Tuesday 6 January 2015 8:39 pm

McDonald’s not lovin’ high-end burgers biting into sales - Brand Index

Previously unassailable fast food giant McDonald’s is facing a Big Mac-with-bacon-and–extra-cheese-sized challenge as falling sales and negative customer opinion are taking a huge bite out of its market share. Using YouGov BrandIndex data to explore the problems it faces in the year ahead, we see the rise of higher-end restaurants such as Byron Burger and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, rather than the likes of Burger King, are the threat to McDonald’s in the UK specifically. And elsewhere in the world, similar trends are emerging . Higher-end burger joints are in vogue, and offer a profoundly different experience to fast-food restaurants, something that appeals to Britain’s middle classes – their main target consumer group. These customers are also being attracted by the promise of increased quality. Well-sourced ingredients and the opportunity to personalise their orders are particularly popular features at these restaurants. Consumers may also be concerned about the health effects and salt content in McDonald’s products due to things they have read or heard. YouGov’s Index rating takes in to account factors such as quality, impression, value and satisfaction. And since the beginning of September, the Index score for McDonald’s has been quite negative, showing an average of minus 15.4. McDonald’s will look to arrest its sales decline by stepping up marketing – or “brand transformation” as it calls it. In the US, its home base, it has replaced “I’m lovin’ it”, with “Choose Lovin’”. YouGov’s Ad Awareness metric indicates that the brand has a consistently high level of cut through with the public, averaging a strong score of 32.7 since September. When this revamp goes global, its effect will be crucial in the attempt to regain an authoritative place in all aspects of the market. Other measures such as menu simplification and a greater push towards customisation have been decided upon, principally in the US. However, how this impacts upon consumers remains to be seen. The bottom line for the beef behemoth is this: can those who now seek a healthier option be convinced to return to McDonald’s?