McDonald's starts plan to improve service

OAKBROOK, IL: McDonald's expects to expand employee communications and training efforts to enhance customer service, said Larry Light, EVP and global CMO, during a webcast Wednesday to announce a new series of McDonald's ads. McDonald's owners in Ohio already have begun an employee program called "I'm fast, I'm friendly, and I'm lovin' it" to enhance employee interaction with customers, Light said. Other efforts likely will follow.

OAKBROOK, IL: McDonald's expects to expand employee communications and training efforts to enhance customer service, said Larry Light, EVP and global CMO, during a webcast Wednesday to announce a new series of McDonald's ads. McDonald's owners in Ohio already have begun an employee program called "I'm fast, I'm friendly, and I'm lovin' it" to enhance employee interaction with customers, Light said. Other efforts likely will follow.

"There will be global communications on the service experience," Light said.

One of the criticisms of McDonald's in recent years has been that its service slowed as more menu items were added.

Discussing a recent documentary film, Super Size Me, in which the filmmaker ate nothing but McDonald's food for a month, Walt Riker, VP of corporate media relations, said during the conference call: "We'll be talking a lot less about the movie and a lot more about what McDonald's is doing" on such issues as menu choice. Light, speaking about the film, said: "I think it's unfortunate that irresponsible behavior was used to address a serious matter." (See PRWeek, May 10.)

McDonald's will address the obesity issue in the US by emphasizing menu choice and consumer lifestyle issues. "We will serve and provide the food our customers want, the choices they want," Light said. Ronald McDonald will be used as a company spokesman for healthy, active lifestyle issues, Light said.

While announcing new ads using the "I'm lovin' it" theme, McDonald's officials also said PR is playing a larger role in their communications efforts.

"We have evolved our thinking around PR, particularly here in the US. PR and marketing work hand in hand," said William Lamar Jr., CMO for McDonald's USA.

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