McDonald's admits customers aren't lovin' salads

With its healthier options falling flat, the fast-food giant says it'll look for growth in burgers and chicken sandwiches.

By Aimee Picchi May 30, 2013 12:06PM

McDonald's signMcDonald's (MCD) is learning that salads might assuage critics of its food, but the leafy greens aren't necessarily winning over customers. 

On Wednesday, the company admitted that its line of salads is contributing only 2% to 3% of U.S. restaurant sales, Bloomberg reports. The Dollar Menu, on the other hand, provides as much as 14% of sales, chief executive Don Thompson said at a conference.

The fast-food chain might be near throwing in the towel when it comes to promoting salads, Thompson hinted. "I don't see salads as being a major growth driver in the near future," he said.

Instead, McDonald's may promote its hamburgers and chicken sandwiches in ads, he noted. The restaurant chain has other ways to get customers to eat their veggies, such as new wraps that include tomato and lettuce.

The disclosure about the lack of love for McDonald's salads comes as the company is struggling with its menu, aiming to slim down its offering of 145 items, as MSN  Money reported earlier this month.

The fast-food king has already said it's getting rid of a few items, including its fruit and walnut salads. But other dishes may also soon get ditched, including the McSkillet Burrito and the Caesar salads, according to a franchisee email obtained by Bloomberg News.

The first tossed salads joined McDonald's lineup in 1987, and the company later added more such offerings such as its Caesar salad. But some of those also came under scrutiny. ABC News found that at least one of the leafy offerings included more fat than a Big Mac and fries.

For consumers, nutrition might be beside the point. After all, most Americans turn to McDonald's for a burger fix, not to load up on their veggies. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

More on moneyNOW

May 30, 2013 12:47PM
You can't be all things to all people.  We don't go to McDonald's for a salad.  It's nice that they have them as an option, but it will never be the reason people go there.  The job of promoting/eating a healthy diet is on people themselves and on the parents of children -- not the government trying to force the issue
May 30, 2013 3:13PM
Who the hell goes to McDonald s with nutrition in mind
May 30, 2013 1:04PM
About the only think I buy is the grilled chicken southwest salad,  My grandson works at MCD and I asked him if they sell a lot of these salads?  He responded with not a lot of people come to MCD to eat healthy
May 30, 2013 3:43PM
I don't know why the food police are always after McDonalds and other fast food restaurants. Like the person said people don't go to McDonalds to eat healthy. If they want to be sticking their noses in other peoples business they should just put out information about healthier eating; it will always come down to people deciding for themselves. If I want to go eat a Big Mac I will and no-one will tell me different.
May 30, 2013 3:50PM

I ate at Mcdonalds  recently and I had a fish filet and some fires and a lemonade. SHEER HEAVEN!


Leave McDonalds and other fast-food don't want it ...don't eat there!!!! DUH!!!!!

May 30, 2013 2:43PM
I hope they don't get rid of the Southwest Salad.  It's one of my favorite fast food salads.  I rather get that than a Big Mac any day.
May 30, 2013 4:03PM
McDonald's is finally being forced to see the truth:  Health nuts scream about what is being served at fast food places, but they don't actually eat there.  The people who do eat there are usually going for something fast and easy to eat on the fly.  Ever tried to eat a salad while driving?  Ever tried to eat a salad fast?  It can be done, but just scarfing down some lettuce makes less mess.  People eat salads when they have time to sit down and eat.  McDonald's needs to accept that there's always going to be somebody with lots of spare time to waste, out there griping about every single thing on earth.  Ignore them; they'll be griping about something else next month.
May 30, 2013 4:14PM
Of course nobody goes to McD's to buy a salad. Stuff those veggies on a bun or in a burrito and you got a money-maker.  Otherwise, they're not worth the lost profits.  If I own a burger joint, I'm not catering to the whims of the 2 people that might come in expecting a completely healthy dish served to them.  Know your clientele and stick to it. Don't like the menu, then don't go there. People don't go to McD's/Burger King/Wendy's to eat healthy, they go for quick lunch break food, etc.  It's your own fault if you become morbidly obese by eating at fast food chains every day of your life, not theirs. Their only job is to get the food out quickly and not poison you, the rest is on you.

And to some of the other posters: Nothing is more obnoxious and annoying then when people bring politics into a subject that has nothing to do with politics. Nobody is going to change their minds based off of what a nutjob posts on a message board...So just shut up already.
May 30, 2013 3:43PM
It is true. You can't be all things to all people. I am sure that adding salads has only increased costs and waste. Very limited shelf life with salads. But because they are on the menu, you need to have them. Advice to McDonalds: It is all about the Big Mac and Fries. And for the record, my kids loved Happy Meals and I didn't mind that they came with a toy. I have very fond memories of McDonald's. They were the 'treat' meal for us growing up in the 60's.
May 30, 2013 5:17PM
McDonald's shot itself in the foot when they charged customers more for a salad then a burger.
May 30, 2013 2:15PM
we already got rid of the mcskillet burrito here.. and in Montana it was actually a good seller.. the salads, it's true aren't great sellers but they aren't that hard to make and we might as well just keep them around. I think a new mcwrap with grilled veggies and grilled chicken, maybe teriyaki sauce..mmm.. that could be a good healthier menu option. People love the mcwraps and throwing grilled veggies and grilled chicken in a tortilla would be quick and easy.
May 30, 2013 5:52PM
I try to eat healthy, but also have to eat on a budget.  Maybe they should offer s cheaper salad alternative for people.  A McDouble and fries is about $2.  A Grilled southwest salad is almost $5. 
May 30, 2013 3:54PM
when McDonald's did away with their Big and Tasty that's when they lost my business
May 30, 2013 4:59PM
Perhaps if the salads didn't look like somebody''s leftovers, customers would purchase them.
May 30, 2013 4:48PM
I go to Micky D's for burgers and fries...oh and a choc shake. I only eat fast food one or two meals a week and am an active person. Been doing it for 30 years...never gained a pound.
May 30, 2013 3:45PM
Maybe because those going to Ronnie Mac's want supersized fries and quarter pounders rather than something more along the healthy line.
May 30, 2013 5:24PM
That is like going to strip club to discuss gender equality
May 30, 2013 4:47PM
Even at "2% or 3%" of McDonald's sales being salads, it still means MILLIONS of people are eating healthier... except for the factory-farmed chicken offered in most of their salads.
May 30, 2013 7:43PM
Never in my life have I checked to see if what I ordered was healthy. If it don't taste GOOD I aint eatin it! At McD's I get two double quarter pounders with added Mac sauce a large order of fries and a large coke, preferably a forty four ouncer, (since that liberal socialist commie in New York banned them that's all I buy, I used to just get a ten ouncer) I'm seventy one years old and work everyday. I can still outrun my forty five year old son. I can keep my knees straight bend at the waist and place my palms flat on the floor.  I eat veggies but in moderation, I am an omnivore, A meal aint a meal without MEAT! Check it out, bears are omnivore's too. I avoid health food because everyone who makes a big deal out of doing so has died of cancer!! Can you say Yule Gibbons? "Eat my wild hickory nuts" Yeah right! Health food will kill you! If those preservatives will preserve meat they will preserve me, so far it's worked just fine! I don't ever eat any of those Organic veggies, don't want to share my food with all them insects! Put some insecticide on them and I don't have to worry about eating all their feces and egg's and such! I had my cholesterol checked recently and was told that I have the good cholesterol of a healthy twenty year old. The doc said whatever your doing, keep doing it. I said good more prime rib and pizza!!
May 30, 2013 5:58PM
Really? I don't go to Mc Donald's for diet food, I go for a quarter pounder with green chili and those really great fries, don't cut the calories or the taste please.... leave the salad to the salad bar restaurants. they do it well...
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