As sales continue to slide in the U.S., plans to expand a test that lets people build their own burgers by tapping on a touchscreen to pick the bread, cheese and toppings they want. The company says it will bring the option to 2,000 of its 14,000 U.S. locations next year.
The “Create Your Taste” program is a departure for McDonald’s, which was built to deliver food consistently, quickly and affordably. That model has come under pressure as people gravitate toward places like Chipotle, which lets people pick what goes on their bowls and burritos as they walk down a line.
According to industry executives and analysts, the ability to customize food orders is becoming more important, particularly among people in their 20s and 30s. McDonald’s has already been trying to adjust by installing new kitchen prep tables that can hold more toppings and sauces.
The plans to offer greater customization come as McDonald’s fights to boost declining sales and customer traffic. On Monday, it said U.S. sales fell 4.6 percent in November at established locations. The figure fell 4 percent in the unit that includes the Asia-Pacific region, where the company is fighting to recover from a food supplier scandal. Overall, global sales declined 2.2 percent for the month.
In the meantime, McDonald’s is also trying to address long-held perceptions about the quality of its food. It recently launched a campaign that answers questions about its food, such as, “Does McDonald’s beef contain worms?” and is planning new marketing for the year ahead.
The company said comparable sales for Europe fell 2 percent in November with a strong performance in the U.K. more than offset by weakness in Russia, France and Germany.