McDonald's, man. What happened? You used to be cool. We all loved you. We all used the weird playgrounds you erected on your premises and then cry-vomited all the nuggets and milkshake we just ingested over a pit full of weightless plastic balls. Where have the good times gone, Maccy D?
Yesterday, The Independent reported that a number of US franchise owners have become disillusioned with the way things are going for the burger mega-chain, suggesting during a survey about McDonald's' recent performance that the company could be facing its "final days" if something isn't done to turn things around.
It's been a cruddy 2015 for the world's largest fast food chain. Sales in the US dropped by 4 percent and are down globally by 1.7 percent, an announcement that came with an admission: McDonald's needs to become a "modern, progressive burger company". According to Bloomberg, McDonald's decided to stop publishing monthly earnings in June, allowing new Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook to work towards turning things around with a brief respite from the added stress of public scrutiny.
This news saddens me. So, McDonald's, what I've done is come up with a few solutions to your problems. Perhaps you should take them on board. Also, if you would like to repay me for my time in shares, cash and/or a whole book of those tokens you sometimes get free in the Metro, that would be absolutely fine.
(Photo by ProjectManhattan via)
SERVE BREAKFAST ALL DAY OR OPEN BREAKFAST-ONLY RESTAURANTS
McDonald's are actually onto this surefire profit propellant already, but only in the mighty US of A, where – worryingly – staff have described serving hash browns past the hour of 11AM as "a nightmare".
Thing is, The People have been sometimes literally screaming for McDonald's to start serving all-day breakfasts since time began. Since the first time they realised their night out had become a weekend bender and they were going to have to eat a Big Mac for breakfast as they sweated out 12 hours of alcohol through their thighs. No one wants to go into McDonald's any time before at least midday and eat chips – they want their Sausage and Egg McMuffins and their lovely hash browns and their Tropicana. Those electrolytes aren't going to replenish themselves.
But it's not even just that; the breakfast items are, objectively, some of the best on the menu. That delicious salty sausage patty, that egg that could fit squarely and neatly into a tin of beans. Even your dad likes the hash browns. "Best thing about the place," he says, twinkle in his eye, heady memories of eating one green-faced after a duty free jolly to Calais.
GET RID OF THE TOUCHSCREEN ORDERING SYSTEM
If you frequent the golden arches as much as I do, you'll notice that in some branches they've installed giant touchscreen machines where you can place your order.
'Great, now I don't have to talk to people,' I thought, at first. But it wasn't great at all; it was terrible. I jabbed the glass and made it get me a Chicken Legend meal with mozzarella sticks. It spat out a receipt with a number on. This was to be my collection number. Speedy, right? They get the order and give it to me straight away, and I don't have to feel the breath of a stranger stain my clothes.
Only, it took about 10 minutes to get my food, which is a very long time if you're in McDonald's and about as patient as an incredibly tired baby. When the beeper beeped and my number came up, the manager gave me my food and a uniquely sad look, as if to say, "I'm sorry, I don't know why they're making us do this. It doesn't make any sense."
Stop torturing everyone with your futurist bullshit, McDonald's.
MAKE THE FOOD HURT LESS AFTER YOU'VE EATEN IT
We all eat at McDonald's for a reason, and that reason is usually either, "I'm shitfaced," or, "There's a McDonald's across the road." And hey, I'm not going to sit here and tell you it's shit; there's a reason I go there more than Burger King or KFC or any of the other grease factories. It would be nice, though, if after every meal I didn't feel like I wanted to perform field surgery on my stomach as soon as I exit the restaurant. I don't think I eat anything else that I could happily describe as "tearing through me".
CREATE A SEPARATE QUEUE FOR DRUNKARDS
Take some tips from Berghain, McDonald's: set up separate queues. Set up a queue for the burger enthusiasts, those with Five Guys membership cards, those who don't need to see the menu when they go to Shake Shack. Patty heads, bun bros, friends of fries. Then set up another queue for the pissed-up cunts who spend 10 minutes slur-shouting orders at a petrified woman and trying to jam their grubby fingers in the charity box slot for the banter. Men in shorts, men in ties, tall men, usually, berating the staff, shouting, cackling.
A drunken trip to McDonald's brings out the worst in Britain's blokes. At 11PM on a Friday night, the till area is essentially an arena for the latter stages of the Dickhead Olympics, Dale from Plymouth through the qualifying heats (telling a stranger he's going to cut him for spilling a bit of his pint, kicking the shit out of a parked car) and now trying to clinch the gold by being a bit racist to the cashier and leering aggressively at the guy next to him.
Put these people in a separate queue, build walls around that queue and coat those walls with lead.
GIVE RONALD MCDONALD A MAKEOVER
If McDonald's has to get with the times, so, too, does their clown mascot, Ronald. Let's be real: the guy dresses like shit. Those eyebrows? That hair? That red, yellow and white boiler suit? It won't do; he looks like a juggalo working on a chain gang.
Instead, we need the cool young tastemakers to be invested in Ronald, to trust him. Swap out the clown shoes for some Raf Simons x Adidas spaceship trainers. Get the Hamburglar in a plastic Craig Green shirt, Grimace rocking a Nasir Mazhar skirt and crop-top combo. Bring it forward, McDonalds, or you'll lose the kids forever.
START SERVING ALCOHOL
Contrary to my other suggestion – about exiling drunkards to the gutters where hopefully a plague rat will bite them – perhaps a bit of booze being introduced to the McDonald's menu could be a good thing. Maybe a lovely McHouse Red? McGin & Tonic while you're waiting to be seated? A delicious bottle of McBeer? The possibilities are endless.
The French are already at it, and it's widely agreed that they have the best Maccy Ds in the world.
TURN THEM INTO CASINOS
Here's one: keep the frontage and just gut the place and turn it into a casino. Put a couple of scary bouncers at the door blocking your exit until you place at least one bet, and boom: profit city, mate. There could even still be McDonald's food served to patrons who don't leave screaming and crying after being forced to put all their chips on red in a dodgy roulette game. It's a win-win.
Delivery McDonald's exists in New York City, a place in which no one – no one at all – has any excuse to use it. If you're reading this and you're in NYC and you've ordered a delivery McDonald's before, you should be fucking ashamed of yourself. But over here, we need it. We don't have a McDonald's every five feet like they do over there. We need our burgers delivered to us. Why can we get pizzas and Chinese food and curry delivered to our door but we can't get a fucking quarter pounder with cheese?
Get it together, McDonald's; I'm getting pissed off waiting for you to be the best you you can be. Don't go dying on me now, you crazy, greasy diamond, we don't want you shutting down. Or do we...?
SHUT DOWN, THEN RE-OPEN TO MUCH FANFARE, LIKE CLASSIC COKE
Perhaps what we need from McDonald's is a little breather. We need to be reminded why the chain is such an important staple on our cultural landscape. Oh, how we will miss it when it's gone.
Where else can I get a burger with "legend" as a suffix? Probably Byron, to be honest, they have loads of silly names. But that's not the point: I want their weird milkshakes, their McFlurrys, their salty, salty fries. Think you'll ever get fries salted to such perfection anywhere else? Do you really want to try your luck with Chicken Cottage for the rest of your life? Where will people pretend they've worked to spuriously give themselves a bit of grafting started-from-the-bottom charm? Are you prepared to leave a black hole in every service station across the country, only for it to be replaced by a Marks & Spencer selling average sandwiches and their creepy own brand crisps?
I will have none of it. Go into hiding, McDonald's. Go into hiding and come back stronger than ever, like a resting super villain, warmly cosseted by a sesame seed bun.
More from VICE: