Is McDonald's About to Make Some Major Changes to the Menu?
The chance that McDonald's could discontinue your favorite menu item is never a welcome possibility. After all, many fans still haven't gotten over the tragic loss of the Snack Wrap in 2021, or the popular Szechuan Sauce—last seen during a limited-time run in March 2022. Unfortunately, as McDonald's undergoes a major restructuring in 2023, menu cuts may be on the way as executives look to make company operations more efficient and streamlined.
In a January note to employees, that has recently surfaced, CEO Chris Kempczinski discussed his concerns with the company's current model. Specifically, he took issue with what he views as the needless duplication of certain menu items at McDonald's locations throughout the world.
"We had across the globe 70 different, distinct versions of what a crispy chicken sandwich would look like," Kempczinski said in the note, according to the Financial Times. "I don't need 70 different permutations of a chicken sandwich."
While global McDonald's locations carry core items like the Big Mac and french fries, many cater to their local populations with exclusive products that can't be found elsewhere. For example, McDonald's customers in the United States can get their hands on chicken sandwiches like the McChicken and recently renamed McCrispy, but they can't purchase items like the McArabia Chicken available in the UAE or the Chicken Big Tasty available in France.
McDonald's hasn't publicly confirmed that any items are indeed on the chopping block, but Kempczinski's comments still raise questions on whether major changes are in store for menus as the company restructures. McDonald's reportedly shut down its headquarters from Monday through Wednesday this week to virtually deliver layoff notices to an unknown number of corporate staff.
While McDonald's hasn't provided an official reason for the purported layoffs, the chain's Accelerating the Arches growth initiative included a pillar called "Accelerating the Organization." Kempczinski wrote in a January memo to employees that the company wanted to use this pillar—which is aimed at making McDonald's "faster, more innovative, and more efficient"—to improve how the company worked internally.
"Today, we're divided into silos with a center, segments, and markets," he wrote. "This approach is outdated and self-limiting—we are trying to solve the same problems multiple times, aren't always sharing ideas and can be slow to innovate. Our customers and people don't think of our brand from the viewpoint of markets or segments, and neither can we."
McDonald's was previously contacted to confirm the reports about the office closures and layoffs but hasn't responded yet. We also contacted the company for more details on any potential plans to cut items or revamp menus as it restructures but did not immediately receive a response.
The layoffs and restructuring are the latest drama to surround McDonald's this year as the chain continues to clash with franchisees opposed to new operating standards, ownership standards, and more frequent inspections. The McDonald's operators say they're fearful for their futures because of the changes, which they believe could force them out of their restaurants when it's time to renew franchise agreements with McDonald's, Restaurant Business Magazine reported. The National Owners Association, which represents McDonald's franchisees, hired a high-powered attorney last month to represent their interests.
Not all recent McDonald's developments have been tinged with negativity, however. Fans in the United States have the opportunity to try several new items, including the Strawberry Shortcake McFlurry due to hit menus this month and two limited edition flavors of the McCrispy line that debuted in March.