Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Romr123
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by Romr123 »

Old-line franchisee in suburban St. Louis, MO is scraping/replacing the first (circa 1957) location they opened in Crestwood--there have been at least 3 other scrapes/replacements of this location. This franchisee does a pretty good job--I've got lots of friends who have worked there on and off over the last 40 (!) years.
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by storewanderer »

veteran+ wrote: May 12th, 2022, 8:55 am Dear Franchisees,

Open your own shop if you are unhappy!

😜
I agree, they should surrender the real estate back to McDonalds Corp. who owns most of it anyway and just find a space nearby to open. If they think they know better they should prove it. I am sure that is how some other burger chains that are now widely successful started, right? I can't think of any chains like that off hand but I am sure I am missing it.
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by Alpha8472 »

These days restaurants have to realize that employees should be treated well. If employees are verbally abused by managers, they will quit and leave the restaurant shorthanded.

Other restaurants are able to retain employees and keep indoor dining open. The problem appears to be the abusive managers that are driving away employees. Treat the employees well and they will work well.

I often visit a very busy McDonald's inside of a Walmart and this restaurant is run like a well oiled machine. The managers are friendly and treat the employees well. There are employees that have worked there for years and are loyal and hardworking. A pleasant work environment is the responsibility of management if they want a business to be successful.
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by storewanderer »

Alpha8472 wrote: May 12th, 2022, 9:54 pm These days restaurants have to realize that employees should be treated well. If employees are verbally abused by managers, they will quit and leave the restaurant shorthanded.

Other restaurants are able to retain employees and keep indoor dining open. The problem appears to be the abusive managers that are driving away employees. Treat the employees well and they will work well.

I often visit a very busy McDonald's inside of a Walmart and this restaurant is run like a well oiled machine. The managers are friendly and treat the employees well. There are employees that have worked there for years and are loyal and hardworking. A pleasant work environment is the responsibility of management if they want a business to be successful.
That is the thing, some of these McDonald's units run like the well oiled machine the system designed, as intended. But many have fallen way off track. And it seems the operators of these off track units have decided to focus their energy complaining vs. fixing the operation. This does the brand no good.

I remember in the 90's, I sometimes went to Carls Jr. up here in Reno. They hardly had any customers and they were really a surreal experience. A 5 minute wait for a lukewarm burger but steaming hot fries was the way it always went. There was usually one employee up front and another in kitchen and that was it. Business was so slow that was enough. Sometimes a third employee, one I saw more than once would be sitting in a back corner of the unit smoking (still had a smoking section). I had heard these were some of the lowest volume units in the Carls Jr. chain. Eventually they got refranchised to a new franchisee for almost nothing and the new franchisee put some money into the units doing some remodels and spending a little more on labor/advertising and got some traffic going into the units. All of the units are still in business today and still don't do very well but certainly do better than they did 30 years ago.

But back to McDonalds the negativity on the online reviews in my area is humorous. These are multiple franchisees. I cannot believe they get away with operating this way. Whoever oversees these for the corporation is clearly covering for them.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/mcdonalds-reno ... =date_desc
https://www.yelp.com/biz/mcdonalds-reno ... =date_desc
https://www.yelp.com/biz/mcdonalds-reno ... =date_desc
https://www.yelp.com/biz/mcdonalds-reno ... =date_desc
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by pseudo3d »

It really depends on what they're focusing on. The whole milkshake machine issue is abysmal and the crackdown on Kytch was bad optics. Delivery/Uber/mobile orders are tying up operations and parking alike. Restaurant conditions are deteriorating.

At the same time, the company needs to reward creativity. The remodeled restaurants look tacky and bland, whereas during the 1980s, dining room decorations were largely left up to the franchisee. Many of the company's best and well-known items came out of franchisees, not corporate. Corporate hasn't had a permanent menu item stick since the Chicken McNugget, and that was decades ago.
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by storewanderer »

pseudo3d wrote: May 13th, 2022, 9:05 pm It really depends on what they're focusing on. The whole milkshake machine issue is abysmal and the crackdown on Kytch was bad optics. Delivery/Uber/mobile orders are tying up operations and parking alike. Restaurant conditions are deteriorating.

At the same time, the company needs to reward creativity. The remodeled restaurants look tacky and bland, whereas during the 1980s, dining room decorations were largely left up to the franchisee. Many of the company's best and well-known items came out of franchisees, not corporate. Corporate hasn't had a permanent menu item stick since the Chicken McNugget, and that was decades ago.
They also keep discontinuing items some of which were on the menu for a long time. I really liked the Strawberry Sundae- why did that get discontinued? The Strawberry Milkshake is over sweet and tastes artificial. Also they had Sugar Cookies and Oatmeal Cookies before which were nothing special but still a quite good product so why was that discontinued? I also liked the "Egg White Delight" with the Cheddar Cheese and again- discontinued the Cheddar Cheese. Why?

Also ending All Day Breakfast during COVID was a strange move. I don't understand why they did that either. They had installed special single egg cookers to solve the grill temperature variance challenge. They managed to get the price for the breakfast sandwiches up near burger-levels and egg and some processed meat is a lot cheaper than beef so I can't understand why there was a motivation to end that.

I just think this is a chain on a real downward trend in the US (internationally- completely different situation). Wendy's has better products and has kept a better variety of options.

They have closed quite a few of the non-traditional locations (malls, Wal Marts, etc.) but at the same time they have added some new airport locations over the past decade. This reminds me of Burger King in the 00's before we saw a ton of locations close. First the non-traditional locations went, next freestanding long term locations started going. The difference here is McDonalds has done these image updates to so many locations recently whereas the Burger Kings that shut down were in disrepair. So it seems McDonalds has put up the money to operate the places long term- they just need to be operated correctly. I think the corporate needs to take over a large segment of units. But they don't want to do that, they've been refranchising more and more corporate units. It will be interesting to see what happens.
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by buckguy »

storewanderer wrote: May 14th, 2022, 12:48 am
They have closed quite a few of the non-traditional locations (malls, Wal Marts, etc.) but at the same time they have added some new airport locations over the past decade. This reminds me of Burger King in the 00's before we saw a ton of locations close. First the non-traditional locations went, next freestanding long term locations started going. The difference here is McDonalds has done these image updates to so many locations recently whereas the Burger Kings that shut down were in disrepair. So it seems McDonalds has put up the money to operate the places long term- they just need to be operated correctly. I think the corporate needs to take over a large segment of units. But they don't want to do that, they've been refranchising more and more corporate units. It will be interesting to see what happens.
[/quote]

Burger King has had problems with their franchisees for decades. It always comes up in the business press about them and every knew ownership regime meets with them and claims things will be better and then they aren't. McDonald's seems to have more ups and downs. The franchises don't like the requirements for capital improvements. They also seemed unhappy with the dollar menus.

BK went into airports a long time ago through foreign franchises---for some reason they did this sooner than McDs. They were a novelty and went over well with locals, as well as with international travelers who saw them as something familiar. They, of course, weren't a novelty here and all of the fast food chains seem to struggle in airports. Some of it may be dealing with the system of vendors who operate everything and aren't necessarily responsive to different chains. Some airports allow ridiculous pricing which may deter people from buying something they are used to having cheap. The other issue is figuring out what works in that environment---smells, messiness (e.g., Whoppers) don't work on a plane or even sitting at the gate. You can sell something impractical to "leisure travelers" but business travelers are the backbone of airports and are more practical out of necessity. The downside to a Walmart or similar location is not having a drive through which accounts for large volumes, even pre-COVID
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by storewanderer »

buckguy wrote: May 14th, 2022, 5:42 am

BK went into airports a long time ago through foreign franchises---for some reason they did this sooner than McDs. They were a novelty and went over well with locals, as well as with international travelers who saw them as something familiar. They, of course, weren't a novelty here and all of the fast food chains seem to struggle in airports. Some of it may be dealing with the system of vendors who operate everything and aren't necessarily responsive to different chains. Some airports allow ridiculous pricing which may deter people from buying something they are used to having cheap. The other issue is figuring out what works in that environment---smells, messiness (e.g., Whoppers) don't work on a plane or even sitting at the gate. You can sell something impractical to "leisure travelers" but business travelers are the backbone of airports and are more practical out of necessity. The downside to a Walmart or similar location is not having a drive through which accounts for large volumes, even pre-COVID
Burger King was heavy in airports via HMS Host but in the past decade as contracts are being renegotiated HMS Host is losing spaces to other vendors. There are still some airport Burger Kings left and I think most of them left because the airport terminated HMS Host in the space housing the Burger King, not because HMS Host wanted to remove Burger King from the airports. In some airports McDonalds has actually replaced Burger King. Typically McDonalds will present itself as having a "local owner" for the space typically a female or minority which often get preferential lease placement by airport authorities and that (plus that McDonalds is likely to be more productive and pay more rent) will get the McDonalds proposal a higher "rating" by the airport authority than a Burger King run by the HMS Host corporation. HMS Host prices horribly but if the airport authority puts in a "must follow street pricing" stipulation (like PDX and DEN used to) then HMS Host will play nice. Most airports have been hardballed into continuing to deal with HMS Host because they are the primary way to get a Starbucks inside your airport and many airport travelers demand that.

Burger King also got stuck into a number of colleges via HMS Host back in the 90's, a terrible fit that did not last long. I think Burger King back then was trying to use this as a way to "catch up" with McDonalds on unit count. But as you point out these units are far less productive than a typical freestanding unit it, and there are various operational difficulties.

I will be interested to see how much staying power McDonalds has in the airports it has moved into over the past decade. Some other airport McDonalds like MDW and LAX which had been there for years have disappeared to be replaced by other "local" concepts. Granted McDonalds was a local concept to MDW but that did not matter and it was replaced with garbage.
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by pseudo3d »

storewanderer wrote: May 14th, 2022, 12:48 am
Burger King has had problems with their franchisees for decades. It always comes up in the business press about them and every knew ownership regime meets with them and claims things will be better and then they aren't. McDonald's seems to have more ups and downs. The franchises don't like the requirements for capital improvements. They also seemed unhappy with the dollar menus.

BK went into airports a long time ago through foreign franchises---for some reason they did this sooner than McDs. They were a novelty and went over well with locals, as well as with international travelers who saw them as something familiar. They, of course, weren't a novelty here and all of the fast food chains seem to struggle in airports. Some of it may be dealing with the system of vendors who operate everything and aren't necessarily responsive to different chains. Some airports allow ridiculous pricing which may deter people from buying something they are used to having cheap. The other issue is figuring out what works in that environment---smells, messiness (e.g., Whoppers) don't work on a plane or even sitting at the gate. You can sell something impractical to "leisure travelers" but business travelers are the backbone of airports and are more practical out of necessity. The downside to a Walmart or similar location is not having a drive through which accounts for large volumes, even pre-COVID
I don't think that Burger King's "smells and messiness" is really what caused them to be out of airports, there's all sorts of other restaurants, including fried seafood, barbecue, burritos, Subway....

Back on McDonald's, they need to have more regionalized promotions (as was common pre-1990s) to see what works and what doesn't. I liked the "World Burgers" (forgot the exact name) promotion back in 2019 but it required a lot of specialized ingredients (including at least two sauces) and wasn't a good ROI in many of its restaurants. It's the same reason why some of the early promotions weren't universal. The McFeast was introduced in the late 1970s but was never a national product because it required so many (then) non-standard extra ingredients, including lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and a special bun. Understandably, many of the owner-operators would not want to burden themselves with those, because each one (except for maybe the mayonnaise) were perishable.
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Re: Franchisees opposed to improved McDonald's operations?

Post by storewanderer »

pseudo3d wrote: May 15th, 2022, 8:06 am

I don't think that Burger King's "smells and messiness" is really what caused them to be out of airports, there's all sorts of other restaurants, including fried seafood, barbecue, burritos, Subway....

Back on McDonald's, they need to have more regionalized promotions (as was common pre-1990s) to see what works and what doesn't. I liked the "World Burgers" (forgot the exact name) promotion back in 2019 but it required a lot of specialized ingredients (including at least two sauces) and wasn't a good ROI in many of its restaurants. It's the same reason why some of the early promotions weren't universal. The McFeast was introduced in the late 1970s but was never a national product because it required so many (then) non-standard extra ingredients, including lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and a special bun. Understandably, many of the owner-operators would not want to burden themselves with those, because each one (except for maybe the mayonnaise) were perishable.
I've never smelled the Burger King "smell" in an airport Burger King. Not sure where they exhaust out the chair broiler but it doesn't permeate into the air terminal. Same goes for the Carls Jr. units I've seen in a couple of airports (also use a char broiler like Burger King).

But McDonalds do smell pretty awful sometimes like dirty grease and bad cheese and some airport ones do have that smell.

As far as the unpleasantness of someone sitting next to you on a plane and eating what is at that point a 40 minute old Whopper, I don't see that being much different than someone sitting next to you on the plane and eating a sub sandwich. And I think eating the cold burger must taste so awful that they are being punished more by eating it than I am by smelling it.

I really like to purchase a Chickfila Original from an airport location (pickle only) to take on a plane if I need a meal and want to take the meal on the plane. It stays hot for 30+ minutes after purchase and is still lukewarm 40 minutes into the flight.
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