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McDonald’s launches new low-priced options in bid to reverse decline

by

Staff Writer

McDonald’s Japan on Thursday unveiled a new business strategy that focuses on low prices.

It has come up with three new ¥200 burgers — egg and cheese, barbecue pork and ham and lettuce — that will debut on Oct. 26.

“Customers overwhelmingly told us they wanted a better range of different sized options on the menu to satisfy their hunger but still at an affordable value price,” said McDonald’s Japan Holdings Co. chief executive officer Sarah Casanova at a menu launch in Tokyo.

The nation’s biggest burger chain has been struggling amid competition from convenience stores and family restaurants. Its image was bruised in 2014 amid an expired-meat scandal and allegations that a human tooth and other inedible objects had turned up in food.

Casanova called it “a major shift” in strategy since the firm introduced ¥100 items in 2005.

McDonald’s said it will keep existing low-priced items, such as a hamburger and sweets costing ¥100 as well as a ¥150 pack of french fries so customers will have more choices, to match a range of appetites and budgets.

It will also launch three ¥500 set menus each featuring a different new hamburger, served with french fries or chicken nuggets and a drink.

It will end ¥350 to ¥550 lunchtime deals known as Hiru Mac (Lunch Mac), Casanova said. She said although the lunch discounts have been popular, customers complained that they were only available during lunch hours on weekdays. The new ¥500 sets will be available any time, any day, except during breakfast hours, she said. Still, it will be a price hike for those who want the existing set menus for lunch.

McDonald’s Japan saw year-on-year declines in sales over 18 consecutive months to July.

Casanova said the firm is seeing signs of improvement in sales and customer satisfaction.

“We continue to see a recovery trend at McDonald’s Japan … but obviously we have more work to do. We are not satisfied where we are,” she said.