The first fast food restaurant in the world called White Castle opened in 1921 in Kansas. In this place, the visitors were offered an unusual meal — a hamburger that was so cheap that it was both very attractive and at the same time suspicious. In order to dispel doubts about this bun with a piece of meat inside, the owner used a smart trick: he hired people that wore white jackets and went into the restaurant. He wanted to make other people think that even doctors ate hamburgers. In the 1940s, White Castle encountered a competitor — McDonald’s that almost instantly conquered the entire fast food market and became one of the most famous trademarks in the world.
The Elite Indian has written about the different features of McDonald’s, but this time we decided to dig deeper and find out why this company had such amazing success.
A bit of history
McDonald’s was founded by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald in 1940. 14 years later, businessman Ray Kroc bought the exclusive franchise and 80% of the restaurants from the brand worked this way. In 1959, there were hundreds of the restaurants and several years later, Kroc paid $2.7 million to the founders and became the only owner of the trademark.
In the beginning of the 1960s, Croc’s company created a logo that was later recognized all around the world — a yellow M. Also, the company presented its official mascot to the public — a clown named Ronald. Also, in 1963, the billionth hamburger was sold.
At the moment, there are more than 38,000 McDonald’s restaurants around the world.
Focusing on itself
Despite the fact that competitors and other brands often try to attack McDonald’s in different ways, the company rarely responds. The most popular fast food restaurant never starts their marketing wars first, saying that they don’t need to prove that they are the best: it’s an obvious fact.
If a child loves it, their mother will too.
Thanks to the Happy Meal, the company has become the biggest toy seller in the world. According to statistics, they sell more than 1.5 billion toys annually — this is more than Mattel and Hasbro sell.
Several years ago, the company did a study and found out that more than 80% of children aged 6-7 will choose McDonald’s over other places, because they like getting a toy together with their food. In 2014, the company spent more than $3 billion on renovations in their restaurants, where they made the child play areas bigger to attract more children and their parents.
Even though McDonald’s sometimes drops the price for certain meals and products, you will never see or hear the word discount in their commercials. This is because this word is often associated with low-quality products and may cause doubts in the quality of their hamburgers and nuggets.
They turned fast food into science.
In 1961, the corporation opened the Hamburger University, whose offices work around the world. The university educates managers that can then work in any restaurant on the planet and it doesn’t matter where they studied. This helps the company to achieve the highest qualifications for their managers and follow the same standards in all restaurants, for example in the US, Russia, or the Philippines.
It is difficult to say that McDonald’s sells cheap food, but the price is not very high. They found the happy medium and they killed 2 birds with one stone: if the price was too low, it would make people suspicious about the quality of the ingredients and if the price was too high, it would scare away a significant part of their potential customers.
Comfort and convenience
In the past, the main goal of the restaurant was to make the customer eat as fast as possible and make room for new visitors, but today the strategy is different: the restaurants have free Wi-Fi access and power outlets for charging your devices and the uncomfortable plastic chairs are being replaced with comfy couches.
That famous flavor and taste
We are sure that everyone knows that smell that you can sense a dozen feet away from their restaurants. The company has never confirmed or denied insinuations that they use different smells around the outside of their establishments, but the fact still stands: no matter what country you are in, the smell will always be the same. Also, the same smell, even though it is not as sharp, can be sensed in almost every meal.
And if you order French fries in any restaurant, whether it be in Italy or China, the taste will be exactly the same. This is the company’s way of making travelers feel as if they are at home, no matter where they are.
You will recognize him anywhere
The 2 yellow arcs that anyone who has been to McDonald’s at least once is familiar with, are the most recognized symbol in the world. During a survey, only 54% recognized a Catholic cross, while 90% recognized the logo of McDonald’s.
The famous motto, “I’m lovin’ it,” that appeared in 2003, became so popular that it is even used in everyday language now, even though it is grammatically wrong. And it’s the fact that it is wrong that makes the motto even more emotional and attractive.
Another symbol of the company, the clown Ronald McDonald is the second most recognized fictional character among American school students, second only to Santa Claus.
Keep up with the times
The company quickly reacts to all market changes and McDonald’s is totally okay with borrowing some of the tricks of their competitors: for example, when, in 2016, their sales dropped, the company started doing delivery to homes that other companies had started doing way before.
Also, McDonald’s is not afraid of using the tricks that are believed to be outdated. In many of their restaurants, there are waiters now, even though the whole world has a tendency toward the automatization of service. The strategy of McDonald’s is to make visitors as comfortable as possible, and according to the company, the revenue from this innovation will surpass the cost of the waiters’ salaries.
Ability to adapt
McDonald’s restaurants are open in more than 100 countries around the world. Despite the fact that the basic menu is always the same and you can order a Big Mac, a hamburger, and French fries anywhere in the world, there are always some meals that have been adapted to the local traditions and tastes.
For example, in Israel, there are kosher meals, and in China, they don’t use chicken breasts in hamburgers because the Chinese don’t usually eat this part of the chicken. And in Japanese restaurants, the sizes of the meals are smaller — because the Japanese eat less food than the people from the West.
They know what we will order
In March 2019, the company bought an Israeli startup that will enable artificial intelligence to predict the desires of the guests depending on the weather, time of day, lines, and even based on the preferences of the customers of the neighboring food places. Besides, in the near future, McDonald’s is planning to use the recognition of license plates that will allow them to memorize the orders of clients in the drive-thrus.
In the right place at the right time
Even though the location of 90% of McDonald’s restaurants and franchises are determined by the managers of the corporation — very often, they also pay for the construction. The company chooses the locations that have a lot of traffic — like street corners and the intersections of big streets.
The company really values its reputation: according to the company’s terms, only a person with a perfect business reputation can become the owner of a franchise. Besides, right after the restaurant is opened, the owner will have to take part in all of the charity programs of McDonald’s and there are quite a lot of them, because the company is always helping people in need.
Bonus: Stories from users
- Once, I got an order for a triple cheeseburger but without buns and without any filling. I checked it several times and I ended up giving the customer an empty box. He explained that he had his own personal reasons for this order, but he didn’t tell me what they were. © Ryan Turner / Quora
- I grew up in a small town near Moscow. Once, I went into Moscow to go to McDonald’s. As we all know, the most important thing that McDonald’s has is a big, clean, and well-lit toilet. When I was leaving it, I saw a piece of paper which had a list of last names with times and signatures. At the time, I didn’t know that it was a cleaning schedule, so I did the first thing that came to my mind: I wrote my name, the time of my visit, and signed it. Now, I laugh when I imagine the faces of the employees who found it. © ctin / Pikabu
What fast food restaurant do you prefer? Or do you not go to these places at all? Tell us in the comment section below!
Preview photo credit Ryan Turner / quora