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Tough Times For The Golden Arches47:47
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Mighty McDonald’s is in big trouble. Sales are plummeting. We look at the future of a fast food legend, and what Americans eat.

This Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 photo shows a McDonald's fast food restaurant sign in Chicago. McDonald's Corp. has tapped Steve Easterbrook as its new president and CEO to succeed Don Thompson, who has helmed the burger chain about two and a half years, the company announced Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (AP)
This Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 photo shows a McDonald's fast food restaurant sign in Chicago. McDonald's Corp. has tapped Steve Easterbrook as its new president and CEO to succeed Don Thompson, who has helmed the burger chain about two and a half years, the company announced Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (AP)

Big Superbowl ads from McDonald’s this year, for the first time in eight years, as the hamburger giant struggles to find its feet in a new era of eating.  McDonald’s is the biggest restaurant chain in the world.  Thirty-six thousand  restaurants globally.  Its burgers, Big Macs and the rest have for decades been bedrock American fast food.  But the last two years have seen sales sliding and McDonald’s scrambling to figure out how to make it in a new world of food.  “Pay with lovin’,” was the Superbowl message.  But what about the food?  The wages?  Our waistlines?  This hour On Point:  McDonald’s, scrambling.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jason Dean, Chicago bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal. (@jasonrdean)

Jonathan Maze, senior financial editor for Nation's Restaurant News. (@jonathanmaze)

Daniel Gross, executive editor at Strategy + Business. Columnist at Slate and the Daily Beast. (@grossdm)

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg Business: Have We Reached Peak Burger? -- "In recent years, however, the companies that made Big Macs and Whoppers into icons of American pop culture have seen robust domestic expansion disappear from their menus. Sales at restaurants open for at least 13 months slipped 0.2 percent last year in the U.S. at McDonald’s and 0.9 percent at Burger King for the U.S. and Canada. Even including newly opened locations, which experience rapid growth rates in their early months, sales at the major fast-food chains grew only 1.1 percent last year, compared with 4 percent in 2012, according to Euromonitor International."

The Wall Street Journal: McDonald’s CEO Is Out as Sales Decline -- "McDonald’s gave no reason for the abrupt retirement of the 51-year-old Mr. Thompson, who has been with the company nearly 25 years. But it comes after two years of worsening sales declines in its core U.S. market that have so far defied management’s remedies. Net income last year fell nearly 15%, to $4.76 billion, and McDonald’s stock has been basically flat since Mr. Thompson took over in July 2012—a period when the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 36%."

Grand Forks Herald: Greater Grand Forks McDonald's restaurants offer fun fast food — "If you read the Wall Street Journal or USA Today, you might be worried about the future of McDonald's. If you zip around greater Grand Forks on a cold January day, the McDonald's restaurants seem alive and well."

This program aired on February 3, 2015.

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