Purpose, Engagement and Big Mac’s: What’s McDonalds Choice?

McDonald’s new CEO Steve Esterbrook takes over a company in crisis

McDonald’s new CEO Steve Esterbrook takes over a company in crisis: same-store sales, a key investor metric, are shrinking. CEO Easterbrook is a Brit and brings new ideas to corporation. To understand the size of the challenge, consider the scale of the McDonalds. Its $4.7 billion profit is double the revenue of competitor Wendy’s. In other words, turning around McDonalds is more than tackling a Big Mac; it’s tackling a Big Challenge.

blog-2-BN-NO669_0415mc_P_20160415122211Easterbrook says McDonalds will be “more progressive around our social purpose in order to deepen our relationships with communities on the issues that matter to them.” That’s not about hamburgers; it’s about the more fundamental purpose. I applaud Easterbrook. Research by both Deloitte and Gallup shows that purpose is critically important to Millennials. And Millennials represent both an important customer base and a pool of workers.

Not everyone agrees with McDonalds CEO’s new direction. The newspaper Financial Times Deputy Editor Gary Silverman seems to ridicule Easterbrook comparing him to a revolutionary leader with “Obama-esqe public poses.”

I applaud Easterbrook. He has a core product challenged by health concerns, a ubiquitous brand with limited opportunity for increasing the number of outlets in first world countries and a challenged business model.

Yet the data from research show Easterbrook is accounting for customers and employees as people, not tools in the business model. Time will tell how his plan for executing against these principles works out.