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Jim Skinner, McDonald's
The Mac is back: We're somewhat recession-resistant - not recession-proof; but we're attracting more customers today than ever before. We're serving 58 million customers a day, which is two million more than just a year ago and substantially more than just a few years ago. We came off a pretty tough year in '02, and then we created a revitalization plan. And the growth around that and our financial performance [since then] have been very notable.

Find out what they're thinking: Over the last few years we've really beefed up our consumer insights research. Knowing what our customers expect and then filling their needs and wants are important. They're pinched everywhere they go today. And we feel obligated to make sure they don't come to McDonald's to suffer the same fate. We actually have a pricing tool that helps us evaluate how much cost we can absorb without passing it on to customers.

Where's the beef? Our customers have told us that they want more choice and variety, more chicken offerings. McDonald's USA sells two billion pounds of chicken servings per year - that's more than twice the amount of our top two competitors combined. We now sell just about as much chicken as we do beef. And because of our global scope and size, we're able to capitalize on trends and act quickly.

Even small changes matter: We took the Double Cheese off the dollar menu and replaced it with the McDouble, which is one slice of cheese compared to two. That's a subtle change.

NEXT: Fred Smith, FedEx
Last updated March 02 2009: 7:50 AM ET
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