Big Mac: 4 lessons for your small business

Small business owner

McDonald’s special burger, the Big Mac, which features “two beef patties with special sauce, lettuce and cheese, pickles and onions, as well as a sesame-seed bun”, is as iconic as the chain itself. The world may be divided on this one-of-a kind sandwich, but no one can deny its status as a cultural icon.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the sandwich, which proves that some ideas are still good half a century after they were first created. Here are a few other facts about the sandwich’s success that small businesses cannot ignore.

Signature item

Fast food has become increasingly bizarre over the years. McDonald’s changed their classic grilled-chicken menu to include honey mustard, fancy buns, and more lettuce in a side salad than I could ever fit into one. It was a follow-up to the McSpaghetti and predated the McGriddle, which is now a classic.

The Big Mac, Kids Meals, and the signature fries have remained on the menu despite hundreds of field tests over the years. It’s never far from the front, but it is always present. In the States, you can ask for one at any McD’s. They will not giggle or make a funny face; the ingredients will be on hand.

The same strategy can be used to boost your business, regardless of whether you provide pet grooming services or SEO. You can experiment with different trends and offer cleverly-branded items when you feel like it, but never abandon the service or product you’re known for. This familiarity can be used to boost sales in any business.

Bottom Line: A clearly branded product that is never changed can be a port in a storm for businesses who struggle to maintain their identity and attract loyal customers.

Don’t try to please everyone

Good small businesses listen to their customers, acknowledge them and take into account their voice. The company does not give in to every demand made by social media. Nabisco Animal Crackers were recently released from their cages on the request of a animal rights group. This is logical; the revamped packaging would not affect the product’s quality and the gesture was well received by the animal rights community. It’s not a good idea to swap out the sauce in a Big Mac just because, as my husband said, “it tastes rancid ketchup.” The strange combinations that the Big Mac provides have become a favorite. It would be treason to change the Big Mac after 50 years. This could destroy a global business that provides food for over 68 millions people each day.

Bottom line: Your job is to please your clients. Changes should be made to please your core audience, not an audience who would never purchase from you or have a low level of loyalty.

The Upgrades to Should be Systematic

As a former manager of a restaurant, I know that the best way to enjoy fast food is to be unaware of what goes on behind-the-scenes. It can be shocking to those who don’t work in the food industry to see frozen meat slabs slapped on a hot greasy griddle. Until a few short months ago, the McDonald’s burgers were made this way. The company announced that it would use fresh beef for its sandwiches. The company will first replace the meat inside the Quarter Pounder and then gradually add new products, until it switches to a fresh menu.

What does this mean to the Big Mac? (And you?) You can make changes in your product or service to improve quality. But, you should not compromise the reputation that your company has built with your signature item. McDonald’s did not start by upgrading the Big Mac. The company decided to wait until the market test results showed that customers were happy with fresh food before modifying their Big Mac. They will continue field testing and monitoring to ensure their risk pays without alienating Big Mac devotees.

Bottom Line: Start small and choose products or services with which people feel less emotionally connected. If the changes don’t go over well, you can adjust your strategy without damaging your brand.

Listen To The Little Guy

Know where the Big Mac idea came from The idea for the Big Mac came from a franchisee. McDonald’s corporate heads didn’t need to listen but they did. The fast-food giant now credits store owners for some of its most successful product concepts. They listened to what customers said and adapted their ideas. The company attributes the Egg McMuffin, Apple Pie and other products to its franchisees. Could you imagine a fast-food chain that didn’t have them?

Financing is a big part of that. You can be matched to the best financing for your company with a “. Navi can help you find the right financing for your business.

Bottom line: There are good ideas everywhere. Share what your employees and franchisees see on the market. There may be some of your best ideas.

The Big Mac, which was created in 1967 and has changed very little since then, could easily last another 50. Even though the sandwich has seen a decline in popularity, it continues to be an international phenomenon even as trendy burger joints appear right next door. The sandwich is a global phenomenon, even as trendier burger joints pop up right next door.