McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) has unveiled an ambitious plan to regain market share in the highly competitive fast food industry. McDonald’s officials spoke at a modern industrial art space in Chicago’s West Loop, a short distance from the company’s future headquarters. During the event, company representatives gave speeches and provided hands-on demonstrations of the company’s new technology.
CEO Steve Easterbrook said during the event, “We are moving with velocity to drive profitable growth and becoming an even better McDonald’s serving more customers delicious food each day around the world.” To reach that goal, the company plans to make $1.7 billion of capital expenditures this year. In the near term, McDonald’s focus is on menu innovation, store renovations, digital ordering and delivery.
As part of the plan, McDonald’s stores will be getting an update. The chain’s is redesigning its kitchens to improve the flow and speed up service. It’s also adding curbside pickup to take the burden off in-restaurant lines and the drive-thru, which accounts for 70 percent of all McDonald’s customers.
McDonald’s is expanding its “experience of the future” to about 650 restaurants this year, bringing the chain’s total number of these stores to roughly 2,500. The company will be adding self-service ordering kiosks and table service to the stores. McDonald’s will refranchise 4,000 restaurants by the end of this year, a full year ahead of the schedule previously set by the company.
The company has revamped its menu in recent months. McDonald’s said that its upscale burgers and chicken sandwiches, dubbed “Signature Sandwiches,” will roll out later this year. The company also want to explore adding delivery to its options. It already has a large delivery presence in Asia and is hoping to expand the service to America.
McDonald’s plans to continue expanding its mobile order and pay platform, launching it in 20,000 restaurants by the end of 2017. Mobile order and pay technology is now widespread, but McDonald’s doesn’t want to have to deal with the same problems that have plagued other companies that rushed into the trend.
The company also said it was making progress towards its goal of reducing net general and administrative costs by $500 million by the end of 2018, saving more than $200 million through the end of last year. McDonald’s expects to reduce its remaining cost base by another 5 percent to 10 percent by the end of 2019. In the three-year period up until 2019, the company is slated to return between $22 billion and $24 billion to shareholders, topping analysts’ expectations of $18 billion to $22 billion.
McDonald’s stock rose 1.5 percent after the announcement. Over the past year, McDonald’s shares have risen 7.8 percent.