When I was asked to write an article on McDonald’s, I could not remember the last time I actually ate at the most successful fast food restaurant chain in the world. Though I was addicted at one time in my life, eating their famous double cheese burger, extra pickles and ketchup, no onions, fries, apple pie, and a chocolate shake to wash it all down at least twice a week. In researching this billion dollar franchise, my taste buds started to water again as I read several financial publications reporting McDonald’s switch to butter was the key ingredient that took its stock through the roof.
Many would think the beef or chicken McNuggets or maybe even the rich McCafe would be the winning sells that would raise McDonald’s shares to a reported record high of $110.88. New to the McDonald’s empire Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook took a few turnaround risks in his eight-month-old position. Instead of lay-offs, like most newly appointed Chief Executive Officers seem to do the moment they get their name desk plate, Easterbrook believed switching from margarine to real butter would be the turnaround the biggest chain needed. I guess that is why he was given the CEO position, he thinks outside the box and knows what will work to bring in more revenue.
According to Venture Capital, McDonald’s shares climbed quickly from $1.09 a share to a record-breaking $1.40. Wall Street projected the fast food restaurant to hit a mere $1.27 bringing it to a $6.41 billion company. McDonald’s succeeded Wall Streets expectations by earning $6.62 billion. Easterbrook stated he believes they are making all the right moves to position McDonald’s in the industry as a progressive burger company. Amazing what a dab of butter in an Egg McMuffin can do. Easterbrook also made the decision to add the Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe, antibiotic-free chicken, and an all day breakfast menu. Giving McDonald’s customers the option to choose their delicious breakfast over a burger dinner proved to be a profitable move.
The change many of McDonald’s loyal patrons are enjoying most is Easterbrook’s plan to speed up service at every counter in the world. Though it would appear to most that the assembly line sweating over the heat behind the counter could not possibly move any faster, Easterbook figured out that by simplifying the menu, raising wages, and improving benefits for over 90,000 employees, the staff would find the energy to flip burgers and fry the fries ten times quicker. He was right…again. Nothing motivates a team like putting extra cash in their pockets, great health insurance, and less work.
Easterbrook possibly became an international hero as well to McDonald’s employees everywhere as sales grew from 3.4 percent to 4.6 percent with Australia, Canada, and the United States leading the charge. China’s sales took a dive in 2014 after a food safety scandal, but rose 26.8 percent in 2015.
Companies such as Walmart can take a few pointers from Easterbrook. Boosting the morale of the foundation on which the empire was built improves daily operations to run smoother. Employees are not falling asleep behind the wheel from making company deliveries simply because they are overworked and underpaid. The fear of loss, an employee believing they will not be able to provide for their families if they ask for fair, human treatment, is a tactic many billion dollar companies use on its staff. McDonald’s does not want its legacy to be one where their employees are outside the building coordinating a can food drive to feed their own families for the holidays. McDonald’s found a way where it is a win-win for its quarterly earnings, stock value, and its employees around the world. Butter and simply being…human.