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McDonald’s testing simpler customization platform

McDonald’s testing simpler customization platform

“TasteCrafted” test could be rolled out faster, would be available at drive thru

McDonald’s Corp. is testing a scaled-back version of its “Create Your Taste” customization platform that could be rolled out more quickly and for a lower investment.

Company spokeswoman Lisa McComb confirmed the test of the platform, called TasteCrafted, in an email Wednesday. McComb said TasteCrafted is being tested in a limited number of restaurants near Atlanta; Portland, Ore.; and Southern California.

Mark Kalinowski, analyst with Janney Capital Markets, was the first to report the TasteCrafted test in a note Wednesday morning.

Last year, McDonald’s debuted Create Your Taste, which would only be available inside restaurants. Guests could create customized burgers and chicken sandwiches on kiosks.

The Create Your Taste test is currently taking place at restaurants in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri and Pennsylvania, McComb said, and would continue to be expanded into additional restaurants.

TasteCrafted could be implemented more quickly. It “creates a more immediate opportunity for a broader base of restaurants to provide customers with the variety and choices they enjoy today,” McComb said.

According to the TasteCrafted website, customers can choose a burger or grilled or crispy chicken sandwich. There is a choice of three buns and four flavors: Bacon Clubhouse, Pico Guacamole, Hot Jalapeño and Deluxe.

Kalinowski indicated that the investment to implement Taste Crafted would be small. By contrast, Create Your Taste is estimated to cost $100,000 to $150,000 per restaurant, McDonald’s has said.

TasteCrafted burgers also could be available in the drive thru, which accounts for more than 60 percent of McDonald’s customers, Kalinowski said.

Word of TasteCrafted came days before McDonald’s is scheduled to reveal details of its turnaround plan, on May 4.

McDonald’s is working to end a two-year sales slump, which has seen competitors eating into the Oak Brook, Ill.-based operator’s substantial market share. Same-store sales fell 2.6 percent in the U.S. during the first quarter, at a time when gas prices fell and employment rose, which should have lifted sales.

In recent months, the company has unleashed a series of efforts designed to improve its image, including a wage increase at company-owned restaurants, the elimination of human antibiotics in chicken and a commitment to end deforestation. It is also cutting items from the menu, giving local regions the option to offer different menu items and testing all-day breakfast at restaurants in San Diego.

This story has been revised to reflect the following update:

Update: April 29, 2015  This story has been updated with comments from McDonald's and additional information about its TasteCrafted test.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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