After years of declining sales, McDonald’s began listening to its customers. Now, the world’s largest restaurant chain has some big, much-requested changes on the horizon.
Jessica Foust, a registered dietitian and McDonald’s corporate chef, said she hopes to help shake the idea that every Mickey D’s menu item is unhealthy.
“A lot of people have assumptions about what McDonald’s food is,” Foust told Business Insider. “The industry in general is challenged because there’s a stigma in general about what (quick-service restaurant) food is, and that is very, very unfortunate.”
Foust said McDonald’s diners asked for a salad made with something other than iceberg lettuce, so last month, the chain began offering a salad blend that includes red leaf lettuce and carrot curls. Customers can also choose from among a variety of healthier side items — such as apple slices, Cuties citrus fruits, and low-fat yogurt — if they don’t want fries.
But while McDonald’s added certain foods, it eliminated others. (Industry experts said one of the reasons McDonald’s experienced slumping sales was because its menu was bloated.) McWraps were billed as healthy when they were introduced in 2013, but earlier this year, McDonald’s stopped selling them “as it became clear customers’ understanding of health had evolved,” per Business Insider.
Between the addition and subtraction, the Golden Arches made some changes to existing dishes. When restaurants started using butter instead of margarine, and real eggs instead of egg patties, in the famous Egg McMuffins, sales doubled.
“One of the things that our team is most proud of recently is…looking at our core menu and going back to basics, going back to the original,” Foust said.
Soon, McDonald’s will only serve cage-free eggs and chicken raised without antibiotics — another move designed to show concern for customers’ health.
“I don’t think a lot of people understand what a chef does for McDonald’s,” Foust said. “What we as chefs…are trying to make sure at the heart of our business, we maintain a focus on our food. Food is number one. Our primary role is that we bring people back to that.”