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McDonald’s Canada’s strategy for the premium burger wars – The Globe and Mail

John Betts walks up mập the mới nhất touchscreen kiosk at the front of a dịch vụ seo tổng thể website
restaurant và taps in my Greek salad order .Then the chief executive officer of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd. punches in his bespoke burger : a hamburger on a đen sesame seed bun with double xanh cheese, double bacon, caramelized onions, sliced jalapenos, grilled mushrooms & two sauces – sriracha và chipotle aioli. With fries và a lemonade, it comes bự $ 14.84, not exactly a fast-food bargain compared with a $ 7.99 Big Mac / fries / drink bộ combo, but not lavish either .Welcome bự the premium burger wars. The chain here recently hired 3,000 greeters / servers, such as Melina in this downtown Toronto restaurant, lớn help customers at the mới ra kiosks, bring their orders bự the table & slow lao dốc the fast-food chain’s ” dining ” experience bự spur spending .

“To get fast, you’ve got to slow down a little bit,” Mr. Betts says after we settle in at a second-floor table by the window, overlooking a strip club and payday loan shop on Yonge Street. Within 10 minutes, Melina appears with our orders.

Globe staffers chạy thử a vegan phiên bản of the Big Mac versus the original
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At 64, Mr. Betts, a McDonald’s lifer who started part-time toasting buns at an outlet in Southampton, N.Y., in 1970, isn’t slowing xuống dốc. But he is wagering that he can shake up the business by instilling in his staff some of his methodical ways, with an eye Khủng detail .He noticed, for example, that his burger’s double bacon order was confusing. It wasn’t clear each serving has two strips of bacon & he is changing the wording phệ be more explicit .After taking the top job at the chain in 2008 with a mandate bự revive its flagging fortunes & take on archrival Tim Hortons Inc., he made his first big bet on ” premium roast ” coffee. He perked up that business with a hot nhất brew & không tính tiền java, setting up separate McCafé sections – now even standalone McCafés – serving coffee & baked items such as ” authentic ” French croissants ( $ 1.69 apiece ). Now, he’s turning his attention lớn customized burgers .In his direct & personable manner, he has energy lớn spare & the demeanour of someone who could be a decade younger. He uses a disciplined và strategic approach on the job và in his personal life .He watches his weight và works out regularly with a trainer twice a week or at khách sạn gyms when he travels. He weighs himself weekly. At our lunch, he savours his burger but leaves half of it và most of his fries. He pointedly pats his trim middle .When he’s not having his usual Big Mac for lunch – or a salad once a week with ” crispy ” ( breaded ) chicken rather than the grilled chicken I ordered – he favours European & seafood fare .” Some people have hobbies, some people are voracious readers – I love bự eat & go bự different restaurants và experience different cuisines, ” he says. ” I don’t qualify myself as the ultimate foodie who necessarily goes for that global palette or suite of offerings. I’m a little more of a traditionalist. “He takes criticism about McDonald’s head on. Unhealthy food. Low wages. He acknowledges that some people are embarrassed bự eat at McDonald’s .” That’s what I’m working on, ” he counters. ” Thos e are things that you’ve got bự khuyến mãi with. … What I lượt thích about McDonald’s is that it’s part of everybody’s life. Love it or not, everybody’s got a connection lớn it. And I love being part of a brand that’s constantly reinventing itself, trying Khủng stay contemporary with the times. ”
Mr. Betts at a Toronto McDonald's location in 2013.
Mr. Betts at a Toronto McDonald’s location in 2013 .
Jennifer Roberts for The Globe and Mail
Today, as consumers gravitate béo ” fast casual ” restaurants with a warmer atmosphere và food touted as healthy & fresh, he is determined phệ benefit from the trend .He admires the Vancouver-based fast-casual Joey Restaurants chain for its attentive service. ” That was a Mã Sản Phẩm for us, ” he says. ” Every phút giây you go there, they will always ask you one question, I’ve chưa bao giờ seen them not ask it : ‘ Do you have any allergies ? ‘ You don’t get that at a lot of restaurants – the attention Khủng detail. I was pretty impressed. “To try béo emulate that service, his đội has started mập recruit staff from hospitality & flight-attendant schools béo chat up customers và make them feel better about McDonald’s. He says McDonald’s pays its mới ra ” guest experience leaders ” ( greeters / servers ) above minimum wage, even USD một Khủng $ 1.50 an hour more .Its ” create your taste ” customized burger program, launched here last fall, has spurred customers mập spend about 30 per cent more at the kiosks, he says. It’s now in about 550 of its 1,400 Canadian outlets, with 450 béo go .But he found when McDonald’s began testing create-your-taste last year in Alberta, employees were uncomfortable moving out from behind the counter phệ chat with customers .” The vast majority of them couldn’t make the cut, ” he recalls. Staff had been trained in the ” six steps ” of serving customers, including taking their order, receiving payment và assembling the order .” For 50 years at McDonald’s [ Canada ] it’s about : ‘ Do your six steps, smile và be fast, ‘ right ? And that’s it. Just move quickly. But when you take one of them và put them in the dining room và ask them lớn greet customers & slow lao dốc a little bit & engage in a conversation, most of them didn’t lượt thích it. “George Cohon, who founded McDonald’s Canada 49 years ago & went on mập found McDonald’s in Russia, says he can rarely find Mr. Betts in his office because he travels so sánh often, visiting McDonald’s restaurants in Canada & beyond. ” He asks a question & listens Khủng the answer. A lot of people don’t do that, ” Mr. Cohon says .Adds Robert Nadeau, a McDonald’s franchisee of seven Toronto-area restaurants & another admirer of Mr. Betts : ” Sometimes John can be a little impatient, lượt thích most successful people. John would lượt thích Khủng see some things done yesterday. That sense of urgency và that desire Khủng get results could sometimes create căng thẳng for some people. “But Mr. Nadeau says the CEO motivates franchisees by spending phút giây with them & giving them feedback, including a monthly e-mail titled ” Betts on the road. “Mr. Betts acknowledges ” at times I can drive it pretty hard ” with high expectations of his staff but ” I don’t get a lot of push back. ” He’s on the road three out of every four weeks, talking mập franchisees và customers .
Mr. Betts at a Toronto McDonald's location in 2012.
Mr. Betts at a Toronto McDonald’s location in 2012 .
Kevin Van Paassen for The Globe and Mail
In the early 2 nghìn s, when he was responsible for Michigan – at the giây phút the worst performing U.S. market – two archrivals, Tim Hortons and Dunkin ‘ Donuts, announced they were putting a big push on that state. ” They were two powerhouses. They both had great products. “Mr. Betts promptly took his nhóm bự Canada phệ kiểm tra out Tim’s, which he was familiar with because he visited his father, a diplomat, & his stepmother in Toronto. The McDonald’s executive put together a battle kế hoạch, focused on improving its coffee .” What we did was we blunted the growth ” of the two rivals, he says. ” And it wasn’t about coffee, it was about breakfast. You do the coffee thing và breakfast goes through the roof. “He convinced franchisees bự remodel their restaurants. Within a few years, Michigan became McDonald’s top U.S. coffee market, he says. ” I remember I’d get up at meetings và I’d talk about the importance of coffee. I think people thought I was insane. “Subsequently, in overseeing McDonald’s beverage strategy, he launched McCafé south of the border. By the phút giây he arrived in Canada, he was ready mập apply the lessons béo this market, where the chain had been overtaken by Tim Hortons six years earlier as the country ‘ top food player. He felt he was up Khủng the challenge. ” Things that I do well are all things that were deficient up here : focus, strategic focus và focusing on less, not more. “His efforts so sánh far seem Khủng be paying off, with Canada now singled out as among the U.S. parent’s top markets. The division’s brewed coffee sales have more than tripled under his watch, while its coffee market chia sẻ has risen mập 12 per cent from 5 per cent, he says. In that estimated USD bốn – billion-a-year fast-food market, McDonald’s has grabbed coffee business from Tim Hortons, whose chia sẻ has slipped béo about 75 per cent from 78 per cent kết thúc that same period, according Khủng researcher NPD .Mr. Betts’s coffee achievements mark a high point in his career. A low point ? Biscuits. Five years ago, McDonald’s Canada borrowed from the Tim’s playbook in launching biscuits. They were a flop. He hadn’t applied his usual methodical ways bự the roll-out. ” We could have done a better job on the consumer research side. “

CURRICULUM VITAE

Age: 64

Place of birth: New York

Education: Long Island University, started in marine biology and graduated with BA in business management

Family: Married 27 years to Bridget, whom he met when she was a marketing manager at McDonald’s. Two children, John, 22, and Anastasia, 20.

Father was consul-general for the U.S. State Department và they moved a lot as a family. He says he learned about different cultures và viewpoints và how bự bring diverse people together. “ It helped shape who I am. ” He has two brothers, one is a retired policeman và the other is a lawyer. His mother passed away & his father remarried và now lives in Toronto .

Career: He moved up the corporate ladder over 46 years at McDonald’s, including in operations, training and purchasing. He served as general manager in three U.S. regions and headed the U.S. beverage strategy before taking the top job in Canada.

Coffee: He always orders a medium latte 2 per cent with two sugars.

Over the past seven years, McDonald’s Canada has given away 150 million cups of coffee for không lấy phí .

Food questions: In 2012, McDonald’s Canada launched a marketing campaign allowing people to ask any questions about the chain’s food, such as are the burgers made from 100 per cent beef. (Yes.) It has been asked it 30,700 questions; its YouTube videos have been viewed 33.3 million times.

Favourite Toronto neighbourhood restaurant: Grazie, a North Toronto Italian eatery where he goes with his family and orders “paesana” (fettucini with Italian sausage and peppers) and a glass of Ruffino Chianti wine.

Who he’d like to have lunch with: Geno Auriemma, coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team, which has won 11 NCAA championships. “The best basketball coach in the history of the game … constantly striving for perfection and working under the philosophy of ‘beating yesterday.’” Since he brought in freshman guard Kia Nurse from Hamilton 2 1/2 years ago, the team hasn’t lost a game.

Not thinking of retirement: “I could do this forever!” When he retires, his first priority will be personal travel with his family.

His persistence has paid off in other ways. He met his wife, Bridget, in Boston when they both worked for McDonald’s in the late 1980 s. As a marketing manager, she was his senior. On their first encounter during a tour of McDonald’s restaurants, he tapped into his operations expertise mập provide a primer on point-of-purchase ( POP ) promotional material .” I said, ‘ See what’s the matter with this POP here, if you just turn the positioning of the sản phẩm … và then the customers will understand what we’re trying Khủng communicate. ‘ ” He impressed her enough that she accepted a non-McDonald ‘ s dinner date with him soon afterward .For the first few years after they got married, they often lived in different cities as they climbed the corporate ladder. ” She was in Thành Phố New York, I was in Boston. I went bự Chicago, she came Khủng Chicago & I went bự South Carolina. She came lớn South Carolina & then I went back béo Chicago. It was a mess – the modern couple. But it worked. “Unable mập have children, they started the adoption process. But during the next four years, their adoption planning was derailed as they moved Khủng four different states. Each state had different approval rules, forcing them Khủng start from scratch each phút giây .The children, now 22 và đôi mươi, were adopted in Ukraine. Bridget left McDonald’s after 17 years with the company bự stay home page with them. Still, with all his travelling he generally got béo see the children only on weekends. ” So they were my hobby, so sánh phệ speak, ” he says, drawing imaginary quotation marks with his fingers in the air bự lighten the conversation .

In July, he will again take advantage of the McDonald’s perk of an eight-week paid sabbatical for every 10 years worked. He’s taking his wife và then, separately, his two children, mập Europe lớn visit places where he lived when growing up as a diplomat’s son. But he hints he could have another decade left in him at McDonald’s. ” I get this sabbatical và then maybe one more và then I’ll be done. “

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