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McDonald’s Gives Itself a Year and Half to Get Into Chipotle-Fighting Shape

McDonald???s Gives Itself a Year and Half to Get Into Chipotle-Fighting Shape
Photograph by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

McDonald’s is embarking on some serious soul searching. The chain is setting aside the next 18 months as a period not only to develop the normal lineup of new menu items but also to rebrand itself. McDonald’s needs to be an appealing place to eat, not just a cheap one.

Six quarters is a long time. The chain told investors this week it is taking the next year and a half to regroup after sales continued to slide in the recent quarter and such competitors as fast-growing Chipotle Mexican Grill seem to be leaving the burger leader behind. In McDonald’s case, however, the repositioning won’t necessarily involve the typical hallmarks of a rebrand, such as a new logo or total design overhaul (a strategy Olive Garden has taken), but will instead focus on reworking the basics: better value, service, marketing, and menu. Why else would it plan to start serving “sustainable beef” in 2016 and add more fruit and vegetable options?