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Celebrity chef gives advice to McDonald's

Geoffrey Zakarian has some advice for beleaguered fast-food giant McDonald's. "You don't have to be everything to everybody. You just have to focus and be the best you can be," the celebrity chef said on CNBC's Squawk on the Street. "If they did that, they could incrementally get better."

McDonald's may need all the advice it can get. The fast-food chain has been beset by slowing sales, increased competition from fast-casual restaurants such as Chipotle, a food supplier scandal in China, as well as a "junk food" label.

Cars move past a McDonald's in lower Manhattan on February 9, 2015 in New York City.
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Cars move past a McDonald's in lower Manhattan on February 9, 2015 in New York City.

The company recently rolled out a new ad campaign in which the restaurants accept hugs as payment, but it will take more than clever marketing to save the brand. But don't write the Golden Arches off just yet, Zakarian says. People want the company to succeed, and there is an emotional investment surrounding McDonald's success.

"They just need some relevance and to tell a different story.... Everybody wants them to do better. Given time they'll do an amazing job."

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One piece of advice the chef had for the restaurant was to simplify the menu and cut back on the items offered, noting that McDonald's has 133 things on the menu while he has only 60 menu items in his restaurant in New York City.

"They need to get rid of something that doesn't tell a story, like the wrap," said Zakarian "If I'm thinking about getting a wrap, I'm not going to think about going there."