During this first half of the semester, we have spent time on many topics, but one that is very important is a company’s competitive priorities and how to stick to these or even improve them. From the start, we have used McDonald’s as an example of a company that stays true to its competitive priority of consistent quality. Over the past few years, Steve Easterbrook, a McDonald’s executive, has made many changes. The first was when we decided to get rid of the artificial preservatives in the McNuggets. This was a big change because McDonald’s was experiencing a lot of backlash when stories came out about their nuggets, so this change was almost necessary. Since then, the food chain has also rolled out new chicken fingers after experiencing supply issues in the past. But this new change might be the biggest of them all.
McDonald’s is now selling fresh beef in its Quarter Pounders. For a company that has prided itself on its burger sales ever since it was created, this is a big shift. Lower quality, frozen meat used to be the staple of the burgers, but now McDonald’s is clearly making a choice as a company to move towards higher quality. It started with the McNuggets and has now moved to the Quarter Pounders. While this switch in meat will not be an immediate process at all of the locations, McDonald’s will slowly be serving these new burgers on a few select sandwiches. This switch in beef turns McDonald’s into an even more direct competition with Wendy’s, which prides itself on serving never frozen patties.
With this change in meat, there also might be a change in competitive priority for McDonald’s. Consistency and speed will always important for the company, but now Top Quality needs to be talked about a little bit more. This is a big step for McDonald’s in increasing its food quality level.
Switching to never frozen beef also might shift a few of the other competitive priorities for McDonald’s. As the article talks about, suppliers had to make a large investment in order to make this switch which could in-turn potentially slightly raise cost of operations. This change does give McDonald’s more flexibility due to a slightly wider variety of burgers offered. Lastly, the competitive priority of Time poses a potential problem. Some franchisees are worried that drive-thru line will be slowed down since these new burgers are being cooked fresh when they are ordered. McDonald’s recognized this potential issue and made sure to pose solutions before the launch of the new patties. Other franchisees were worried about new processes and technology that came with the new patties, but some of the owners believe that this is just helping them stay ahead on the latest technology.
With this new release, do you see any other shifts in competitive priorities that McDonald’s might be signaling?
Do you think it was a good idea for McDonald’s to make this shift to selling some fresh beef?