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Diversity part of McDonalds’ recipe for success

30 July 20140 comments

McDonald’s Chief Executive Don Thompson at the opening of a McDonald’s in Ho Chi Minh City Feb. 10. (Copyright: The Wall Street Journal)

McDonald’s global boss Don Thompson has hailed the importance of diversity in recruiting citing its vital role in innovation and growth.

“Diversity fuels innovation, and innovation fuels success,” Mr Thompson said at a forum in Chicago recently.

He said that McDonald’s emphasis on diversity as well as inclusion, “was the reason we were the No. 1 company on the Dow last year”.

“Having diversity in the ranks helps with the menu too,” he said, adding that “you have to make sure all of the ideas brought into the pipeline don’t look like the ones you brought.”

Thompson revealed his company has 160 menu items in its global pipeline, from oatmeal from the United States to chicken McBites in Australia.

While the company compares well to competitors in its diverse make-up, Mr Thompson described the process as one of “evolution.”

“We still have a long way to go, especially as we become a more global company,” he said.

He said that as McDonald’s builds its international presence “the idea of diversity takes on a whole different texture”.

Mr Thompson, McDonald’s president and chief operating officer, said the fast-food giant has sought diversity not just in its corporate ranks, but also among its supplier base and franchisees.

He said that when moving into a new neighborhood, it was important to find franchisees with deep ties to the community.

But he said not all of them have access to capital, so the company “helped fill in the gaps,” to get some of these owner-operators started.

Mr Thompson said 45 per cent of McDonald’s franchisees were minorities or women.

He said McDonald’s also encourages the food companies it works with to foster partnerships with women and minority-owned businesses.

“Many of our suppliers started as partners of our suppliers and then broke off,” Mr Thompson said.

He said McDonald’s bought s 55 per cent of its food and paper products from women and minority-owned businesses. In the US, the chain has an annual grocery bill of more than $US 9 billion.