McDonald's starts table service in Germany

Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:42pm EDT
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By Georgina Prodhan

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp (MCD.N: Quote) is introducing table service in Germany as it reinvents itself as a "modern, progressive burger company" under new Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook.

The world's biggest fast-food chain has been testing myriad new ideas, including kiosk ordering, custom burgers and even a completely new restaurant brand in a bid to revive slumping sales and better compete with more nimble chains ranging from Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (CMG.N: Quote) to Burger King (QSR.TO: Quote).

"This is where McDonald's is headed," Easterbrook said at a McDonald's in the Frankfurt Airport that serves more than 1 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, via a digital kiosk or with a waiter carrying a tablet computer.

McDonald's has tested table service in other markets, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Easterbrook, 47, made the announcement at the reopening of the restaurant, which is Germany's biggest with 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 its priority turnaround markets as Germany, Japan, Australia and the United States, where it plans to expand a custom hamburger program called "Create Your Taste" and next month will start testing all-day breakfast in San Diego.

Easterbrook, a Briton who took the helm on March 1, is the second non-American to take the job. His challenge is to halt a slide in sales around the world.   Continued...

A McDonald's sign is seen outside one of its restaurants in Joliet, Illinois, March 26, 2015.   REUTERS/Jim Young