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McDonald’s Wants to Trademark a ‘Simple’ New Slogan

March 25, 2016, 2:03 PM UTC

It looks like McDonald’s (MCD) meant it when it said it wanted to simplify its business.

The hamburger chain, whose U.S. sales are recovering after years of declines, has filed to register a trademark for the slogan “The Simpler the Better,” a phrase that would echo its recent efforts to streamline its menu to speed up service—long a problem for the company—and tame its bureaucracy.

McDonald’s submitted the application to the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office earlier this month.

The filing doesn’t mean the burger chain will actually use the slogan. A company spokesperson told, which first reported on this filing, “We routinely file intent-to-use trademark applications as part of our regular course of business. We can’t share details at this time as to how this trademark may or may not be used.” (McDonald’s has trademarked terms such as “McBrunch” without ever using them.)

Regardless of its fate, the slogan embodies CEO Steve Easterbrook’s philosophy for the company since taking the reins in 2014 as he looks to make McDonald’s a “modern, progressive company.”

Last May, Easterbrook said he would restructure McDonald’s organization (lumping international markets together by specific characteristics rather than by geographic proximity), sell many more restaurants to franchisees than originally planned, and cut costs to the tune of $300 million a year. His focus has been on “doing fewer things better with more material impact globally.” The chain has also closed hundreds of underperforming stores globally.


McDonald’s has also removed menu items, such as its Angus burger line and the upscale versions of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese. The chain however now offers All-Day Breakfast, something that does complicate operations but has been a boon for sales: In the fourth quarter of 2015, U.S. comparable sales rose 5.7%, their biggest jump in four years.