. Report: Jollibee shopping for $1B US restaurant chain

10. Bloomin' Brands finalizes Roys sale

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