McDonald’s Goes Upscale

John Betts, President and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, puts it this way: “We’re going to turn things upside down.”

McDonald’s Canada is going upscale by offering customized burgers, one at a time. Digital kiosks are being introduced to allow customers to order premium hamburgers from almost 30 options.

McDonald’s is attempting to get more lunch- and dinner-time customers. Both segments are declining. At an autumn press conference featuring the new kiosks, Mr. Betts digitally ordered a $9.26 Angus True Blue & Guac (blue cheese and guacamole) burger with fries and iced coffee with an extra espresso shot for a total of $12.46. The custom burger prices at the kiosks are more than 15% higher than those of a regular Big Mac at the counter. A burger, conceivably, can cost as much as $50, depending on the extras.

McDonald’s Canada is spending more than $200 million in the next two years to ramp up the kiosk offering including the extra staff that will be required. The CEO commented that the kiosk ordering system is not being introduced to replace staff but to give customers customized choices: McDonald’s Canada plans to outfit 1,000 of its 1,400 restaurants with these kiosks and add 15,000 new jobs to its current workforce of 85,000.