McDonald’s does not break down individual sales figures for the UK but the language it has used in its financial results over the last five years suggests consistent growth – ‘strong results’, ‘solid’, ‘positive performance’ – when other parts of the globe have been struggling.
Its success has been overseen by Steve Easterbrook himself during his role as head of the UK and European divisions. Latterly, until her recent departure to FTSE bikes chain Halfords, the appropriately named Jill McDonald has been UK chief executive.
She has put its success down to focusing on ‘value and variety’ using promotions and popular new ranges such as breakfasts and smoothies. The UK business has a clear understanding of the economic pressures facing its customers, has re-designed its stores and been widely acclaimed for smart marketing and memorable TV advertising campaigns.
Larry Light former McDonald’s group chief marketing officer was a big fan: “Jill had an amazing focus on the guest and the brand, using market research and customer insight. She increased investment on the customer and was not focused on reducing overheads. Easterbrook could do with Jill as his partner again.”
Robert Passikoff though has a word of warning: “There has certainly been better customer engagement in the UK than in the US. But maybe UK consumer values are just moving at a different velocity and in a different direction. Not to sound geo-centric but I think that you’ll likely see the UK move in the direction consumers have shifted to in the US.”