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Quick-Serve Giant Can’t Figure Out Millennials

McDonald’s continues to be America’s number one fast food chain, sewn into the fabric of American culture. However, even the quick-serve giant can’t figure out millennials. While many experts still disagree on the exact definition of the millennial demographic, the important thing to McDonald’s (which considers millennials as persons ages 18-32) is that the company doesn’t even rank within the millennial generation’s top 10 restaurant chains, according to AdAge.

AdAge’s article comes on the heels of McDonald’s announcement about the national launch of their McWrap within the next few weeks. While the company has not flat-out said that they are looking to compete with chains the likes of Subway, Chick-Fil-A and KFC – all of which have become big players in the “sandwich” space – those close to the situation have admitted that McDonald’s realizes this is a sector in which they are sorely lacking prominence.

Another thing that these sandwich-oriented chains have in common is that they are popular among millennials. The demographic’s desire for variety is a topic that has been broached by marketers before. Millennials are constantly inundated with choices every day – Facebook or Twitter? Phone or tablet? Organic or non-organic?  So it should come as no surprise that the ability to choose certain aspects of a meal, such as toppings or preparation, holds a great amount of weight in their minds.

As a millennial myself, I can certainly attest to this. I swore off fast food (for the most part) during my college days. Now, on the few occasions in which I do find myself looking for a quick bite, I am drawn to the Subways, Chipotles and Panera Breads of the world. Why? Because I know nothing is premade. And with my health-conscious mindset, these chains make it easier for me to separate the good from the bad.

It’s no secret. If McDonald’s and others struggling to capture the attention of millenials want to see a change, the answer is variety. They may be onto something with the McWrap, which offers options like sweet chili chicken, bacon and different types of dressings. Still, it is proof that even the most iconic of brands needs to go above and beyond to capture the perennially diverted attention of this generation.


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