How McDonald's Turned Around Its Slumping Sales

When Steve Easterbrook took over as CEO in 2015, he needed to figure out how to get McDonald's back on track.
Source: Courtesy of McDonald's Corporation
Courtesy of McDonald's Corporation

When Steve Easterbrook took over as president and CEO of McDonald’s in spring 2015, the world’s most recognizable fast-food chain was in the midst of an identity crisis.

Chipotle Mexican Grill and its fast-casual brethren were being hailed as the cooler, healthier dining option, with hormone-free meals and stores that resembled lounges and cafés more than utilitarian pit stops. In Asia, it faced a food-safety crisis after OSI, a supplier that had worked with McDonald’s since the days of founder Ray Kroc, was found to have repackaged old meat for sale. And months before Easterbrook’s first day on the job, McDonald’s posted its first annual drop in same-store sales in 12 years. According to Euromonitor, the chain’s market share of the U.S. fast-food market slid from 17.4 percent in 2012 to 15.4 percent in 2016.

Related: Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About McDonald's?

“The pace of change outside McDonald’s had been quicker than the pace of change within,” says Easterbrook, a decades-long McDonald’s veteran, who, before taking over, had been credited with revitalizing the company’s U.K. business. 

He quickly -- and the results have pushed the Golden Arches to the top of this year’s The company has been on a hot streak, giving consumers their much-­requested all-day breakfast, as well as value items it once took away. Having hit upon a sweet spot between value and quality within its menu, store sales at McDonald’s 37,000 global restaurants are now up 6 percent, according to its third-quarter 2017 results. 

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