10 Reasons Why McDonald’s Has Been So Successful For So Long
Whether you’re a fast food junkie or a health fanatic, you’ve likely eaten at or at least seen a McDonald’s restaurant in your lifetime. From cartoons Rick and Morty to global news channels, there’s no way you can escape the Golden Arches — but what made this burger chain so successful? Find out with this list of 10 Reasons Why McDonald’s Has Been In Business For So Long!
10. They’ve Been Consistent
Part of the reason why McDonald’s has a universal appeal is the fact that things stay pretty much the same with each location. No matter where in the world you are — whether it’s New York City, Paris, or Hong Kong — you’re likely to get a similar experience at each and every McDonald’s location you visit. This is likely because McDonald’s has a system to ensure that all McDonald’s franchises know how to run the business properly. Alongside specific protocols and safety measures that are similar within each McDonald’s franchise, McDonald’s has even set up a “Hamburger University,” where potential franchise owners can learn the ropes of owning a McDonald’s restaurant of their own. Franchising tycoon, and one of the pillars that is responsible for the success of the Golden Arches, Ray Kroc, insisted that potential franchise owners have a special training program that taught his motto of quality, service, cleanliness, and value. This seems to have worked in the restaurant’s favor, as McDonald’s has become a favorite for customers of all ages. Because of the rigid consistency that exists in every location, people know exactly what to expect when they pull up to the drive-thru window, which is one of the most important factors in maintaining a successful business. Through maintaining consistency with what matters most across each and every franchise location, McDonald’s has managed to build a nearly impenetrable foundation that won’t be cracking anytime soon.
9. They’re Always Innovating
Any businessperson would agree that coming up with new ways to solve problems and making the customer’s experience more efficient and enjoyable is key in order to maintaining a successful business, especially in the food industry. Though this may sound counterintuitive when pitted against the consistency mentioned earlier, McDonald’s has mastered the art of keeping their core values and aesthetics the same while still coming up with fresh new ideas that customers in different areas can enjoy. From specialized machines that make drive-thru service quicker to creative menu options that differ by location, McDonald’s has mastered how to innovate the inner workings of their restaurants to maintain a well-oiled machine that operates on a global scale. That isn’t to say they haven’t had their shortcomings, though; with what appears to be endless articles highlighting the shortcomings of McDonald’s, there’s always room for improvement. However, it seems like McDonald’s has a track record of taking note of what works and what doesn’t, as they’ve always been willing to take their customers’ feedback into account and fix what may not be working as well as it should. A great example of this occurred in 1975, when a group of soldiers lamented that they weren’t able to leave their vehicles when wearing their fatigues, but still wanted McDonald’s. Taking their problem into consideration, McDonald’s came up with a perfect fix: adding a drive-thru. The first McDonald’s drive-thru was in Arizona, but other franchises quickly followed in its footsteps, adding the new and convenient idea to their own restaurants. McDonald’s ability to problem-solve quickly to offer a better customer experience is part of what has made them so successful for more than 60 years.
8. They Know How to Deal With Controversy
Like any other fast-food chain, McDonald’s has been involved in their fair share of controversy and negative press. Luckily, they have always taken a professional approach when addressing the public’s concerns, and have even changed their methods in order to keep their customers happy. A great example of this was when environmental activists in the 1980s discussed how food that was packaged for McDonald’s wasn’t good for the planet. They claimed that the processes involved in production and packaging of food products was contributing to the destruction of rainforests – a common critique of many big fast-food companies. McDonald’s took initiative to address the situation by establishing a Global Environment Commitment in 1990, which listed the ways in which McDonald’s would be changing some protocols in order to reduce waste, protect natural resources that are at risk of being depleted, and encouraging their customers to do their part in protecting the earth. As a result, more than 80% of McDonald’s packaging is now made from renewable material, which has made a big difference in the restaurant’s environmental footprint. Being such a big company means that McDonald’s has certain responsibilities to uphold, and they have always been more than willing to address their customers’ concerns and take the big steps to improve.
7. They’ve Embraced Technology
With technology constantly evolving, it can be hard for some companies to keep up, which may lead to their methods of service being outdated and lacking the efficiency that comes with embracing modern solutions. However, McDonald’s has proven themselves to be a business that enjoys taking on tech, as they hold equity stakes in several technology companies. They’ve used these acquisitions to their advantage, incorporating futuristic inventions such as AI into their drive-thrus and automated order kiosks. You’ve probably noticed in recent years that McDonald’s has been adding touch-screen kiosks inside their outlets for quick and easy ordering – similar to the self-checkouts you’d see in Target or Walmart. This is a prime example of how McDonald’s is embracing change not only on the corporate level, but in ways that even the most casual customer will be able to notice. They’ve also made it possible to give potential employees access to applications through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, making it easier to complete a process that is sometimes tedious for people who are looking for a job. So far, this easy application process is only available in a few countries, but McDonald’s has plans to expand it further and make it even easier for people worldwide to work at one of their restaurant franchises.
6. They Know How To Make Fast Food An Experience
Alongside the actual food products, branding and marketing is key in maintaining a strong customer base, and McDonald’s knows exactly how to keep consumers coming back for more. With the Golden Arches being a universally recognizable symbol, McDonald’s knows how to brand themselves in a way that will make them stand out no matter where they’re located. Not only that, their branding hasn’t changed all that much in their 65 years of business, meaning that it often has a nostalgic tie to those who grew up eating McDonald’s. Whenever we see a kid order a Happy Meal, we can’t help but remember the joy that came with getting one when we were kids, which is a great way for McDonald’s to keep an emotional tie to their customers. People who have built a more emotional relationship with McDonald’s as a brand due to childhood nostalgia are more likely to continue returning to the restaurant, which helps McDonald’s maintain strong consumer loyalty. Though McDonald’s is definitely a child-friendly restaurant, their appeal extends further than young children – the “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan and welcoming atmosphere upon entering a McDonald’s makes it feel suitable for both children and adults, extending the possible market further than dedicated child or adult-targeted spaces. McDonald’s universally appealing branding and emotional connection to many of our childhoods are part of what will continue to make them a successful company for years to come.
5. They Can Sell You On More Than One Item
One of the vital and often overlooked parts of running a business is being able to sell not only one, but multiple items in tandem with one another. By selling more than one item to each customer, McDonald’s is able to get more money from each customer to keep their business afloat. You might not think much about upgrading your meal from a simple sandwich to a combo with fries and a drink, but that simple upgrade shows how McDonald’s is managing to cross-sell their menu items, encouraging you to spend a little bit more for what seems to be a great deal. Another success story that involves cross-selling items can be found on Amazon, another huge and successful company that has taken online shopping to new heights. With features such as “frequently bought together” and spending minimums for free shipping, Amazon has perfected the art of the cross-sell, with customers worldwide wanting to fill up their carts with more than what they intended to buy initially. Seeing as two of the most powerful corporations in the world have adopted this technique, it definitely isn’t something that can be overlooked by ambitious potential business owners. The McDonald’s combo may seem like a part of everyday life – who doesn’t want to upgrade to add fries and a drink? – but the combo itself is a way for McDonald’s to sell you items that you likely wouldn’t have bought if the option wasn’t available.
4. McDonald’s Takes Risks
It can be a bit scary to risk money on a bold new menu item, but McDonald’s hasn’t shied away from doing so in the past. Always looking for the next big thing, McDonald’s has made a few risky decisions concerning their menu that have actually turned out to be beneficial for their entire brand. With their original menu consisting only of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, shakes, and soft drinks, items like Chicken McNuggets or the Filet o’ Fish were considered big changes from what they originally served, and McDonald’s has since seen massive success with these new additions. These risks don’t always pay off, however; with unforgettable disasters such as the McLobster or McPizza making history as some of McDonald’s biggest flops, there are bound to be a few bad apples in the bunch. Luckily, McDonald’s have been able to pick themselves back up from these failures and try, try again. Besides, publicity on the commercial failure of these items isn’t going to put much of a dent in McDonald’s reputation, seeing as they always have several other successful items for customers to choose from. If anything, these risks gone wrong only offer this global powerhouse more publicity. With most of these risky endeavors proving to give McDonald’s success, publicity, or both, it doesn’t seem like the Golden Arches will be playing it safe anytime soon.
3. They Know How To Give Back
With companies as big as McDonald’s, most people expect them to use their massive profits to give back to communities in need, and they’ve definitely delivered. The most notable of their philanthropic endeavors is the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which helps keep families with sick children together. With more than seven thousand Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide, this charity is making a difference on a global scale. However, McDonald’s didn’t stop there: they’ve also made waves with their college scholarships, which have helped numerous potential students attend college who may not have had the funds to do so on their own. These programs are just a few of the ways that McDonald’s gives back to those in need, which has made them appear a lot more than a company in the public eye. Companies like McDonald’s are often so big that they appear more like machines than they do humans, but the fact that McDonald’s is offering so much help to these communities shows the humanity behind such a huge corporation. Not only that, but showing the same values as their customers will help maintain a loyal and vocal customer base, helping the company relate and maintain sales. Creating an emotional bond with customers is key in order to keep them coming back to your business, and McDonald’s has managed to do this while also doing good for the world in the process. This makes philanthropy not only important for those in need, but also a necessary step for large companies in order to keep up their good business practices.
2. Employees Learn Vital Skills
McDonald’s is often a lot of people’s first-ever job, which can hold a lot of weight for people who are learning the ropes of the food industry. Though a job in the kitchen at McDonald’s doesn’t seem very glamorous, a lot of the people who started at McDonald’s have ended up going on to great careers, citing McDonald’s as the place where they learned the fundamental etiquette that comes with entering the workforce. A congresswoman from Ohio, Marcia Fudge, describes how McDonald’s gave her the problem-solving skills and thick skin she needed in order to succeed not only in the McDonald’s kitchen, but in politics. McDonald’s also allows leadership roles in their restaurants to give each employee the opportunity to succeed. A former McDonald’s store manager – who has since gone on to work under former president George Bush – recalled that, during his time at the restaurant chain, he would pay close attention to how each employee worked at their position, and would oftentimes move them to one area or another if it meant they would succeed more in a certain spot. The willingness McDonald’s shows for its personnel to succeed are part of what makes it such a good company to start working for – and part of the reason why they’ve maintained a track record as being a great first job for teenagers and young adults.
1. Employees Can Earn Their Way To The Top
Since McDonald’s employees are encouraged by their managers to do what will make them the most successful, it should come as no surprise that McDonald’s allows employees to work their way up to bigger positions if they do well. A whopping 40% of McDonald’s executives started off as kitchen employees, but were rewarded for their dedication and hard work and eventually moved up to McDonald’s corporate sphere. Not only does this motivate employees at McDonald’s franchises to do their best work, it also reduces turnover – meaning that McDonald’s doesn’t lose as many employees annually by using this system. Not only that, but the fact that many of the corporate execs have started out flipping burgers means they know the company inside and out, and allows them to understand the experiences that come with being in the customer service industry. With consistent efforts being made to emphasize their core values both in restaurants and on the corporate level, each McDonald’s employee knows what they’re working for. This means that, no matter the position on the McDonald’s job hierarchy, workers can feel like they share an important vision that unifies them and allows them to work together harmoniously.