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What’s on the table at the new McD’s outlets?

Mint takes a look at what the Chicago-headquartered company plans to lay out on the table for its customers

US-based fast food giant McDonald’s this month ended its 25-year-old joint venture with Vikram Bakshi, who ran its outlets in north and east India. Mint takes a look at what the Chicago-headquartered company plans to lay out on the table for its customers.

Why did McDonald’s shut its outlets in north and east India?

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced full ownership of its business in north and east India after buying out its local partner, Vikram Bakshi, in their joint venture—Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt Ltd (CPRL). As part of the transition, McDonald’s said it would temporarily shut more than 160 outlets in north and east India to review operations and focus on restaurant and equipment maintenance, tech audits, menu and marketing updates, and employee training. On 19 May, the fast food chain began reopening some outlets, starting with those in Delhi.

What’s new at the restaurants?

For starters, the menu display design. McDonald’s has swapped the old display panels with white screens as part of its efforts to standardize the look and feel at its restaurants in line with what the burger chain offers across other markets. The restaurants now sport refreshed menu boards, merchandising and packaging. McDonald’s also went back to the drawing board for a re-look at its menu offerings. As a result, the fast food chain has dropped slow-moving items such as McAloo Wrap, Chicken McGrill, Egg Wrap, Grilled Chicken Wrap, and the mango beverage Maaza from its menu.

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What is the company‘s reopening strategy?

The burger chain is taking a cluster-wise approach to reopening outlets, starting with Delhi-NCR before progressing to other markets in north and east India. So far, 39 of the more than 160 affected outlets have resumed operations, most of them in Delhi-NCR. Over the last few days, the chain has reopened outlets in busy markets, high streets, and malls. For now, it has not given a clear timeline on when all its outlets will resume operations. More and more shuttered restaurants, however, continue to open every few days.

How is McDonald’s running its stores now?

McDonald’s outlets in west and south India continue to be run by Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd. CPRL continues to seek a development license for its business in north and east India.

What are the other changes it is making?

Some services, such as hosting of birthday parties and Happy Meals, won’t be available for now. Delivery services, too, will remain suspended until more outlets start operations. Some old vendors may be purged and new ones added as the firm plans to use the services of only those who have undergone its approval process. McCafe, a coffee and food format run by McDonald’s in the south and west, is yet to be rolled out in its outlets in north and east India. The restaurants in the south also have a more extensive breakfast menu.

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