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McDonald's to cut menu size and offer custom options in attempt to prioritize millennials

Fast food chain seeks to be viewed as “modern progressive burger and breakfast restaurant" to court millennials.

By Matt Bradwell
McDonald's to cut menu size and offer custom options in attempt to prioritize millennials
A Ronald McDonald statue in front of a Bangkok, Thailand, McDonald's restaurant. Photo by 1000 Words/Shutterstock

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif., Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Fast food giant McDonald's announced Wednesday plans to eliminate eight items from its menu and discontinue five extra value meals in attempt to cut down ordering time.

The announcement comes as McDonald's is market testing its "Create Your Taste" custom menu options, part of the chain's ongoing effort to modernize and compete with perceived healthier fast-casual options such as Five Guys and Chipotle.

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"It helps operationally yes, but it simplifies the menu as well," CEO Don Thompson said at a Wednesday teleconference with investors.

In addition to the smaller, potentially more customizable menu, McDonald's also plans to heavily scrutinize the ingredients in all offerings in hopes of branding itself as a "modern progressive burger and breakfast restaurant."

"McDonald's single biggest problem is its current positioning with millennials," Darren Tristano, executive vice president at restaurant industry research firm Technomic, told USA Today when asked about McDonald's 30 percent third quarter earnings dip.

To gain back the trust of a more savvy youth market than they've faced in the past, McDonald's President Mike Andres says the chain "must and will win with our food."

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"In the future we want to be much more culinary-inspired," Andres promised at the investors meeting.

"Why do we need to have preservatives in our food? We probably don't ... We need to think about our ingredient labels being much smaller."

Ultimately, Andres concluded, "People want to feel good about brands they do business with."

McDonald's is the latest major takeout chain to shift toward higher end ingredients to appeal to the heavily critical tastes of millennials. In November, Pizza Hut launched it's "Flavor of Now" campaign to rebrand their locations as gourmet and specialty pizza restaurants.

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