In response to two years of declining sales in the U.S. and abroad, McDonald’s recently announced ambitious plans to refranchise 90 percent of the chain’s 36,000-plus locations. According to news reports, CEO Steve Easterbrook said the change, combined with an improved menu and a more customer-focused business approach, should turn around the fast-food giant’s fortunes.
Jerry Langley, a longtime McDonald’s vice president who is now an executive in residence at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, says Easterbrook is doing the right thing by sticking with the basics of business strategy.
"Like most large companies, McDonald's has been through down times before and always comes back with a revised strategy to address the market at the time,” says Langley. “Steve Easterbrook is addressing a major issue for the company—the menu complexity and its impact on customer service. Given time to implement, I think we'll see positive impacts.
“I also like his restructuring of the organization,” Langley continues. “It will allow management to focus on the existing large markets that make up the majority of revenues, as well as doing special things to focus on the smaller and developing markets that have different needs. Nothing ‘major’ here – just redefining how they do business, with the customer in mind."
Langley served as vice president for Global System Finance for McDonald’s Corporation. He teaches Commercial Banking, Financing the Corporation, and Bond Issue Process courses in the Notre Dame MBA program, and Applied Investment Management in the undergraduate and MBA programs; Global Financial Strategy in the Executive MBA program; and Understanding Globalization in the Certificate in Executive Education program. In addition, he serves as faculty advisor to the MBA Finance and Investment Club. Langley is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He earned an MBA from Northwestern University and did postgraduate work in accounting at DePaul University.