McDonald’s reorg focuses on the fast feeder’s customers

Discussion
Photos: McDonald’s
Jul 27, 2021

McDonald’s has named longtime company veteran Manu Steijart to the newly created position of global chief customer officer.

Mr. Steijart has been tasked with bringing together a diverse team from data and analytics, digital, marketing and restaurant operations to create a cohesive business unit. The goal is to reduce internal silos that have hindered McDonald’s from being as responsive to customer needs in the past as dictated by changes in the marketplace.

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement that the new customer experience group will help the company in better “anticipating and delivering on customer needs at every part of the brand journey, which increasingly extends beyond the walls of the physical restaurant through digital, delivery and Drive Thru.”

Mr. Kempczinski said McDonald’s aim is to create a frictionless experience across all touchpoints, including digital, by gathering consumer data, developing insights and providing superior experiences as defined by the customer.

The restaurant chain touts its leadership position in delivering the speed and convenience demanded by its customers. The company has restaurants positioned in locations within three miles or less of the vast majority of the nation’s population. Roughly 95 percent of its company-owned and franchised locations have drive-throughs and delivery has been expanded across the U.S.

The fast-food giant’s recently launched MyMcDonald’s rewards program will go a long way in informing what the company does going forward. The new national initiative is a foundational part of the company’s “Accelerating the Arches” growth strategy. MyMcDonald’s is intended to deliver faster and more seamless interactions and provide rewards that drive more frequent visits and bigger rings.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do at McDonald’s, and we have reached a pivotal moment when technology and data have begun to shape nearly every facet of the customer experience,” said Mr. Steijaert, a virtual lifer at the international brand.

The new customer chief first worked at a franchised restaurant owned by his family back in 1987. He later joined McDonald’s as a field service consultant in 2001 before working his way up the ladder to become vice president, operations for France, leading the business in the Netherlands and serving as VP, international operated markets since 2019.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do see as the opportunities and challenges for McDonald’s as it reorganizes its various departments under a single chief customer officer? How will the MyMcDonald’s effort affect the fast-food chain’s ability to identify and meet the needs of its customers?

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Braintrust
"The challenge is that the demographics of a typical McDonald’s customer may not be impressed by, or even be looking for, a highly customer focused model."
"McDonald’s feels a little late to the party on putting the customer-facing departments together under one umbrella, but watch out world!"
"What is totally amazing is that McDonald’s managed to survive 81 years without a chief customer officer."

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13 Comments on "McDonald’s reorg focuses on the fast feeder’s customers"


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Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

McDonald’s feels a little late to the party on putting the customer-facing departments together under one umbrella, but watch out world! I bet they will become even more formidable when it comes to owning the fast food dollar.

Suresh Chaganti
BrainTrust

McDonald’s is definitely on to something. I tested several fast food apps. McDonald’s is the most aggressive in daily deals — free coffee with no purchase is a near constant, along with multitude of meaningful offers and incentives.

It seems there are 3 objectives that they are targeted: 1) getting significantly more signups than any other fast food apps; 2) Drive growth; 3) more usage that gives them a lot more data.

Analytics do not happen in vacuum, it needs a lot of data. The mobile app strategy is certainly enabling that.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

McDonald’s has done a pretty good job with their mobile app. Full disclosure: I use it a couple times a week. The value prop for McDonald’s and other QSRs is fast service.

Having a better view of their customers engagement with their brand requires being able to interrogate data from a ton of disparate sources, many of which are in silos today. Putting all this under one organization will help with this.

What’s more important is that the new organization is able to discern which pieces of their data are most important as the build engagement tactics. That’s where the importance of having a strategic leader who can “see the big picture” as they say, will will be critical.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

2021 is The Year of Retail Data. It will be edifying to see how McDonald’s pulls together disparate data sources and leverages that information to better serve customers and boost productivity. Can we get regular updates?

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

The challenge is that the demographics of a typical McDonald’s customer may not be impressed by, or even be looking for a highly customer focused model. I have not been in a McDonald’s in around two decades (or more). They cannot impress me and will not likely win me back as a customer, as I was when my children were 6 or 7 years old, and McDonald’s was a treat for them.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

What I have found is not all McDonald’s locations utilize the app yet which I thought was really odd. I hope this will improve as well as bringing the data experts together to improve the experience.

Raj B. Shroff
BrainTrust

Great move. I’d say it’s necessary as the way organizations are structured don’t align with where experience is headed. Many organizations still don’t realize this or act on it; can’t believe we are actually still talking about this.

One opportunity is to get a singular view of the consumer and then act on that singular view in a way that resonates as one McDonald’s.

I think the challenges will be building relationships across teams and getting different disciplines to bond in order to better address issues, the nature of it being a franchise so creating consistency is hard, and the global nature of the business means that difference consumers have different expectations.

MyMcDonald’s is a data play; while they might collect more data, they’ll have to figure out how to use it effectively at scale.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

What is totally amazing is that McDonald’s managed to survive 81 years without a chief customer officer. This shows that after eight decades, somebody woke up to the fact that, at the end of the day, the most important element in any recipe is the person who is going to eat the finished product. The next hurdle is to realize that “the customer” isn’t a single entity and find creative, innovative ways to segment the market. Relying on traditional demographics and cliched discussions of “Generation Whatever” isn’t going to move the needle. But recognizing that you have a problem is still the best first step to solving one.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

McDonald’s needs to make sure all systems are working. It makes no difference what choices are available or which form of ordering is used if the response is “Sorry the ice cream machine is not working today.” All systems need to work together to serve the customer well.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

“Fast feeder”? Ugh: I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an unappealing description of Mickey D’s. As for said chain: it’s a mature business. It’s main issues are competitors who offer better quality — albeit more expensive — options and also day-to-day issues like cleanliness and (in some locations) loitering. I don’t disapprove of the reorg, but seriously doubt it’s going to dramatically shift their fortunes.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

It is concerning that McDonald’s tells us there’s unusual and dramatic learnings to be found through data. Data is a tremendously opportunity for seeking small differences. But the big differences won’t be found there.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

This is an important and powerful position. The focus on the customer at this level will provide insights and understanding of the customers’ habits, behaviors, etc. It puts the customer at the top of all decisions. Note: Not all decisions will make customers happy, but all decisions keep the customer in mind.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Meet the needs of its customers … I don’t know how you do that when the bulk of the product delivery transaction is a drive-up window. Maybe they will take phone in orders and give us a faster phone-in lane for instant pick-up. I do commend them for pursuing the process of delivering a good deal and then a good deal more.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The challenge is that the demographics of a typical McDonald’s customer may not be impressed by, or even be looking for, a highly customer focused model."
"McDonald’s feels a little late to the party on putting the customer-facing departments together under one umbrella, but watch out world!"
"What is totally amazing is that McDonald’s managed to survive 81 years without a chief customer officer."

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