November 29, 2020

Can't Fake Meat

McDonald's November news has been dominated by the announcement of "McPlant",  the latest fake-meat venture.

For me, this is a bit of deja-vu. There are similarities to the introduction and roll-out of McCafe in 2008/2009.

First, McCafe was sold to Wall Street long before the actual "testing" even began. The test was not a test but a publicity stunt. The outcome of the McCafe test was predetermined.

Secondly, McCafe was sold as a "Starbucks Killer" and the world outside of McDonald's assumed that McDonald's could duplicate Starbucks drinks and sell them for one-half the price. Today the publicity generated by the fake-meat manufacturers and chains already selling fake products has convinced the mainstream press and some in the QSR industry that the world is clamoring for fake-meat.

The chain that's gotten the most buzz is Burger King with the Impossible Whopper. In truth, Burger King is doing very poorly and domestic same-store sales are flat or down while other major burger chains are trending up nicely. It would be impossible to make the case that the Impossible Whopper is doing anything for Burger King. 

Nonetheless, reporter after reporter is writing that McDonald's is "behind" Burger King in serving fake-meat.

Outside of the Owner/Operator capital investment, the biggest risk in venturing into a new product category is the waste of precious advertising dollars. McDonald's management assumes the power of OPNAD can sell anything. So does Wall Street. McCafe proved that to be wrong - OPNAD spent millions and sales went down.

Most McDonald's Owner/Operators are eager to upgrade their chicken lineup next year. I've never heard from an Owner/Operator who wants to invest in or serve fake meat products.

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9 comments:

Richard Adams said...

This post applies to McDonald's USA. There may be someplace on Earth where fake meat will be popular.
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Anonymous said...

This is a correct assessment. Anyone who doesn’t want to eat meat won’t patronize any restaurant that supports the beef industry in a big way, and that’s what MCD is.

Also, McCafe is a grocery store sales play. The restaurants are simply forced to promote grocery store sales that MCD HA gets to keep 100% of.

Waste so marketing money for an owner/operator to promote fake meat or McCafe. It’s been over a decade on McCafe and the only people making money on McCafe are MCD shareholders

Anonymous said...

Einstein once said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results"

Could someone please tell CLUELESS Chris about McLean Deluxe?

We are being lead by IDIOTS.

Anonymous said...

not only idiots..... Darwinian idiots. I can't believe that fluff Financial Times article. Such dog crap. I hope every operator reads it.

Anonymous said...

Of course. And the morons in Chicago think it is prudent to follow in the steps of Burger King because BK has been SO SUCCESSFUL


Anonymous said...

Speaking of following in the steps on our side of the line, hopefully NOA can follow in the steps of the Jack in the Box and Dunkin franchisee associations given their successes. Dunkin franchisees split all revenue from their version of McCafe sales in grocery with their franchiser.


Wonder how they got that done with no legal right to demand it?

We have our franchiser competing with us with McCafe and keeping ALL of the money and then telling us that our loss of transactions at breakfast is due to a lack of massive discounting, not people buying their breakfast beverages at the supermarket or big box store (in bulk) instead. When are we going to learn and take up this cause? Do we even know how? If not, why not?

Anonymous said...

Because they have operator leadership sticking up for the franchise model, and not undercutting their fellow operators in the hope of growth or second generation approvals.

The operators worse enemies in a MCD system is #1 Corporate, followed by #2 their fellow Operator on a leadership position.

Anonymous said...

But we only have ourselves to blame for letting certain people serve in those leadership positions.

Anonymous said...


Fake Beef, after years selling 100% pure beef. Our consumer base still questions our 100% Beef statements. McLean and social media has caused the negative brand trust. With Chris K. and his bunch of minions running around in skinny jeans. The Owner/Operators have the opportunity to say NO and not let the advertising funds get spent on this fad. Waste of labor and advertising resources.
McCafe.....Charge back the corporation all advertising costs that have been spent on trying to establish McCafe. They have used the Owner Operators to fund their retail profit.