Golden ticket to growth as McDonald’s plots 350 refurbs

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25:  An exterior view of the world's largest McDonald's restaurant and their flagship outlet in the Olympic Park on June 25, 2012 in London, England. The restaurant, which is one of four McDonald's to be situated within the Olympic Park, will have a staff of 500. After the Olympic and Paralympic Games conclude the restaurant will be dismantled and all fixtures and fittings will be either reused or recycled.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Fast food chain McDonald’s is facing pressure from all directions as the boundaries of the QSR and grab-and-go markets shift beyond all recognition. But as it looks to transform hundreds of stores in the UK, its latest milestone suggests it is adapting to the new conditions in spectacular fashion.

McDonald’s UK boss Paul Pomroy has one of the biggest jobs in the foodservice industry. The chain with the golden arches remains the global poster boy for fast food, but over the last decade it has had to completely rethink its proposition to remain modern and current, nullify the threat of ‘gourmet’ rivals encroaching on its turf and deliver a healthier product.

Paul Pomroy - SMALL PIC SO DON'T OVERSIZE. CUT OUT IF NECESSARYThroughout this time, McDonald’s has never stopped attempting to evolve the business and that is set to continue with the news that it plans to complete a further 350 restaurant transformations by the end of the year. The investment comes at a momentous time for the business in the UK after it revealed that it served more customers in the first quarter of 2016 than ever before.

Along with its franchisees, McDonald’s has now delivered 40 consecutive quarters of sales growth in the UK, equating to 10 full years of expansion. Pomroy perhaps understates his satisfaction when he says he is “pleased” with the company’s first quarter performance, which saw it grow like-for-like sales as well as customer visits across the UK.

“We may have reached a milestone in terms of our growth, but we will continue to build strong and sustained momentum in the UK. As I look ahead, we will remain restless in our investments and innovations in our restaurants, our people and our menu to deliver a great experience that our customers will continue to love.”

We will remain restless in our investments and innovations in our restaurants”

Pomroy insists that investing in customer experience is “paramount” to McDonald’s growth and that the latest round of investment it is making is designed to drive the way it engages with customers. “By the end of March, just under 400 restaurants will have been transformed, with a further 350 to be completed by the end of the year,” he says.

“And, following the successful trial of table service, where customers place their order via our new digital kiosks and have their food brought to them, we are accelerating its roll-out across all our newly-transformed restaurants and now have over 100 restaurants offering it.”

While McDonald’s UK has seen the competitive landscape shift over the past 10 years, Pomroy believes that customers ultimately want the same things from the chain now as they did then: good quality food and increased menu variety served at affordable prices in modern, re-imaged restaurants. “This has been key to our journey over the last decade,” he concludes.

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