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McDonald’s Hopes New Social Media Q&A Will Modify Food Image

In this photo taken Saturday, May 21, 2011, a giant logo of fast food restaurant McDonald's is displayed at a train station in Shenyang in northern China's Liaoning province.  McDonald’s and KFC in China faced a new food safety scare Monday, July 21, 2014 after a Shanghai television station reported a supplier sold them expired beef and chicken. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this photo taken Saturday, May 21, 2011, a giant logo of fast food restaurant McDonald’s is displayed at a train station in Shenyang in northern China’s Liaoning province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Forbes) – McDonald’s is desperately looking to change the image of their food – from unhealthy (and, apparently, unnatural) to something closer to how people see fast-casual restaurants, that have apparently been eating McDonald’s proverbial lunch!

To that end, they’ve hired Grant Imahara, former host of Mythbusters, as part of their new social media campaign. Mr. Imahara is, ostensibly, far less frightening than their previous Facebook and Twitter. Happy Meal mascot that ended up drawing massive mockery and scorn from audiences. And, four straight months of declining U.S. same-store sales. To be clear, we don’t believe that the mascot contributed much to that decline. McDonald’s has been suffering from more than just a bad case of social media malaise, although it is worth pointing out that social media is not a universal antidote for what ails them!

In a study conducted 3rd Quarter this year by Brand Keys, Millennials reported a 20% decrease in visits to fast food chains, 13% indicted fast food was “cheap” and “edible” but not much more than that. Fifty-three percent (53%) characterized it as “dollar food,” the result of a habituated reliance of fast food brands like McDonald’s (credited as the originator of the ‘Dollar Menu’) to boost sales.

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