Jeff Stratton managed a McDonald’s restaurant some 40 years ago, and when he walks through a Golden Arches today, it’s as if he never left.
He checks deep fryers for the appropriate temperature. He walks into the storage room and throws out an empty box. He looks at the expiration date on a package of hamburger buns to make sure they haven’t gone stale.
“You see this,” Stratton says as he points to some crushed buns. “That’s unacceptable.”
The president of McDonald’s USA feels as comfortable chatting with a crew member in one of McDonald’s 14,000 restaurants across the country as he does giving a presentation at the Oak Brook corporate headquarters. And that’s a crucial management trait for the struggling burger giant.
Weak sales growth for the last nine months has created angst among the chain’s 3,100 franchise operators, who are dealing with shrinking profit margins at the same time they are being asked to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to remodel their restaurants and improve technology.