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McDonald's increasingly enormous menu: By the numbers
It turns out there is such a thing as too much choice
 
The McDonald's drive-through line has slowed as its menu has expanded.
The McDonald's drive-through line has slowed as its menu has expanded. Jamie Rector/Getty Images

The shifting tastes of American consumers are as hard to pinpoint as the chicken parts of a McNugget. Which may be one reason why McDonald's offers such a wide range of choices — from the specialty McRib to a diet-friendly walnut salad. But while variety is a plus for picky eaters, it has become a headache for America's biggest fast food chain. Since 2007, the size of McDonald's menu has swelled by 70 percent, which has reportedly come at a cost of quality and service, according to emails obtained by Bloomberg.

"It's gotten to the point where the operation has kind of broken down and that's all a symptom of the complication of the menu," restaurant franchise consultant Richard Adams told Bloomberg.

How bad is the problem? Here a look at the numbers behind the glut:

9
Items on the McDonald's menu in 1948, including burgers, milk, coffee, and pie

85
Items on the McDonald's menu in 2007, according to Bloomberg

145
Items on the McDonald's menu today

3
Menu items — Fruit & Walnut salads, Chicken Selects, and Angus Burgers — that will reportedly be removed

189
Seconds McDonald's customers spent on average getting in and out of the drive-through last year

167
Seconds McDonald's customers spent at the drive-through in 2007

130
Seconds Taco Bell customers spent at the drive-through in 2012

5
Main menu items available at Chipotle, which bills itself as a healthy fast-food alternative

20
Percent increase in revenue at Chipotle in 2012 from the previous year

2.1
Percent increase in revenue at McDonald's in 2012 from the previous year

$27.6 billion
McDonald's Corp. revenue in 2012

$2.73 billion
Chipotle's revenue in 2012

Sources: Bloomberg, Business Insider, Bloomberg Businessweek, Chipotle, The Motley Fool

 
Lauren Hansen is the multimedia editor at TheWeek.com. A graduate of Kenyon College and Northwestern University, she started her career in arts publishing and has since worked at media outlets including the BBC and Frontline.

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