NEW YORK – McDonald's Corp. (MCD), entering its fourth year of a turnaround effort, is expecting to make more changes to its business, including menu items.
"You will see a greater variety of freshly prepared foods, with a specific focus on the chicken category and breakfast," Ralph Alvarez, president of McDonald's North America, told the National Retail Federation's annual conference in New York.
McDonald's, which Alvarez said had fallen into the trap of focusing on getting bigger instead of getting better, has been working to revitalize its business, rebuilding and refurbishing its restaurants, adding new menu items and changing its advertising to target specific consumers.
"As a brand, we have to follow the trend," Alvarez said, referring to increasing demand for chicken items despite the fact that McDonald's got its start as a hamburger joint.
Alvarez also said the restaurant chain will expand its beverage offerings, and in March, it will begin putting nutritional information on all product packaging.
In order to respond to the hectic lives of its customers and the strong sales at its drive-thrus, he said McDonald's is working on on-the-go product packaging and putting side-by-side lanes at drive-thrus to speed up the flow of traffic.
Asked whether McDonald's would consider extending its breakfast hours, Alvarez said: "It's something that we hope to be able to do some day" but said it involves changing the set-up of its kitchens.
Alvarez said McDonald's will continue to use targeted advertising on billboards, in magazines and on television to reach its different customers, like mothers or teenagers.
"It's no longer about a 30-second commercial during prime time," he said.