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McDonald's Seen Overhauling U.S. Menu
On average, it took nearly 189 seconds for customers to get in and out of
McDonald's drive-through in 2012, compared with 184 seconds in 2011 and nearly
167 seconds in 2007. During Q1 of 2013, U.S. same store sales at McDonald's
Corp. (MCD: NYSE) have fallen 1.2% and Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson is
trying to revive sales as shares have become less valuable to investors
recently. In April sales at McDonald's stores open at least 13 months rose 0.7%.
McDonald’s has nearly 14,100 U.S. locations, is trying out a new ordering system
and adding double-lane drive-throughs to speed its service although the efforts
may not be enough as some of the new items take a long time to make.
A challenge for McDonald's is deciding what gets chopped from the menu. Danya
Proud, a McDonald’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail, “We are constantly adding
and removing menu items. It’s not new for McDonald’s. We’ve been doing it for
decades!” Since 2007, the company has streamlined its menu that has expanded by
70% to nearly 145 items resulting in straining kitchen staff, gumming up service
and spoiling customers for choice.
Items that got the axe include the 820 calorie Angus burger, Chicken Selects and
the Fruit & Walnut salads. Items from the menu on the block to go include the
Caesar salads, the McSkillet Burrito, the Southern Style Biscuit and steak
bagels. As McDonald's is engaged in an arms race to compete in attracting diners
they continue adding new menu items such as egg-white McMuffin sandwiches, three
new Quarter Pounders and three varieties of chicken McWraps.
Over the past 12 months, shares of McDonald's gained 13%. On a price-to-earnings
basis, McDonald's shares trade at a 16% premium to the S&P 500 Index. On April
18, shares were trading at a 25% premium as the company reported Q1 net income
of $1.27 billion on $6.61 billion in revenue which was little changed from 2012.
JPMorgan Shareholder Meeting
CtW Investment Group, which represents union pension funds nationwide,
collectively hold nearly six million JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM: NYSE) shares.
CtW wrote in a letter dated Thursday in a filing with securities regulators late
Friday, that the group is urging votes against the four board members of
JPMorgan “in the absence of any genuine efforts by the board to address”
concerns about the board in the wake of the London whale losses. CtW is citing
what it called several “potential conflicts of interest” between the directors
and the bank. The letter detailed donations by J.P. Morgan and other links
between the bank and non-profit institutions that have ties to board members.
CtW Group has refrained from weighing in on the most contentious issue on this
year’s proxy as to whether to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive
- both held by Jamie Dimon who has come under fire for the London Whale debacle.
The activist investor group want to hold board members accountable for last
year’s disastrous “London whale” trades that have so far cost the bank more than
$6 billion. Specifically, CtW is calling on shareholders to vote against the
re-election of three members of the board’s Risk Policy Committee consisting of
David Cote, James Crown and Ellen Futter as well as chairman of the Audit
Committee, Laban Jackson.
The annual shareholder meeting is scheduled to be held Tuesday, May 21, in
Tampa, Fla beginning at 10:00am ET. Viewers can register to listen to the 2013
Annual Shareholders Meeting for JPMorgan Chase & Co webcast at
May 20, 2013