In a bid to reinvent the brand’s image as a “modern, progressive burger company”, McDonald’s is trialling table side service in Germany.
Under the new Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook, the world's biggest fast-food chain has been testing a myriad new ideas, including kiosk ordering, all-day breakfast in the UK, custom burgers and even a completely new restaurant brand in a bid to revive slumping sales and better compete with both localised and global franchise chains, ranging from Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc to Burger King.
“This is where McDonald's is headed,” Easterbrook said at a McDonald's in the Frankfurt Airport that serves more than one million customers a year.
Diners at that restaurant can now choose to be served at their table after placing an order at the front counter, by means of a digital kiosk or with a waiter carrying a tablet computer.
McDonald's has tested table service in other markets already and touted Germany as the ideal location for its introduction.
Easterbrook made the announcement at the reopening of Germany’s biggest restaurant, which has more than 500 seats. Germany has been a challenging market for McDonald's, which has struggled to find the right recipe for selling to the nation's health and cost-conscious diners.
McDonald's executives have identified Germany, the United States, Japan and Australia as priority markets to rollout the waiter service.
Easterbrook, a Briton who took the helm on 1 March 2015, is only the second non-American to take the job. His challenge is to halt a slide in sales around the world.
In meetings with financial analysts last week, the new CEO called himself an “internal activist” and said he would look at everything that could create shareholder value, including cost cutting and a real estate investment trust but said he had not yet committed to a strategy.