Tallahassee Journal

Layoffs hit icons Coke and McDonald’s

Layoffs hit icons Coke and McDonald’s

Reality is hitting hard this week — in the form of pink slips — at two of America’s most iconic brands. Coca-Cola on Thursday announced plans to lay off 1,600 to 1,800 of its corporate, U.S. and international employees in the coming months. The move came hours after McDonald’s, on Wednesday, confirmed that it was laying off 63 employees at its corporate office and that some other open, corporate positions had been eliminated.McDonalds

While both moves had been widely anticipated, they only begin to reflect the sizable cutbacks and changes expected to hit both iconic brands in 2015. The job cuts are part of Coke’s $3 billion cost-cutting program that was announced in October — about three times the $1 billion in cuts that had previously been announced. The job reductions at McDonald’s are part of a wider corporate review to redirect nearly $100 million in savings toward business priorities, says McDonald’s spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem.

For Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, 2015 will be a year of cutbacks, change and evolution as an increasingly Internet-savvy and health-conscious public continues to move away from its decades-long habit of purchasing meals comprised of sugary drinks and fried and processed foods.

“These two brands cannot continue to decline,” says Gary Stibel, CEO and founder of the New England Consulting Group. “They must have growth. Even when they’re in neutral, they’re actually slipping back.”