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The purpose of “The Question” is to get to the bottom of key issues of investment significance, and to call out those companies that are particular standouts (+ and -).

My approach to the question this week was specifically geared to McDonald’s. I believe that the McDonald’s system faces many challenges, the extent of which is not being felt in Oak Brook. Having been a McDonald’s observer for the better part of 15 years now, I wanted to put franchisee anxiety into historical context. With that in mind, we set out to survey the McDonald’s franchise system to see how the general population is feeling.

If "1" is 100% contentment and "10" is wanting out as fast as you can, what is your level of anxiety with how Oak Brook is handling the issues franchisees are facing today? For historical context, to the extent they could, they were asked to rate past periods too.

(1) Overall in the history of MCD – 3.7

(2) In the 1980s – 4.3

(3) In the late 1990s to 2002 – 6.9

(4) Today – 5.2

The late 1990’s to 2002 was one of the worst periods for McDonald’s franchisees. While we are not seeing those levels of discontent today, the trend is not working in management’s favor.
Herb Peterson, McDonald’s franchisee and the creator of the Egg McMuffin, showing off his invention in April 1997 in California.