McDonald’s reported dismal quarterly financial results earlier this week, as it contends with price hikes on ingredients and labor, along with nagging questions about its food quality, which are pushing its customers to better deals or fresher options from its competitors. McDonald’s still commands a huge “middle” between such alternatives, but it’s starting to look more like a muddle.
It’s hard to remember, but McDonald’s started out as the disruptor in its industry. Its innovations were many, ranging from standardized, efficient experience in menu and restaurant design, to great marketing. McDonald’s perfected, and then consistently improved the Holiday Inn model that allowed it to blow up thousands of quirky and sometimes risky hamburger stands, and replace them with food that was reliably good in restaurants that were consistently fine. This model generated profits hand over fist for many years.
In fact, McDonald’s competitors use its model for their branded offerings, albeit adapted differently. So now it needs to change the game, and disrupt its industry again. It’s in a uniquely good position to do so.