I have a great deal of respect for McDonald’s, and a good bit of that is from my experience as an employee back in the $.15 burger days. They taught me how to work in production.
In grad school we studied their new product introduction cycle; it’s one of the most sparse in the industry. There was a three year void of new products between the existing line and the introduction of the Big Mac, way back when. McDonald’s doesn’t make many mistakes, and they still have the highest margins in the industry. And as we discussed in this recent article, they are still tops with us boomers.Yet, the “how many MBAs did it take to screw this up??” resurfaced yesterday when I bought my first Big Mac in several years, at the drive-thru.
Being a dedicated multi-tasker, as you probably are as well if you’re in this business, I often eat while I drive. I know, I know, that’s a no-no. As a matter of fact, Nation’s Restaurant News in May 2001 cited a study of “vehicular dining.”
According to recent studies conducted by the American Automobile Association and by the Public Health Department in San Francisco, drivers who ate and drank — coffee, milk shakes, colas, juice and other nonalcoholic beverages – behind the wheel were at least as dangerous as those who talked on cell phones.
However, at least 80% of us DO eat or drink while driving occasionally, and that fact is inarguable. A marketer, be them a one off strip mall retailer or a multi-national corporation, must meet the market and customer needs, and McDonald’s didn’t meet mine yesterday.
Driving up Interstate 5, yakking with some broker on the cellphone with the bluetooth, sipping my Coke, I opened one of the two Big Mac boxes (there’s a 2 for $4 deal going, how could I say no), I was horrified to discover the missing ingredient–NO PAPER WRAP! The cardboard box was the packaging and I knew what you see on the left was going to happen.
I ended up with half a head of shreaded lettuce, secret sauce, and burger juice running down my arm, onto my jeans, and the landing spot was the seat of my SUV. It was a damn mess and I blame the Ivy League schools for turning out too many knuckleheads obsessed with saving $0.002 per product delivery while marketing and product delivery get ignored.
I had the same question about the genius boys several years ago when I left KFC with a HALF a drink holder! Instead of the usual four-place cardboard holder, they gave me a half a holder for 2 drinks. How the hell does THAT work? Try balancing two sodas in traffic without a base to hold them. Did the packing managers miss their basic physics class?? Bet they saved a quarter cent though, and got a weekend in Dollyland as a bonus.
When the customer leaves your store, or your drive-thru, the customer experience continues until the product is consumed, stored, or discarded. An omission like this can cost any retailer a customer. Jamba Juice has “customer walks” several times a day, not only to insure the path to the store is free of trash and debris, but the trip out of the store when the customer first tastes the product is equally as pleasant.
What do you do to insure that a positive customer experience continues after you’ve got their money?