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McDonald's to Simplify Structure, Focus on Customers

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    McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook is expected on Monday to unveil the company's latest plans to revive sputtering business.

    McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook says he's stripping away layers of bureaucracy so the company can move faster to keep up with changing tastes.

    During a 23-minute video message posted online Monday, Easterbrook said the company's structure is too cumbersome.

    Easterbrook took charge of the world's biggest hamburger chain on March 1.

    McDonald's is restructuring its units into four groups: the flagship U.S. market, international lead markets such as Australia and the United Kingdom, high-growth markets such as China and Russia, and the rest of the world.

    Easterbrook also repeatedly stressed that the company will focus more on listening to customers, simplifying restaurant operations and improving perceptions of its food.

    The company will also accelerate plans to sell company-owned restaurants to franchisees.

    McDonald's is fighting intensifying competition from a variety of players and has admitted that it failed to keep up with changing tastes. In its flagship U.S. market, executives said the menu got too complicated and gummed up operations. Customer visits at established locations declined for two straight years.

    Already, McDonald's has tried a number of moves to inject some life back into its brand.

    Back in December, it said it would start trimming its menu to simplify operations and make room for new offerings. The nips and tucks in the past couple months targeted minor sandwich variations. More recently, the company revamped its grilled chicken recipe and said it would curb the use of antibiotics.

    The company also said last month that it would double its planned restaurant closures this year to roughly 700. It hasn't yet revealed its updated plans on overall restaurant count growth. At the end of last year, McDonald's Corp. had more than 36,200 locations around the world.

    Easterbrook, who previously headed up the U.K. business, says he wants to turn McDonald's into a "modern, progressive burger company." 

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