McDonald’s names Andres to run U.S. unit as Stratton retires

Bloomberg News

CHICAGO – McDonald’s Corp. said Friday that longtime restaurant executive Mike Andres will take over as president of the chain’s U.S. operations, which have struggled to boost sales amid increased competition.

Jeff Stratton, 58, will retire from the post on Oct. 15, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said in a statement. Andres, 56, worked in multiple roles at McDonald’s, including leading its central U.S. unit and the company’s former Boston Market subsidiary. He has been chief executive officer of Logan’s Roadhouse Inc. since early last year.

The world’s biggest restaurant chain, which gets almost a third of its revenue from domestic locations, has had a tough time attracting Americans this year as new rivals lure away customers and established competitors introduce cheaper food deals. Sales at U.S. stores open at least 13 months fell 3.2 percent in July, the third straight monthly decline.

While McDonald’s recently introduced a $2 jalapeno burger and heavily advertised breakfast fare, Burger King Worldwide Inc. is promoting a two-sandwiches-for-$5 deal, as well as $1 items. Wendy’s Co. recently brought back its pretzel buns to help attract customers and boost sales.

New fast-casual eateries including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Smashburger are expanding quickly and siphoning away McDonald’s customers with formats that allow diners to customize their meals.

All those restaurant chains are competing for Americans who have been reluctant to spend on dining out amid the choppy economic recovery. Industrywide U.S. fast-food sales rose 0.7 percent to $196.1 billion last year after increasing 0.8 percent the year before, according to researcher IBISWorld Inc.

McDonald’s also is among fast-food restaurants that have been facing increasing scrutiny about their workers’ wages and the healthfulness of their food. In May, McDonald’s workers protested outside of its main office building seeking higher pay, prompting the company to tell most of its 3,200 headquarters employees to stay home.

Stratton has been with the company for 41 years and led the U.S. division since late 2012. He took over for Jan Fields, who had struggled to turn around McDonald’s home market. Under Stratton’s tenure, McDonald’s introduced Premium McWraps, Egg White Delight McMuffins and Bacon Clubhouse burgers.

McDonald’s has more than 14,200 stores in the U.S., and about 90 percent of those are franchised.

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