Originally created 05/31/97

McDonald's 55-second pledge wrapped up, undelivered



NEW YORK (AP) - Not so fast.

McDonald's has scrapped its plan to promise customers coupons for free sandwiches if orders aren't ready in 55 seconds, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

The decision from the nation's largest fast-food chain came after its franchise owners panned the idea. Without everyone behind it, the promotion was doomed to fail and so the company dropped the idea, said Robert Doran, McDonald's executive vice president.

"We all agree (that) no marketing or service campaign will ever work unless the full power of the system is soundly behind it," Doran reportedly told franchise owners this week.

A message left for a McDonald's spokesman was not immediately returned this morning.

Executives wanted to use the guarantee to coincide with its yearlong "Campaign 55" promotion marking the company's founding in 1955. McDonald's had already prepared TV ads promoting the 55-second guarantee.

But franchise owners voted recently against the plan, citing potential hassles with customers and lost profits.

"It's asking too much," one Texas franchisee said. "People will tend to take advantage."

Franchise owners also said offering Big Mac sandwiches for 55 cents (with fries and a drink) to boost sales apparently hasn't worked. They told the Journal that U.S. sales at stores open more than a year were down for the first three weeks of May.