In my previous post, I suggested one of the reasons why McDonald’s sales was decreasing was the fact of a strengthening economy. With McDonald’s food seen as an inferior good, customers are driving away from fast-unhealthy food to casual dining restaurants. Larry Light gave some insights in a WSJ report as to how to revive McDonald’s. While I agree with most of the suggestions and new strategies, I believe the new fundamentals of turning the company around is with its marketing strategies.
With his main point on advising McDonald’s to focus on the fundamentals, I simply think that is not enough. Light believes that after fixing all the problems like food taste, internal management, etc, sales will naturally flow in. I agree that these are essential steps to change the direction back to the right path, but it ultimately lies in McDonald’s marketing that can make the real difference. The average consumer is just not the same as 50 years ago. There are a lot more that they will consider first than to just drive up to buy a meal. With the world becoming more health conscious, McDonald’s needs to change its image of their food.
I am not saying they have to introduce new healthy items to attract new customers. They do not need to copy Chipotle’s customization food to keep up with the latest trends. In fact, these strategies have already been proven to cause chaos within employees and decrease their efficiency as a whole. However, they do need to create a healthy halo that will make customers believe eating a Big Mac is just as healthy as eating a chicken burrito. It is reported in a WSJ post that the rise GMO-free crops are evident and it is because US consumers are looking for food that is healthier and friendlier to the environment.
Furthermore, they have to use what they do best to their advantage: a quick, tasty meal during anytime of the day. McDonald’s competitive advantage to Burger King, Taco Bell, Chipotle, etc is their 24-hr drive through. When you are looking for something to fill your hunger during your all-nighter, McDonald’s is a go-to choice. In order to fully utilize this advantage, the key is to market to the right people. Only if they are able to have a market campaign that shows their food is moving towards the right direction with an emphasis on what they already do best, will they be able to turn their sales around. While Larry Light provided a lot of true facts about why McDonald’s is not doing well, his suggestions of how to fix their problem is missing this key component.