As the Miami-based Burger King Worldwide Inc. introduced its new fries to the market, fast food giant McDonald’s is facing more pressure than ever. Burger King markets its new fries as 30% fewer calories and 40% less fat than McDonald’s fries. Apparently, its marketing strategy is to target to the customers who are fries-lovers with concerns about health issue.
The fast food market is always competitive, while McDonald’s has been dominating the market for a while. In order to maintain its leading position in the industry, on September 26th, McDonald’s announced a series of health-related commitments in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. This is definitely a critical part of its current marketing strategy. Due to the potential health issue from fast food, some activists have been requesting McDonald’s stop marketing to children as well as improving nutrition content. Undoubtedly, gradually losing this customer group – children will tremendously hurt McDonald’s sales and bring about other issues which may further effect its reputation and sales.
Therefore, McDonald’s announced that it would promote only water, milk and juice rather than soft drink for kid’s menu as well as its advertising. Also, the company will emphasize nutrition in its package and advertising for children. On the top of that, it will provide customers with different choices of side salad, fruit or vegetable in place of French fries in its regular menu. With a huge customer base in U.S. and international market, McDonald’s has a confidence that its changes in menu as well as marketing strategy will consolidate its position as an industry leader in next five years. And these changes will be made to the 20 markets that represent 85% of McDonald’s sales by 2020 – those markets include the U.S., China and the U.K.
Although McDonald’s has decided to make a big move, it is never easy to achieve the goal without risks. Making changes on current menus which have been accepted by the market will have many uncertain influences on its future sale. It’s difficult to predict the market’s reaction to the new menus and new advertising. McDonald’s needs to make sure that it will be able to fulfill the nutrition commitments without hurting the company’s performance. Prudently changing options on its menu, choosing the way of advertising, setting up a step-by-step marketing plan and implement a year-by-year performance evaluation will be the keys to McDonald’s success in the next decade.