How The Rapidly Expanding Menu At McDonald's Could Backfire

Business Insider

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McDonald's

McDonald's ever-widening menu could be hurting business because it overwhelms customers and increases wait times. 

The McCafe line, which includes smoothies and specialty coffee beverages, is especially detrimental, argues Rick Munarriz, senior analyst at The Motley Fool

McDonald's sales are down, which the retailer blames on the uncertain economy and poor customer service.

The fast food chain even expanded its dollar menu and McCafe line to cope. It also created a new position in stores to ease customers through the check-out process. 

But the company's solution for getting customers back in stores could be perpetuating the problem, Munarriz argues. 

While items like those found in the McCafe line have been popular at Jamba Juice and Starbucks, those companies specialize in beverages. 

"It's different at McDonald's where customers call it 'fast food' for a reason," Munarriz writes. " If customers are waiting longer and the cacophony of automated smoothie blenders and coffee orders that aren't made just right are hurting the dining experience, McDonald's may want to reconsider the upscale shot."

Drive-thru customers wait an average of one whole minute longer at McDonald's than at competitor Wendy's, the Wall Street Journal reported

But McDonald's is in a tricky place. Millennials largely prefer to eat at Subway, and so the restaurant is offering new menu items it believes will draw those customers in. 

At the same time, McDonald's can't alienate its long-time customers by cutting popular menu items. 

From McDonald's vantage point, smoothies and wraps are an easy way to get new people in restaurants. 

But the chain will have to be careful not to let a bigger menu hurt customer service. 



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