Steve Easterbrook was behind the counter at one of North America’s first two standalone McCafé restaurants, watching intently as line cooks prepared Egg McMuffins over a sizzling grill.
The CEO of McDonald’s Corp. was clearly pleased: Unlike the years-long struggle in its U.S. unit, the Canadian division of McDonald’s has performed well in the past seven years, tripling its coffee sales, and this country remains one of the fast-food giant’s top-performing global markets.
“I’m just like a sponge, I am learning,” Easterbrook said. “More than anything, I am just soaking up what is going on so that I can then share it as I move around the world.”
The Financial Post spoke with Easterbrook during a recent top-secret visit to the bowels of one of Toronto’s busiest office towers, his second visit to Canada in six months, for a tour with Canada division president John Betts of the new café concept, now open at two new downtown restaurants.