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McDonald's Is Standing Behind This Decision That's Disappointed Customers

Unpopular as it is, McDonald's leaders say it's created "blazing-fast service."

For more than a year now, the pandemic has caused fast-food chains to operate very nimbly in order to encourage sales. McDonald's was among the hot spots that were forced to make some tough decisions in that period. Now, the president of McDonald's USA has just told investors that while some customers have been frustrated with these moves, it hasn't stopped them from coming back.

Restaurant Business has the report, following an investor call on Thursday led by Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald's USA. Erlinger said that last year at this time—when the pandemic had suddenly but severely dampened McDonald's business—the company moved fast to evaluate what customers really wanted. The company eliminated items like salads, the artisan grilled chicken sandwich, chicken tenders, and its All Day Breakfast, which they'd introduced in 2015. "Driving customer visits begins with committing to the core menu," Erlinger said. Because perhaps in truth, most customers really do roll up to McDonald's craving classics like a Quarter Pounder, Big Mac, or fries.

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Erlinger said on the call that removing "dozens of" these items in the U.S. has definitely helped business: "Our drive-thrus got faster, margins grew and customer satisfaction improved … Put simply, our restaurants became easier to run and more profitable."

Other McDonald's executives have revealed that over the past year, being forced to turn primarily to the drive-thru as the point of service (since the dine-in option has been restricted) has actually been a win. It's given the brand an opportunity to further focus on streamlining the drive-thru experience. Blake Casper, chairman of one of McDonald's franchisee organizations, was quoted saying last June: "The limited menu and ease of operations are allowing our teams to focus and provide blazing fast service," adding, "Our teams are doing amazing work in our drive-thrus."

So while it seems unlikely you'll see All Day Breakfast return to Micky D's anytime soon, at least you know McDonald's is there for the orders you've always shown up for. Plus, insiders say, as McDonald's has been more discriminating about which new menu they do introduce (think spicy Chicken McNuggets and the spicy chicken sandwich), orders like this are keeping fans flocking.

Still frustrated by McDonald's recent cuts? It sounds like Burger King may be chasing your breakfast business.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy