You always hear people complaining that McDonald’s has taken over the world, and in terms of their global footprint and profits, they have. They’re the real burger kings of their sector, and no-one else really comes close.
Like many of the most successful businesses, McDonald’s is always eager to reinvent some of its products, or introduce new ones. It doesn’t always work; McLobster and McSpaghetti spring to mind. Sometimes customers don’t equate certain foods with McDonald’s, and higher end products have failed as customers tend not to go looking for a more gastronomic experience at McDonald’s. But still, by giving it a try, and constantly updating their brand, potential customers are led to believe that there’s more to McDonald’s than Big Macs and Quarter Pounders.
So to that end, after several months of testing, they’re now ready to go live across the country with their “Mighty Wings”. Yes, from next month, you can get your chicken wings at Mickey Ds, and the Colonel won’t be happy. Chicken on a bone was always KFC’s patch, but now the fast food giant is muscling in.
It’s not just KFC who have been looking behind them, worrying how McDonald’s could potentially harm their trade. The 2009 McCafe range had Starbucks nervous, Wendy’s salads have been usurped by McDonald’s own range, and other burger chains like In and Out, Five Guys and Burger King suffer from being in McDonald’s shadow. The quality on offer may be different, but they’re all burgers, and inevitably, there are similarities in the menus. The “arms war” between America’s top fast-food chains is set to continue, as ‘menu escalation’ will see the myriad outlets try to appear fresh and exciting, and and attempt to steal each others’ customers.
McDonald’s chicken wing war on KFC is a bid to try and improve sales, an area where many fast-food chains have struggled of late. And after chicken wings, what next? Can we expect McDonald’s to diversify even further? Can we look forward to a McPizza or McHotDog revival (both failed in the past) and a McCocktail to wash it all down?
And can we expect other chains to up their game, or even take on McDonald’s at theirs? Could KFC elongate its acronym to KFCGB and add grilled burgers to their menu? How about Starburgers at Starbucks, a savoury range at Dunkin Donuts incorporating meaty ‘dunks’ or Subway – McDonald’s greatest threat – marketing some kind of ‘healthy’ burger, and undercutting the guys from the Golden Arches.
But even if our most cherished brands were to expand their offering, it remains to be seen to what extent our habits as consumers would be altered. If you were able to go into Starbucks tomorrow, and get a burger to go with your latte, would you? Or if Pizza Hut also decided to enter the chicken wings war, would they be wasting their time and a whole load of chicken?
McDonald’s is America’s and the world’s no. 1 burger shop, and anyone taking on the big boys could end up with a bloodied nose. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try. Look out for the next new product at your favourite fast-food retailer.