The interview


McDonald's and Quick. What are growth levers for fast food in 2015?

Larry Light, former Global Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald's


This month, Sophie Baqué discussed the catering sector with two fast food retail specialists from the U.S.A. and France. Larry Light was Global Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald's from 2002 to 2005, and Thierry Rousset is the new International Director of Quick. They discussed critical consumer changes and future prospects for fast food burger retailers.


Sophie Baqué: Why have McDonald’s U.S. sales dropped for the past two years, including a 2.1% drop in 2014, after decades of growth?
Larry Light: The seeds of McDonald’s brand destruction began several years ago during Jim Skinner’s tenure as C.E.O. McDonald’s introduced more complex menus, created operating difficulties and caused customer confusion. Brand focus was lost, service experience and food quality declined, and franchisee relationships deteriorated. There was a divorce between brand strategy, operations and customers, as the group became more focused in finance. As the situation worsened, Jim Skinner retired, to be replaced by Don Thompson. Thompson needed to be bold, but he took his time to address the situation. Since his arrival in March 2015, C.E.O. Steve Easterbrook is also prioritising financial discipline. His focus seems to be on Wall Street rather than on Main Street.


Sophie Baqué: Quick is the 3rd largest burger retailer in Europe. Please showcase the group.
Thierry Rousset: Quick was created in 1970 in Belgium, with two specialty burger restaurants in Waterloo and Schoten. By December 2014, Quick ran 495 restaurants, including 395 in France, 91 in Belgium and 9 in Luxembourg. After an exceptional year in 2013 with a turnover of €1.074 billion (excl. VAT), Quick’s sales dropped by 4% in 2014 to €1.029 billion. Last year, the average ticket was €12.3 and gathered 2.3 people. A Quick burger restaurant has about €2 million in annual turnover, it covers 475 sq.m (including 30% as kitchen space) and employs…




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