Associated Press McDonald's CEO Don Thompson. McDonald's has been losing market share.
The fast-food giant's sales are declining as Americans choose fast-casual options like Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread.
The changing attitude of US consumers is one of the greatest challenges for McDonald's, CEO Don Thompson said in a call with investors.
" Customers want to personalize their meals with locally relevant ingredients. They also want to enjoy eating in a contemporary inviting atmosphere. And they want choices; choices in how they order, choices in what they order and how they’re served," Thompson said.
This experience perfectly describes Chipotle, which offers antibiotic-free meats and complete customization of food.
" These things make up the McDonald’s experience of the future, and we‘re building the future today," Thompson said.
McDonald's has been testing a build-your-own burger concept, with toppings like jalapenos and bacon. The company is also letting franchisees tailor their offerings to accommodate customers in different regions.
In a new series of videos, McDonald's shows how items like its hamburgers and McRib are made.
Finally, McDonald's is remodeling restaurants for a more modern feel.
Chipotle CEO Steve Ells recently criticized fast-food companies, saying they were out of touch with American consumers.
"Despite offering dollar menus and frequent discounts, many of these chains also scored poorly in terms of value," Ells said. "The bottom-line customer wants delicious food, served quickly and in interactive format, and they are increasingly unwilling to compromise."
Chipotle Instagram Chipotle's inherent customization appeals to consumers.
Ells said that his chain also ranked highly among millennials and teens, which bodes well for the chain's future.
"They are more concerned with how food is raised and prepared than previous generations and are willing to seek out and pay a little more for something they recognize as better, better tasting, better for the environment, and better for their well being," he said.
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