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McDonald's Making Changes, Online and Offline

McDonald’s have announced two decisions that are likely to have a big impact on franchising. One move will clearly affect their franchisees and possibly their loyal eaters. The other will reverberate around the franchise community at large. Both deal with their brand image.


Firstly, sources have revealed that McDonald’s are looking to undertake a large redesign of their restaurants.  According to the Chicago Tribune, they are looking to instill more of a ‘café’ feel to their restaurants. It’s difficult to imagine a McDonald’s that is closer to Starbucks, but McDonald’s are so intent on bringing about this transformation in their store image, they are spearheading a corporate initiative to reimburse their franchisees for remodeling their stores.

But the company is sweetening its typical financial contribution in an effort to bring another 400 to 600 restaurants into the remodeling pipeline, said Adams, citing an internal McDonald's memo that spelled out terms of assistance.


McDonald’s believe the redesign could yield franchisees up to $800,000 in extra profits. It could also bring about a huge change in how the public perceives McDonald's.


The second decision I had mentioned was McDonald’s choice to appoint its first social media chief. Rick Wion, who has worked with the McDonald’s social media task force since 2006, has overseen many marketing projects with the Golden Arches. But McDonald's obviously feel they need to beef up their online presence, and so they have created this position.


AdAge magazine explains that Wion’s priorities will be:

  • using social media to build the business
  • manage customer problems
  • beef up outreach to target groups such as mommy bloggers


    Heather Oldani, director-external communications and public relations at McDonald's, explained the decision to create the post by saying: "Now it's time to have [someone] dedicated 100% of the time, rather than someone who's got a day job on top of a day job."


    As far as we know, McDonald’s are the first franchisor to appoint a social media chief. It’ll be interesting to see if the other franchises follow suit and appoint similar social media czars. Anyone following the small business commuity will have encountered the huge amount of literature about maximizing social media. McDonald’s are clearly investing in this evolving form of media and other franchises looking to compete may have to follow suit.

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