You are probably aware that McDonald’s is not just an American experience anymore; the company has retail stores all over the world, and like other American fast-food corporations (KFC, etc.), has found great success in the international marketplace.
The company didn’t achieve that success by ignoring local tastes, and if you’ve ever been in a McDonald’s in Japan or Germany or some other country, some of the menu will be unrecognizable. Even the food that looks familiar may have a very different name on it (for those Pulp Fiction fans, this is your cue to recite those lines about a “Royale with Cheese”).
There’s a reason I’m bringing this up. According to an article published in various newspapers, McDonald’s in France has just rolled out a new product named the McBaguette for a six-week market trial, and it’s a perfect example of great product development. I have no idea what it actually tastes like, but it is a superb product development concept.
The new sandwich exploits the fact that the French love their bread (their fromage, too, but we’ll get to that in moment) with an admirable passion. In fact, 98% of all French people eat bread every day. And one of the most popular types of pain is the baguette, a cylindrical loaf baked with a hard crust. The French love bread; they really love baguettes, and this emotional attachment runs deep. Around 65% of the two billion sandwiches sold in France every year are built with a baguette as their underpinning.
What better thing to put a couple of hamburger patties on, then? For the next six weeks, customers in France can plunk down four and a half euros on the counter at McDonalds, and get a burger on a baguette (albeit a square one), covered with melted Emmental cheese (from France, naturellement!) and spicy mustard.
As I said, I have no idea how it tastes, or how it will taste to the average French man, woman or child, but it’s simple, yet brilliant product development and execution.
And that concludes today’s lesson, mon amis.
Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting, a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area, where he advises businesses in marketing and strategy. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.