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Opinion - The Business Strategy Behind McDonald’s Menu Makeover

Opinion - The Business Strategy Behind McDonald’s Menu Makeover

Posted by Stelios on 18th May 2024

As a supplier to the fish and chip industry and a fervent advocate for both business growth and iconic business models like McDonald's, I have been closely observing the strategic moves of the Golden Arches. Recently, they embarked on a significant journey not by expanding their menu but rather by refining their classic burgers—an approach that speaks volumes.

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On December 3rd, 2023, we highlighted McDonald's proactive efforts to improve their existing burger offerings. They've introduced smaller batches of cooking for beef patties to achieve a more even sear and to make them fresher, increased the amount of their special sauce, and enhanced the quality of lettuce, cheese, and pickles to ensure a fresher taste and superior melt. These meticulous enhancements, far from reacting to competition, are a proactive step to align with consumer expectations. This proactive approach is something I find inspiring.

One strategic move that I find interesting is McDonald's proactive approach to product improvement. Despite its already bustling business, McDonald's does not rest on its laurels. It plans years ahead, aiming to stay ahead of trends rather than scramble in reaction. This strategic foresight is a lesson that many businesses, myself included, could learn from and implement in our operations.

The ethos of not merely reacting to downturns but preemptively enhancing the business resonates deeply with me. Many view McDonald's as a competitor in the fish and chip sector, where competition is equally fierce. However, I see them as a mentor in disguise. Their success is not due to luck but to a steadfast commitment to quality, consistency and volume, catering to a specific market segment without attempting to be something they're not.

McDonald's "Best Burger" campaign, celebrating 50 years in the UK, has been their biggest revamp since 1974. It introduces juicier patties, toastier buns, and meltier cheese, with significant changes like adding onions directly on the grill for added flavour and redesigning buns to ensure they toast longer for that perfect bite. These innovations aren't just for show—they're about enhancing the sensory experience of their food.

McDonald's marketing genius in promoting these changes, including social media campaigns and interactive pop-ups in central London, offers critical lessons in customer engagement and experience. Their approach goes beyond traditional advertising, creating an immersive experience that makes each visit memorable.

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To me, McDonald's represents more than just a fast food giant; they are a case study in operational excellence and customer-centric innovation. Their recent campaign is not merely about selling more burgers but refining an experience, ensuring that every burger sold meets increasingly high quality and satisfaction standards. I aspire to emulate this in my business—focusing on quality, consistency, and customer experience to drive growth.

In conclusion, as much as McDonald's might be seen as the Goliath to my industry's David, I admire their strategy and innovation. There is much to learn from their focus on perfecting the fundamentals and enhancing customer experience. The fish and chip industry could benefit from adopting a similar focus, ensuring that what we offer isn't just food but an experience worth returning.