The Big Mac Essay

My Marketing Strategy for the Big Mac
The product
The Big Mac is the most identified product of McDonald’s restaurants. It is based on the Club Sandwich; the content is placed in a three-part bun. This concept is generally identical in all the food chain’s outlets around the world, and has some local product adaptations such as a cheese-free kosher version, sold in Israel.

The product suffers from two major disadvantages. First, it remains always identical, whereas McDonald’s global trend is to keep a high level of innovation and dynamic efficiency within its outlets. Second, being developed in the 50s, the Big Mac is one of the chain’s most unhealthy offerings, contains high levels of carbohydrates from white flour, as well as saturated fat and sodium.

The market
My marketing plan aims to re-establish the sandwich’s market share on the fast food sector. This market is rather price-oriented, gets great importance on the impulse food purchasing behavior and mostly composed from variations of pastries (pizza, tacos, hamburgers etc.), which are generally high-volume-low margin products.

Both McDonald’s and its competitors are trying to improve costumer’s experience in the outlet, with the intention of attracting more people inside and convincing the customers to consume the products in the restaurant, which increases the chances of cross-selling such as deserts and coffee (which have higher margins than hamburgers).

Suggested Strategy
“A Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it “Le Big Mac”.”
(Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction)

The Big Mac’s main advantage is its global recognition and popularity. It is so widely offered that the Economist has developed “Big Mac Index”, comparing the product’s prices around the world to estimate purchasing power parity and to forecast exchange rates. This advantage of the product can the basis for distinguishing the product from the other offerings in the market, including McDonald’s other sandwiches.

The Big Mac should be sold separately in a different counter, where only Big Mac menu will be offered. The main customer experience here is based on the uniformity of the product, going in the path of Thomas Friedman’s Golden Arches theory – the idea that two countries will not engage into war with each other when both of them have McDonald’s restaurants.

In addition to a Big Mac meal, these Big Mac stands will offer several possibilities to enjoy an international product experience. For example, the paper accessories (e.g., package, tray cover) can be similar to those which are served in another country. Closed-circuit TVs and computers would give the possibility for two Big Mac counters to see one another or even to communicate through online chats, creating a friendly and interesting atmosphere.

This step should be promoted as McDonald’s effort to bring people together, in a combination between product promotion and CSR, resulting in a positive approach towards what is called the “McDonaldization of the world”, which can and should be a positive global phenomenon.

This strategy, combined with McDonald’s strong marketing communications, should be the key for positioning the Big Mac as the heart of the restaurant and by that the individual restaurant as a center of multicultural and unexpected service on every visit.

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