Hey, McDonald's(NYSE: MCD) -- you deserve a break today. With your stock hitting a fresh seven-year low this morning, and CIBC analyst John Glass predicting that you'll be lowering your already downbeat outlook next week, even Ronald McDonald isn't much for clowning around.

Growth has stalled so much that you'll be lucky to next year match the $2 billion you earned in 2000. You're trying to sweet talk franchisees into a new dollar menu, leading folks to believe you've gone from a market leader to an industry copycat. You're talking about lowering the fat content in your frying oil, only you're forgetting that nobody wanted the McLean Deluxe, and that you might be messing with your french-fry faithful.

On our McDonald's discussion board, msurel probably said it best. "Why can't we all just admit to ourselves that McDonald's food is garbage and have the occasional burger and fries because we like the way they taste?"

This was supposed to be a recession-resilient company, stuffing the face of the bargain-seeking hungry, complete with a perpetual drive-through caravan. But that hasn't been the case, with the company's super-sized struggles to compete.

McDonald's, over the past few years, has shown a tendency to shoot itself in the foot every time it announces a refocus. Remember the Arch Deluxe? How about the "Made For You" campaign? These haven't just been failures, they've been financial disasters, costing hundreds of millions of dollars and burning goodwill from its franchisee system and its customers.

It's not an industry thing because Wendy's(NYSE: WEN) stock has been marching higher since the market peaked two years ago. When the company speaks to the analyst community next week, we'll learn much more about the company's new direction. Given recent flubs, there's reason to be skeptical.

Will remodeling older units and the new value menu rollout help the company gain market share or shed profit margins? It's probably going to get worse before it gets better. In the near term, like its burgers, McDonald's appears to be fried.