McDonald's new CEO needs to make nice with franchisees: Industry expert

Its adoption of plant-based products as well as its recently announced chicken sandwich could help the company thrive

McDonald's new CEO Chris Kempczinski has a big task ahead of him, according to Morningstar senior restaurant and retail strategist R.J. Hottovy.

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MCDMCDONALD'S CORP.
$211.98
+1.13 (+0.54%)

"He's had somewhat of a difficult and volatile relationship with his franchisees thus far," Hottovy told FOX Business' Lauren Simonetti on Monday. "I think that's going to be a big part of the initiative to get him back on the same page with the franchisees."

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Hottovy said McDonald's needs to "streamline the marketing" if the company hopes to capitalize on its new products and technology offerings in 2020.

In an employee memo obtained by FOX Business in mid-November, Kempczinski promised to sharpen the company's execution plan heading into 2020.

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Kempczinski was tapped to replace former CEO Steve Easterbrook earlier this month after the company learned he was having a consensual relationship with an employee. At the time, the company’s board determined that Easterbrook “violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee.”

The P.L.T., made exclusively by McDonald’s with Beyond Meat®, will be available for a limited time in select restaurants in Canada, beginning September 30, 2019. (Source: McDonald's)

Despite the controversy, Hottovy believes McDonald's stock will soar in 2020.

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He pointed to its adoption of plant-based products as well as its recently announced chicken sandwich as possible areas that will help the company thrive.

The Golden Arches brought in $38.5 billion in U.S. sales last year. Spread across 13,914 stores, it was an average of $2.7 million per location.

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