Faster! Meeting diners'' needs

June 7, 2009 07:00 PM

Even McDonald's, the largest fast-food retailer in the world, has to pay homage to the consumer.

The company surveys 1,000 customers every day, says Chris Mlynarczyk, senior director of supply chain management. The surveys say fast-food diners want four key things:
  • Portability. More than 65% of McDonald's sales are through the drive-up window, and that's growing. Easy-to-use food packaging is critical.
  • Convenience. "Make it easy for me” is the consumer mantra.
  • Fresh products served quickly. Diners don't want to wait in line at the drive-up or counter. But they also want food that is freshly prepared.
  • New and tempting products. Diners want to tease their taste buds. McDonald's moved from cardboard milk cartons to plastic chugs in various flavors five years ago. "We've seen a 20% growth in milk sales in some areas as a result,” Mlynarczyk says. And it's still growing 4% per year.

In 2009, McDonald's will sell nearly 200 million milk and yogurt servings, 240 million pounds of cheese and 54 million gallons of ice cream mix.

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