“There was nothing about the brand vision or the guest experience,” he says. “It was about reducing waste and financial discipline. Nothing against that but you need to attract more customers and make them brand loyal.
“From 2003 the company has been focused on the financial community not the customer. There has been a lack of brand discipline with an expanded menu and speed of service increasing from 90 seconds to three minutes. The first word in fast food should be fast. The quality of food, the cleanliness of the stores and the value proposition has also been lost. The decline is inexcusable.”
According to Light McDonald’s rivals have simply outperformed in these vital areas. He says Burger King has improved food quality and “consistency of guest experience” and Wendy’s has introduced a new burger range. “They have a coherent brand point of view focusing on the guest,” he says. “In a turnaround plan you plug the hole in the bucket. You don’t worry about the customer you don’t have you worry about the customer you do have. You focus on your guest using market research and customer insight. Easterbrook never mentioned that.”
His recovery plan? “Fix the quality of the food, restore speed of service by making sure all cash registers are manned not with three closed to cut costs and improve the guest experience. Get a clear and consistent brand vision and message and do things that work quickly and immediately. Customers want a predictable experience but the McDonald’s quality is inconsistent with too many stale fries and cold burgers,” he states. “The brand is hurting but people have affection for it and want it to succeed. People will cheer it being revitalised but McDonald’s needs to get closer to customers and ask them how it can get better. When a brand is on fire you have to put it out.”
In our next instalment of the McDonalds Brand Audit, we hear how the company’s figures in the UK compare to the rest of the world…