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The New York Times writes that McDonald's has reported "one of its worst financial performances in the last decade ... further evidence of the impact of tough competition and changing consumer tastes on one of America’s biggest and best-known restaurant brands." And, the company said, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

According to the story, "McDonald’s is testing a number of new concepts, including a kiosk in four stores in Southern California and one in Australia that allow customers to design and order their burgers from a menu of meat patties, buns, condiments and toppings ... It even has quietly opened a sandwich and salad shop in Australia, a bit of a hybrid of Panera and Starbucks, with no sign of a golden arch or Ronald McDonald anywhere."

McDonald's also has simplified its menu, tweaking both its "value meal" and "dollar menu' designations, hoping it can get customers to come back into its stores with a better defined value proposition and by challenging perceptions that its foods are unhealthy.

And, making a point that Michael Sansolo recently made here in his column, the Times writes: "The problem, though, is that it will take time for any of those changes to pay off significantly — it took McDonald’s two years to roll out its premium wraps. In the meantime, chains like Chipotle and Five Guys have consumers in thrall, and McDonald’s more traditional competitors, like Burger King and Wendy’s, have stepped up their game. Sonic, for instance, recently announced that sales in its stores open at least a year rose 8 percent."
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