Mayor McCheese. The Hamburglar. Grimace. And of course, Ronald McDonald. The mere mention of these characters invoke wonderful memories of my childhood, when my family would pile into the car and head out for our monthly meal at McDonald’s. This was around 1966, and we had to drive a few towns over to get to one, as this was before the Golden Arches spread to every nook and cranny across the country (and the world). And even today, when I hear the words ‘hamburger and french fries’ I immediately think of McDonald’s. In my mind, they practically invented two of my favorite foods.
So it is with a heavy heart that I read the current news about McDonald’s. Some people ask ‘how can it be saved?’, ‘how can they compete?’, and when I see what McDonald’s has turned into, and I’m talking just about the architecture of their buildings today, I have to admit that I don’t even know what a McDonald’s is anymore. I mean, look at the pictures above. On the left is Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s franchise. It has a distinct look. Now look at the middle photo, of a current McDonald’s building. What the heck is it? A Panera? A Chipolte’s? I don’t even recognize the brand anymore. Luckily, some franchises still have the original ‘look’, as evidenced by the building on the far right.
I don’t get it. McDonald’s has a rich history they could be flaunting. They are like the original Johnny Rocket’s. Yet they don’t play up that angle at all. Now I understand that things change and evolve. But what if Mickey D’s went back to their roots; concentrated on making great burgers, real ice-cream shakes, and those fries that can’t be beat. Okay, throw in McCafe and all day breakfast, they are big sellers. But do something, have something, that makes McDonald’s unique; a destination, perhaps.
One of my favorite hamburger joints is Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Looks like a 1950’s diner (though I wasn’t around then to ever see one!). You can sit at the counter, watch your hamburger or ice cream shake/float being made, and the place is packed to the rafters. Are you telling me McDonald’s couldn’t do this with the right strategy?
I realize to make a successful change, many things need to be addressed; prices, food quality, service, menu options, etc. So this post is just about the ‘look’. If we can draw enough people to the blog, we’ll have future posts about the other aspects of its business that McDonald’s will need to address. Vote below and please leave your comments.