Tag Archives: McDonald&#039s

McDonald's Found a Great Way to Grow Its Breakfast Revenue–and Your Waistline
February 12, 2019 12:57 am|Comments (0)

Here come the doughnuts. Or, at least, the donut sticks. McDonald’s will bring six- and 12-stick versions of fried dough rectangles, covered in cinnamon sugar, to its breakfast menu come Feb. 20. Price will be $ 1.29 for 6 or $ 2.39 a dozen. (With a hat tip to Business Insider, which sussed this out in early January.)

McDonald’s in the fast food, not religion, business. But the company does seem to depend more frequently on Hail Marys. A little over a year ago, it tried bringing back its dollar menu–sorry, now the $ 1 $ 2 $ 3 menu–to get more people back to the chain.

Now it’s a version of a treat that Dunkin’ Donuts began to serve in 2017. Dunkin’ said in an earnings call that the snack was “one of the best-performing limited-time offer bakery items in recent brand history.” Though between “one of” and “in recent brand history,” that’s a lot of wiggle room.

Not that the concept even originated with Dunkin’. These are basically crullers, which go a long way back. Or churros, as Boston.com did. Shrinking the size and offering multi-packs as a single serving was a different twist, but even that didn’t start with McDonald’s or Dunkin’, as a little web search turns up references and recipes from years before.

I still think that McDonald’s has stifled innovation of its franchisees, who were the ones to invent the Big Mac, Filet-o-Fish, and Egg McMuffin. None of that was the product of some central kitchen and executives who carefully considered what people would want.

One of the best ways to innovate is to crank out ideas and test them. That’s what franchisees can do. Let them try different things with their local markets. See what works. Give a bonus or reward or maybe even a royalty for items that prove themselves on a national or international stage. McDonald’s could have so many potential hits being developed.

But these days, that’s not what many big franchises seem to want. They’re interested in control. In fact, they’re so determined to be in charge that they’ve been willing to see many customers walk elsewhere.

Such is life. It does provide great opportunities for the company’s competitors, and even all the small restaurant operators out there who can try out what they’d like. A bit part of the fun of business is coming up with your own ideas and seeing what you can do with them.

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McDonald's Just Quietly Introduced Something That's Shocking Its Customers. It's Going to Shock Competitors, Too
January 6, 2019 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Tastes are changing, which means McDonald’s has to turn its vast tanker of frozen meat and fatty morsels in a new direction.

And almost a year ago, the chain announced that it’s creeping toward making Happy Meals healthier.

Now, though, there’s a new, quite astounding step.

I can already see parents delighting in the notion that their advertising-vulnerable kids can now eat a burger with no meat in it.

Sadly, not quite.

Instead, the chain is releasing the Happy Meal, featuring a wrap.

The wrap is a red pesto goujon tortilla wrap. Yes, it includes shredded lettuce. But, perhaps the greatest glory for McDonald’s traditionalists is that it’s still garnished with one of the world’s great food groups — tomato ketchup. 

This whole(some) thing is a mere 209 calories and has been approved by the Vegetarian Society.

What’s not to love? 

It seems that not everyone is moved by McDonald’s wrapping itself in an eco-friendly future.

Noted bulbously extreme bloviator Piers Morgan was appalled. On Twitter, he screeched

Oh FFS. It’s supposed to be a HAPPY meal.

Oddly, McDonald’s chose to reply. Morgan, you see, had also railed against bakery Greggs introducing a vegan sausage roll. Morgan called the bakery “PC-ravaged clowns.” 

Astutely, Greggs replied: 

Oh hello, Piers, We’ve been expecting you.

For its part, McDonald’s offered: 

Like our pals at the sausage roll place, we’ve been expecting you. Don’t worry Piers, you can still get McNuggets in your Happy Meal!

There’s no news that this “progressive” Happy Meal is coming to the U.S. 

It seems clear, though, that competitors will worry that McDonald’s is suddenly making itself acceptable to the audience of the concerned.

I leave (almost) the last words to McDonald’s.

After all, the most important thing here is that kids actually like its greener happiness. So yes, there’s a toy involved too:

We’ve teamed up with Pokemon to bring you a little bit of fun in every box. Plus, you can now choose a Fruit Bag instead of Fries.

Yes, a Pokemon toy and a Fruit Bag instead of Fries.

What more could a child of tomorrow want?

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Got a McDonald's or Burger King Coupon? Here's the Smart, Surprising Thing to Do With It. (You Only Have 3 Days)
December 29, 2018 6:01 am|Comments (0)

This is a story about a smaller restaurant chain trolling McDonald’s, Burger King, and other giants of the business. And it’s kind of brilliant. Before the details, a quick explanation.

The fast food industry is a smart and fun one to follow no matter what business you’re in, and for two big reasons.

First, there’s the pure scale. Make a menu change at McDonald’s for example, and you’re upending the routines of hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans. You can learn a lot just by watching how they develop and test new products.

But second, there’s the marketing.

Think of McDonald’s, which spends $ 2 billion a year on marketing and ads. That’s half the entire value of its much smaller competitor, Wendy’s. It’s an incredible chance just to unpack what they do, and figure out why they think that various ideas will work.

Which brings us to some shoot-the-moon marketing campaigns that can actually turn the big chains’ efforts on their heads.

The only catch? You had to place the order from a McDonald’s restaurant. (Technically, just being within 600 feet was close enough to trigger the offer.)

Of course, Burger King isn’t small; just smaller than McDonald’s. But it shows how if you’re creative, you can use a competitor’s strength–in that case the fact that there are roughly twice as many McDonald’s in the U.S. than there are Burger King locations–to your advantage.

But what if you don’t have 1.7 million Twitter followers and a full time social media marketing operation, like Burger King, to get word of your deal out.?

What if you don’t even have a mobile app (or a burning desire to get people to download your app, which is what the Burger King promotion and so many others these days are all about)?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Smoothie King.

Again: not exactly tiny, although very small compared to McDonald’s and Burger King. Smoothie King has close to 800 stores, heavily concentrated in warmer weather parts of the country.

It’s privately held, and even if you’ve never tried it, you might recognize the name from the $ 40 million naming deal it has for the NBA New Orleans Pelicans home arena (“Smoothie King Center“).

Now, like its bigger competitors, Smoothie King also has a rewards app, and it’s launched a contest to try to incentivize people to download and use it. (The “Change-a-Meal Challenge.”)  

But what attracted me to this whole thing is how Smoothie King is kicking off its promotion: By letting you use any coupon from any other fast food restaurant — McDonald’s or Burger King included — at Smoothie King.

It’s good for only one day, New Year’s Eve, and regardless of the competitor’s coupon’s value, it gets you $ 2 off a smoothie at Smoothie King on December 31.

And in truth, I don’t know how many people would take advantage of it. But that doesn’t really matter in a way; what matters in this social media age is whether you can find a truthful, fun way to troll your competitors and turn their strengths to your advangage.

As a marketing strategy, I think it’s brilliant.

As for the Smoothies, well, I don’t know. I’m writing this from New Hampshire, and it looks like the nearest Smoothie King would be a three hour drive away. You’ll have to let me know in the comments.

Tech

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Burger King Just Did Something Amazing Purely To Help McDonald's (Or Did It?)
November 27, 2017 12:12 am|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It was a day like any other.

Customers streamed into Burger King and asked for a Whopper.

Except this wasn’t a day like any other, because Burger King’s staff told their customers that, on this particular day, they weren’t selling Whoppers.

Some customers were angry. Some even used extremely flame-grilled words. 

What on earth was going on?

This was November 10 in Argentina. McDonald’s had designated this day as McHappy Day. 

On McHappy Day, all the money made from selling Big Macs was given to kids suffering from cancer.

So in every one of the 107 Burger Kings in Argentina, staff were instructed not to sell Whoppers and to direct customers to their nearest McDonald’s in order to buy a Big Mac.

It felt so public-spirited and many were seemingly impressed.

Burger King was, though, walking an extremely thin line here.

By making a video of its apparent good-heartedness, it was clearly trying to pat itself on the commercial back.

In the video, you might notice one Burger King employee make a disparaging comment about McDonald’s: “The place where they don’t flame-grill their burgers.”

Moreover, the sight of Burger King’s King character going to McDonald’s to buy a Big Mac smacked of, well, marketing.

Clever marketing, you might think. But marketing, all the same.

Burger King could have simply made a donation of its own to the good cause. It might have decided to give all the profits from Whopper sales to the same charities as McDonald’s.

Instead, some might conclude that it piggybacked more overtly on McDonald’s day.

This isn’t the first time that Burger King has tried to engage with its larger rival.

A couple of years ago in New Zealand, Burger King suggested that it and McDonald’s share a Peace Day and jointly create a McWhopper.

At first, McDonald’s wasn’t moved. And then, it still wasn’t moved, but created its own campaign to help refugees. 

Who benefited most? Well, Burger King enjoyed worldwide publicity.

It also won a lot of awards from the advertising industry for its idea.

Some good deeds are just that. Others, well, there’s a gray area.

Especially when there’s marketing involved.

Tech

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