Marketing food: I'm loving McD's

Tom Roach
Leo Burnett

Six years ago, the McDonald's brand was severely damaged by media castigation of the products' nutritional values and impact on public health. Sales were falling, and even once loyal customers had fallen out of love with the brand. This is the story of the brand's recovery, with lessons for the rest of the fast-food sector.

The UK's 'informal eating out' (IEO) market comprises well over 200,000 outlets with annual sales of around £40-£50 billion. On average, each one of us eats out 2.5 times a week. It isn't one market but a large number of over-lapping markets and includes service stations, sandwich shops, fast-food restaurants, pubs, ethnic restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and even full-service restaurants.

While the long-term trend is towards more frequent eating out, total visits to IEO outlets have declined slightly over the last few years, driven by a flat-lining economy, ever-worsening consumer confidence and falling high street retail footfall.