McDonald’s is reinventing itself.
From table service and self-serve kiosks to cage-free eggs and all-day breakfast in the U.S., the burger chain is looking for ways to stay popular in an age when fast casual chains are eating into its business.
In its latest move, McDonald’s Canada said it will overhaul 1,000 Canadian restaurants into new-generation locations that will feature its “Create Your Taste” program. Features include customizable burgers, table service and self-serve kiosks.
A new-generation McDonald's restaurant, featuring self-serve kiosks and a customizable burger, among other things. (Photo: McDonald's Canada)
To make it happen, the company plans to hire some 10 additional staff at each location, adding up to some 10,000 new employees across the 1,000 locations.
That would bring McDonald’s staffing in Canada to around 100,000 people, strengthening its position as one of the largest employers in Canada — smaller than Loblaw (123,000 employees in a 2014 survey from QMI) but larger than Royal Bank (80,000 employees).
The company expects to spend some $200,000 to $250,000 on each of the 1,000 restaurants it plans to transform, the Toronto Star reports.
Food consultant Doug Fisher of FHG International told the newspaper the chain’s move is worth it “if it creates more demand. … The self service is likely going to reduce line ups which should be beneficial to the customer, especially those with kids.”
An employee, left, assists customers at a touch-screen kiosk as other customers dine inside a McDonald's Corp. Next concept restaurant in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. (Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Bigger, smaller Big Macs — but no all-you-can-eat fries
Another element of McDonald's plan for revival is bigger and smaller versions of its Big Mac, which the company has begun testing.
The company said Wednesday it's testing a “Grand Mac'' and “Mac Jr.'' in the central Ohio and Dallas areas, and will see how they do before deciding on a national rollout. No word yet on when the products may reach Canada.
The Grand Mac is made with two one-sixth-pound beef patties, which may be a way for the company to make its famous burger more substantial as burger competitors have made the regular Big Mac seem skimpy to some. It will sell for US $4.89.
The Mac Jr. is basically a single-layer Big Mac, and McDonald's says it's “easier to eat on the go.'' That will sell for between US$2.39 and US$2.59.
But the company is quashing reports that a coming Missouri restaurant will test all-you-can-eat fries, saying the endless spuds will be available for a limited time only to promote the site's scheduled July grand opening.
The buzz is around a reported “test'' of unlimited fries for customers at the pending location in St. Joseph, north of Kansas. But McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb says no such test is in the works.
— With files from The Associated Press