Do you remember this McDonald’s jingle? “Two all beef patties, special sauce, salad, cheese …“
Well, hold on to that idea. Because this past week we got a glimpse of what could be an important part of the future McDonald’s. And if it works, a day may come when McDonald’s has to tweak that song.
More importantly, if you run a business, it means that there is a big Opportunity to learn on the horizon – how to balance the things that work well for you today, with fundamentally different trends you can expect to see down the road.
First, McDonald’s. No, Big Mac is not going anywhere. In fact, McDonald’s immediate plan involves doubling beef and chicken.
But among the new products, McDonald’s recently discovered that one wasSome customers have long wanted: McPlant, a “plant-based patty” that, if some global trends continue for a long time, may someday be the product for which the fast food chain is best known .
Or not, of course. This is the whole thing about trying to predict the future, while running a successful business at the same time.
McDonald’s has been a little late to the party when it comes to a meat-substitute sandwich. Rival Burger King, for example, has spent more than a year selling its plant-based Impossible Whopper.
In fact, it’s been seven years since some McDonald’s customers started a petition on the chain to bring a positive change in the US with the mainstream meat-free option at McDonald’s, “Earth,” a plant-based protein alternative. ”
Just under a quarter of a million people have signed on. But as close as McDonald’s was to this particular development was McPLT, a test sandwich that McDonald’s introduced at some of its restaurants in Canada last year.
The experiment wrapped up in April, and McDonald’s said it planned to continue its evaluation. Now, it seems that the company is getting closer to its next steps.
Here is the relevant excerpt from its statement:
“We think our culinary team has thwarted it. There are other plant-based burgers out there, but McPlant protects our iconic flavor with a sink-your-tooth-in (and wipe-your-mouth) kind of sandwich . Served on a warm, sesame seed bread with a juicy, plant-based patty and all the classic toppings.
Markets can adopt McPlant when they are ready and we hope to test the burger next year. “
McDonald’s International Chairman Ian Borden added during an investor presentation that the company plans to start McPlant with “tasty burgers”, and may also include “burgers, chicken-options and breakfast sandwiches”.
It is also interesting to note what McDonald did not say. For example, despite being very open last year about the fact that its Canadian trial sandwich was “made with Beyond Meat plant-based patties,” this time McDonald’s did not mention Beyond Meat at all.
(Beyond Meat later said it was actually working with McDonald’s to “co-create” McPlant. It made it a fun day for anyone looking at Beyond Meat’s stock price gave.)
Also, there is not a word about how the name came along, which some critics hated. (Personally, I like that it’s so straightforward.)
Anyway, tThat rollout plan – time, place–They are apparently very malleable.
In fact, it is clear that McPlant is far from McDonald’s immediate number-one priority. When the company announced its new development strategy this week, it said it focused on three things: (a) marketing, (b) “customer demand for the familiar” (meaning, “burger, chicken and coffee” ), And (c) “digital, delivery and drive-through” developments.
Now, maybe you eat McDonald’s occasionally; Maybe not you. You may have tried Beyond Meat or other competitors; Maybe you didn’t.
But, if you are running a business, I think it would be very instructive to see what you do with McDonald’s McPlant over the next year or so.
This is a classic dilemma: You are known for one kind of thing. This is your good service. But you can imagine a competitive landscape, perhaps not too far down the road, in which customer needs and tastes can vary greatly.
How do you balance your immediate success and your short-term growth, against finding time and energy to experiment and plan for the future?
Perhaps this conflict looks familiar? This is why I always say that it is smart for leaders of all sizes of businesses to meet the same challenges as large, public companies.
I can’t predict how McPlant will do. I cannot tell you whether McDonald’s more immediate steps will succeed, for that matter. I cannot tell if that jingle might need a new poem in the not-too-distant future.
But I can tell you that it will be fun to watch. I’ll keep an eye on McDonald’s as it rolls out McPlant. And, I think you will find it enlightening as well.