McDonald’s CEO has resigned. After 25 years with the company. The resignation comes after a year of abysmal financial performance: 2014 was the first time the corporation experienced an annual decline in same-stores sales globally in over a decade.
But McDonald’s needs more than a dapper new captain. The company isn’t sinking because it needs better brand management, but because taste across the country is transforming. McDonald’s unabashed appetite for profit, at the expense of food fit to serve and at the expense of its poorly paid workers, is falling out of vogue — and the company is paying the price.
Young Americans, whose colossal purchasing power is perhaps more important than that of any other generation, exemplify this trend. Millennials don’t like McDonald’s because they value quality and choice. And saccharine Super Bowl commercials about paying for burgers with hugs isn’t winning them over.
A reputation for worker neglect: McDonald’s treats its employees about as poorly as it handles its food, and recently that’s been doing them no favors in the eyes of the public.
Americans are increasingly aware of the dire conditions that McDonald’s workers face. It is a company that has advised its employees to manage their budgets by getting a second job and living without necessities like heating.
McDonald’s has been one of the central targets of the Fight for 15 Campaign, a movement by low-wage workers protesting for a $15 per hour wage and the right to organize into unions. McDonald’s is probably the most frequent backdrop for strikes and rallies organized by employees who are living on poverty-level wages.