Management / Brand Intelligence: The super food enticing healthy eaters to McDonald’s

Brand Intelligence: The super food enticing healthy eaters to McDonald’s

McDonald's is changing. Last year it started to introduce table service and touchscreen ordering in certain restaurants in the UK, but in Hong Kong it has gone a step further and launched its new Next restaurant, complete with a salad bar featuring the super food quinoa on the menu.


McDonald’s is not normally a place I visit. The reason being is because I happen to prefer to eat quinoa than fast food.

Let’s face it, the film Super Size Me, which came out in 2004 and documented what happened to Morgan Spurlock’s health after eating McDonald’s for 30 days, did not put the fast food giant in a good light. Over the years it has got a bad rap from the press.

But now with quinoa on the menu, it is making me look at them in a different light. Quinoa, rich in proteins and amino acids, happens to be one of my favourite foods.

It turns out the introduction of healthy super foods such as quinoa on menus all happens to be a part of a turnaround strategy following decreasing global sales.

In April last year, McDonald’s announced it was planning a turnaround strategy.

Steve Easterbrook, chief executive officer, said in May: “The immediate priority for our business is restoring growth under a new organisational structure and ownership mix designed to provide greater focus on the customer, improve our operating fundamentals and drive a recommitment to running great restaurants.”

Ever since then the fast food chain seems to have been rebranding its image by offering some healthy food options on its menus in various countries. In the US, it has increased its dairy, fruit and vegetable offerings through a partnership with Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Although I have not spotted quinoa on the UK menu, the brand strategy seems to be working. From a statement in November, Easterbrook announced that although the turnaround was in its early days, McDonald’s was gaining momentum and it was expecting positive fourth quarter comparable sales in all segments.

Being a person that rarely goes to visit McDonald’s, knowing one of my favourite foods could potentially be on the menu is starting to make me see the brand from a new perspective. It could potentially help entice customers who normally would not eat at McDonald’s back to the restaurant.

If its quinoa salad bar comes to the UK, I might give it a go.

Jo byline