Bye Bye Big Mac

“In ten years’ time, there won’t be a Big Mac,” said Greg Solomon, MD of McDonald’s SA.

Bye Bye Big Mac

Speaking about the evolution and growth of McDonald’s as a single restaurant in 1940, to a global brand of over 33 000 restaurants serving 65 million customers a day, that statement came as something of a surprise.

The life of the Big Mac

Introduced in 1968, the Big Mac is one of the company’s signature products. In the early 2000s McDonald’s received a lot of heat from press and came under pressure from the public about its contribution to increasing obesity and heart disease stats, and the company’s impact on the environment through cattle farming.

But Solomon’s insight about the Big Mac bowing-out is based on this reasoning: “What worked to get you here over ten years won’t always work for the next ten years.” With growing interest in healthier options and more sophisticated menu options being demanded from quick service restaurants, putting the old favourite out to pasture starts making a lot more sense.

Adapt or die

In the highly competitive fast-casual dining sphere, quick serves are under constant pressure to meet the demands of an evolving customer base. This means revamping interiors to sleek, modern tastes, with flat screen TVs and WiFi, as well as healthy, fresh food and drink offerings.

Darren Tristano, executive VP of US food and foodservice consulting firm, says, “Consumers are looking for fresh, better-quality ingredients, along with contemporary décor and ambiance to enhance the customer experience.”

Some examples of international menu modifications to cater to these consumer needs are Taco bell teaming up with celebrity chef, Lorena Garcia to produce gourmet bowls and burritos, and upscale the menu. Burger King has recently launched a Premium Chicken Menu, while McDonald’s is focusing on upgrading both menu and stores.

Time to prepare

Fans of the Big Mac needn’t panic just yet. While it’s routine for quick serves to upgrade their look and menus, these largely occur on an incremental basis, by which time you will have found a new and healthier offering on their menu to take it’s place.

Franchise Zone
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Franchise Zone is published by Entrepreneur Media SA. It offers advice and franchising opportunities in South Africa.

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