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10 Reasons Why McDonald’s Is So Popular (Besides The Big Mac)

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10 Reasons Why McDonald’s Is So Popular (Besides The Big Mac)

Big Macs are great, but they aren’t the only reason why McDonald’s stays popular, year in and year out. This fast food chain definitely fills a need in the marketplace, which goes way beyond offering signature burgers with special sauce. Read on to find out why McDonald’s is so successful.

10. The Prices Are Low

With the $1 $2 $3 dollar menu, McDonald’s fans can indulge without taking a big bite out of their budgets. This menu is designed to draw customers in, due to its impressive affordability. Some parents opt to feed their kids from this menu, rather than buying them Happy Meals, because they consider it more cost-effective. Items on the $1 $2 $3 menu change from time to time, As of May 2019, based on information from the official USA McDonald’s website, any size soft drinks are available for just a dollar and small specialty McCafe beverages may be purchased for just a couple of bucks. $1 $2 $3 dollar menu items vary by location, so check and see what’s on offer at your local McDonald’s restaurants. There are also Extra Value Meals, which keep customers coming back. For breakfast, there are McMuffin, McGriddle and Biscuit combos, plus a 2-burrito meal. Breakfast Extra Value Meals come with crispy Hash Browns and small McCafe coffees. For any other time of the day, there are 8 combo meals to choose from, including  2-Cheeseburger meals, Filet-O-Fish meals, Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich meals and so much more. Some locations may not offer all of these Extra Value Meals late at night. The late night menu has been trimmed down a bit, because McDonald’s now wants to focus on offering items that its team members can prepare quickly. Everything at McDonald’s is pretty affordable. The regular menu doesn’t cost too much and the $1 $2 $3 dollar menu and Extra Value Meals are definitely budget-friendly. This restaurant garners customer loyalty by offering filling food and tasty drinks that don’t cost very much money. 

9. There Are Tons Of Franchises

McDonald’s was the brainchild of a couple of brothers from New Hampshire, USA, but it didn’t really take off until a man named Ray Kroc, who was a traveling salesman, convinced the two bros to sell franchises during the 1950s. This fascinating story of epic business success was told in the Netflix biopic, “Founder”. Today, there are almost 37, 000 Mickey D’s franchises in one hundred nations. According to Franchisehelp.com, anyone who wants to own one of these franchises will need between a million and two-point-two million bucks, plus extra liquid capital. McDonalds.com states that franchise buyers must put down one-quarter of the cost of restaurants in cold, hard cash. The balance may be financed for up to seven years. McDonald’s doesn’t provide financing options, but recommends lenders that the fast food chain has relationships with. These lenders offer attractive interest rates to franchise buyers, because the lenders want to keep their business relationships with McDonald’s strong and positive. So, how much do franchise owners make per year? That’s an interesting questions, right? Reference.com reports that most McDonald’s franchises rake in between half a million and one million dollars annually. Established McDonald’s franchises in America, which have been in business for 12 months or longer, may make as much as 2.6 million dollars per year. Chick-Fil-A franchises actually out-earn McDonald’s franchises, but most Mickey D’s franchises are still lucrative businesses.

8. Food Safety and Food Quality Is Really Consistent

McDonald’s approach to food safety and food quality is science-based and really rigorous. This fast food giant doesn’t mess around when it comes to ensuring the ultimate in food safety and quality. Since Mickey D’s rakes in billions in income every single year, it’s no surprise that food safety is one of the secrets of this fast food chain’s success. People need to trust the restaurants that they patronize. They need to believe in food safety and food quality in order to keep coming back. Most McDonald’s customers do believe in the restaurant’s food safety and quality. They should, because McDonald’s has a quality assurance and food safety program that it at the core of its business operations. It’s considered priority one by the fast food chain’s corporate VIPs. Franchise owners and suppliers need to adhere to tough food safety and quality guidelines in order to continue doing business with McDonald’s Corp. Succeeding in the world of fast food is all about offering consistency. Customers want a great and predictable experience each and every time. To give an example of how McDonald’s cares about food safety and quality, let’s look at the buns that are used to make Mickey D’s burgers. To get these sandwich buns, McDonald’s has built business relationships with twenty bakeries in America. These bakeries need to produce sandwich buns that have the same color, taste, size and texture. Buns cannot deviate from the norm. The bakeries that produce these buns need to worry about more than the uniformity of their baked sandwich buns. They also need to worry about food safety. Food safety guidelines are very rigorous. Every established fast food chain is going to have some food safety problems over the years and decades. McDonald’s has. During a big 2013 horse meat scandal in the UK, McDonald’s had its burgers tested, voluntarily, and they were deemed one hundred percent free of horse meat. A scandal in China was a little sketchier. It centered on a meat supplier that re-used meat that had fallen onto the floor of the meat-packing facility…and then shipped the meat to China-based McDonald’s and KFC locations. McDonald’s and KFC severed business ties with the supplier in record time. Overall, McDonald’s has a great food safety track record, and the food does tend to taste the same every time.  

7. The Brand Is Strong

We don’t need to roll out a lot of corporate statistics or marketing jargon to underscore the fact that McDonald’s is a strong brand. Everyone knows that this is true. When we think of Mcdonald’s, we see the Golden Arches, or the slightly creepy face of Ronald McDonald, topped by a luxuriant head of unnaturally red hair. We might close our eyes and let images of Grimace and the Hamburglar float through our minds. We might picture kids eating Happy Meals and playing with Happy Meal toys. We might think of McDonald’s PlayPlaces, where children frolic and have raucous birthday parties. We might think of special sauce, or golden French Fries, or Chicken McNuggets with our fave dipping sauces. Maybe we’d mull over the “Billions served” catchphrase. We might dream of the annual Shamrock Shake, with its vanilla creaminess, green hue and hint of minty freshness.  The term, “McLovin’ It”, might come to mind and conjure a smile. It’s a brand with so many distinct marketing messages. McDonald’s is woven into popular culture. It’s embedded in all of our minds, whether we love it or hate it.

6. The Menu Evolves Regularly, But Core Menu Items Remain

McDonald’s is happy to take some risks with its menu sometimes, just to change it up, but it doesn’t ditch its core menu items, because McDonald’s leaders know that people want to eat and drink the core menu items, year after year. You probably aren’t going to see the Quarter Pounder with Cheese removed from the menu, or feel sad because you can’t get an Apple Pie. McDonald’s knows what people want. When the fast food chain plays with the menu, they often do limited-time only menu items, such as McRib Sandwiches, which stir up a bit of desire and drama in their customer base. The beloved McRib was brought back for a limited time in 2018, according to Wnct.com. This Mickey D’s sandwich has been around since the early 80s, but it’s not always available. When it is available, McRib fans flood into McDonald’s locations. The McRib is a good example of how McDonald’s takes risks with its menu, without messing with the classics. The McRib is crafted from boneless pork with seasoning. It features a BBQ-inspired sauce and comes with onions and dill pickles, on a Hoagie bun that has been toasted to perfection. While McDonald’s may not get as crazy and hilarious as Burger King, which offered a Halloween Whopper with a pitch-black bun, which made people produce green poop, and another spooky Whopper that would boost the odds of nightmares, it does offer some interesting menu items sometimes, from Shamrock Shakes to Big Mac Bacon sandwiches to unique dipping sauces for McNuggets, such as Spicy Buffalo. Some menu items linger, while others are fleeting options. McDonald’s added salads, too, and made Happy Meals a bit healthier. This was more about PR, because people don’t really buy the healthiest stuff at McDonald’s too often.

5. The Company Promotes From Within

Allowing people to work their way up the corporate ladder from the bottom rung is a smart business strategy that has helped to keep the McDonald’s fast food chain successful. Anyone who is competent, hard-working and committed to taking the initiative can move up the chain of command at McDonald’s, according to Latimes.com. This company is known to promote from within. A person who made fries one year might be a restaurant manager a few years later. This company makes a point of rewarding its best and brightest by offering them new and better-paying opportunities. The process of promoting from within is definitely good for morale. Employees are usually crestfallen and upset when top jobs are taken by people who aren’t already a part of their companies. Employees love it when they have a shot at jobs that will put them higher on the totem pole. One fun and fascinating fact is that half of all McDonald’s franchise owners were once McDonald’s restaurant employees. Half of senior and middle management once worked at the fast food joints, in entry-level jobs. Clearly, Mcdonald’s has found a business model that keeps employees motivated and pushed them to do their best. McDonald’s also offer scholarships and other incentives. 

4. Charitable Activities Earn McDonald’s Goodwill

Ronald McDonald Houses are sanctuaries where families may be together while children are going through serious health ordeals. The official chairman of Ronald McDonald House facilities is the fast food chain’s lovable clown mascot, Ronald McDonald. This McDonald’s charity helps families with sick kids to access the medical care that is needed. It also provides families with support and comfort at very difficult times in their lives. Right now, there are Ronald McDonald House locations in sixty-four regions and nations all over the world. This charity is known as RMHC for short and it’s meant to give families strength during very rough times. The key programs of this worthy charity are the Ronald McDonald Houses, plus Ronald Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles. Millions of families have been helped by this charity annually. The houses are located near hospitals. They are home-like environments with all of the right resources. The family rooms are found inside of hospitals. The rooms give families a chance to relax while they are at hospitals.  The Care Mobiles bring necessary health services, such as eye exams, to children. You’d have to be pretty cynical to find fault with this charity. It has helped so many families. You can donate to the charity while you are at McDonald’s. One easy way to do it is to to use the computerized kiosks. Order the food you want via the touch screen. Before you pay for your order, you’ll be asked if you want to donate a small amount of money to Ronald McDonald House. Say yes and then feel great about helping families, too.

3. Kids Love The Happy Meals And PlayPlaces

Happy Meals have changed a little bit over the years. There was some negative chatter about the calorie count in earlier Happy Meals. Some meals, such as a now-defunct Cheeseburger Happy Meal, were nixed because they came in at over 600 calories. These was believed to be too many calories in a meal for children. Chocolate milk was also removed as a formal menu item for Happy Meals. Parents can still get cheeseburgers and chocolate milk with Happy Meals if they ask servers for it, but it’s no longer on the official Happy Meal menu. Healthier sides were also added, including yogurt and Apple slices with Caramel Dipping sauce. Water, low-fat milk and juice are now drink options. Toys are still a part of the equation. Kids are able to access fun little toys with their meals. Right now, as of May 2019, it’s Avengers: End Game action figures. McDonald’s PlayPlaces are still very popular and you’ll find them at some, but not all, McDonald’s locations. They include slides and other fun playground-style structures. Kids can blow off steam in PlayPlaces while their parents or caregivers chill out for awhile. 

2. Cross-selling Boosts Order Sizes And Profits

McDonald’s counter staff are encouraged to cross-sell whenever they can, because getting customers to order larger sizes of menu items, such as drinks and fries, or add extra menu items to their orders means more profits for the fast food chain. Cross-selling really works, so don’t blame your server for trying to push you into ordering more than you wanted. Your server is just following orders. McDonald’s knows how to generate more profits through cross-selling and trains its staff in the art and science of effective cross-selling. Even the automated ordering kiosks are programmed to suggest other menu options which might be the perfect finishing touches.

1. Menus Are Customized To Suit Different Areas

McDonald’s menus vary depending on national and regional tastes. In Asia, rice dishes might be on the menu. In Japan, the Diner Double Beef burger is available, which features a couple of beef patties, an egg cooked sunny-side-up, onion, pepper steak sauce and cheese. People are so fascinated by international McDonald’s menu items that McDonald’s recently announced its intention to add World Favorites to its American menus. That’s exciting and novel, isn’t it? According to the Businessinsider.com website, the new international menu items will be rolled out at USA Mickey D’s locations during the summer. Examples of awesome international menu items to anticipate include Spain’s Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger and a Dutch Stroopwafel McFlurry. While these new menu items are going to generate a lot of excitement and media buzz, there is bad news, too. McDonald’s will stop selling “Signature Crafted” burgers. These upscale menu items just weren’t resonating with customers. McDonald’s plays around with its menu, but doesn’t stop doling out the classics. This fast food chain is a slick and efficient machine that is all about pleasing customers. 

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