McDonald's Aims to Win Over Millennials

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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McDonald's, the nation’s number one fast food chain, does not even rank in the top ten restaurant chains for millennials.

The millennial generation in the U.S. is represented by 59 million people ages 23 to 36, according to NPD Group. The restaurant’s introduction of the McWrap is aimed at wooing this group with an emphasis on choice and customization.

McDonald’s isn’t the only one struggling to understand this group, by the way; Coke and Gatorade are also having trouble capturing their attention and pocketbooks.

It’s unclear just who exactly McDonald’s is hoping to target with their new campaign, though. An internal memo obtained by Advertising Age classified millennials as 18 to 32-year-olds, which would raise the count from 59 to 80 million people.

"They're 80 million [people] but they're influencing the next 80 million, both younger and older," Gary Stibel, CEO at New England Consulting Group, said.

McDonald’s McWrap memo refers to their new sandwich as the “Subway buster.”

"McWrap offers us the perfect food offering to address the needs of this very important customer to McDonald's," says the memo, noting "McDonald's is currently not in the top 10 of millennials' (customers primarily ages 18-32) favorite restaurants."

While millennial are still going to burger joints, they are going less often. Millennials visiting hamburger chains declined 16 percent since 2007, NPD said. In the same time period there was a 12 percent decline in their visits to quick-service restaurants in general.

"Our customers are consistently telling us, particularly millennials, they expect variety, more choices, customization and their ability to be able to personalize their food experience."

The McWrap "affords us the platform for customization and variety that our millennial customer is expecting of us."

McDonald’s, which brings in about $28 billion a year, made no comment on whether the generation is eating at home or visiting healthier or more sustainable food chains.

"At the end of the day, we're talking about products," Stibel said. "You can give back or do Twitter or Facebook, but if the product doesn't align in millennials' interests, you can't win."

Source: AdAge, Take Part