A Page From McDonald’s Playbook: Is Less More?

 

McDonald’s is working to improve business, as competition gets tougher, consumers’ food preferences have shifted, and recent marketing attempts were not as successful as they would like.

On their most recent investor call, it was revealed that the company is planning to streamline their menu, offering less value meal options than they currently do. There was not a specific indication of which meals will be getting the ax, but they are currently testing a new menu system in select markets. As the bulk of sales are coming from a small set of value meals, and reducing the number of menu items may increase speed of service, this move makes sense.

Another avenue that they are working toward is a more customer focused experience, “Create Your Taste.” This platform will allow customers to customize their burgers and chicken sandwiches as a premium menu offering.

The video below offers some insight into this newest concept – it sounds like it will only be available in store (the drive through component may be added at a later time, but the implications seem to be a detriment, at least to me) and their hope is that the Millennials will embrace this new technology and increase the company’s foot traffic.

 

Will these new changes bring the results they want?

I think the streamlined menu will be helpful – less can be more. And, if these changes bring it “back to the basics” and increase speed of service, it can be very successful. Adding the “create your taste” component, however, makes me feel less hopeful.

In the video, it’s explained that while there will be a longer wait time to receive orders (approximately 5-7 minutes), customers won’t mind because they can sit at a table, listening to music or using their smartphone, while they wait. At least that’s the anticipated response from the company.

Personally, while I do hope its successful, I think that adding this “premium” component may initially attract interest and some foot traffic that is either new or from customers who haven’t visited McDonald’s in a long time, for the long term I think it’s going to become a stalemate.

I do think it’s interesting that McDonald’s is releasing these two changes at once since they seem to contradict each other – one touts increased speed of service and a more streamlined menu while the other offers way more options and a longer speed of service. They may find that one piece is a huge success and the other isn’t, or, because they are geared toward different customer sets, both come out as winners. Only time will tell.

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