McDonald’s have been a great success story worldwide since it’s inception in 1955. The team at McDonald’s have shown their eye for detail. The Team at Operations, Marketing, Training have time and again have shown the restaurant business is about ‘Attention to Detail’.
When McDonald’s entered the Indian market in 1996, the company faced a number of unique challenges. What’s interesting is to see how they made their entry impactful?
There were significant cultural differences to consider, as a large population in India follow vegetarian diet and would not eat Beef at all. They did not launch beef burgers for which they are recognized worldwide.
With the Introduction of Aloo ‘Tikki Aloo Burger for INR 20‘, they killed not ‘one’ or ‘two’ but ‘many birds’ with one shot and in many ways were ‘Marketing Masterstrokes‘. They kept the focus on Price & Value together.
Following were the strategies :
✅ ‘Known to Unknown‘ – While burgers were Alien or, Unknown to Indian Customers but ‘Aloo Tikki’ was a common/known name with hint of Indian Spices. In addition to offering ‘Aloo Tikki Burger’, McDonald’s adapted its menu to suit local tastes and preferences. For example, the company introduced a range of spicy sauces and condiments, as well as local favorites such as masala fries.
✅ ‘Opening Price Point’ – Burger at Rs.20 meant they spoke about ‘affordability’. Which we call as ‘Opening Price Point’ or ‘OPP’ strategy to break the ‘cost barrier’ in customers mind saying we are not expensive. Although they had many products in the menu at higher Price Point. A soft serve promoted as Ice Cream at Rs.7 was also a part of the same ‘OPP strategy’.
✅ ‘Promoting Vegetarian Product‘ – Promotion of ‘Aloo Tikki Burger’ and Mcveggie Burger meant they were talking about ‘Vegetarian Products’. They did not stop only with the promotion of vegetarian burgers but created a system of seperate cooking veg and non veg within their restaurants. With this #mcdonalds also became the pioneers of separate Veg & Non Cooking in the #india. This attracted a lot of vegetarian customers inside their restaurants.
✅ ‘Attracting Families‘ – To appeal to a wider audience, McDonald’s made an effort to cater to families and children, offering playgrounds and play areas in its restaurants and promoting its Happy Meals. This broke the culture barrier and invited families to come into their restaurants.
✅ Menu – ‘Small’ and Food – ‘Hot’
Other than adapting Indian Flavours to their Offering, McDonald’s kept the menu small, which helped in making the food production process fast, visit of the Customers ‘quick’.
Habitually Indians loved eating snacks like Samosa, Pakoras, Vada Pao, Rolls.Hot Burgers nicely packed in paper packaging, French Fries with an option of Masala Fries, Chicken Nuggets quickly became favorites. Their focus on Hot food was an instant hit as the customers were pleasantly surprised by having a Hot Food (which is not messy, can be eaten on the go), which was served to them quick.
The Speed of service lessons can be taken from here as Customers have to spend less time in Choosing. The other hidden benefit of this strategy is that the wastage is less. Food Cost Remains under control and training is easy.
✅ ‘Softy’ as an Option for Sweets – India’s have a sweet tooth by DNA and their love for Sweets is well known. The ‘soft serve’/softy served as an alternate to sweets/Ice Cream at Rs.7 became a big hit. School/Collage kids and youngsters used to queue in front of the McDonald’s Restaurant to pick up their affordable ‘Ice Cream’.
This served McDonald’s OPP strategy well.
✅ The Internal Processes were created on KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid!) formula – The Entire Operations Procedure were kept simple to follow and repeat.
Easy to understand and well-defined SOP for the entire Restaurant Operations helped the Team Members in enjoying their work. They spend enormous amount of time and money on training their Crew Members & Manager. They continue this till today.
In fact, McDonald’s has one of the Best Training Processes till date.
✅ Hiring Young team & Training them for Growth – Hiring young Team Members helped them in bringing the much-needed energy at the stores, which was required specially for the reason then they targeted Kids, Teens & Family.
Other than safe Food Handling methods and HACCP the team was also trained on Inventory Controls, Cost Efficiency & Leadership.
✅ The Managers and Supervisors were all grown from the Team Member level. This policy helped them in retaining lot of young talent and brought ownership amongst the team.
✅ Cleanliness & Hygiene – The Team at McDonald’s were trained for maintaining very high level of cleanliness and hygiene at the store level. They can be given the credit of uplifting the cleanliness standards of the Indian Food Service Industry, specially of the Quick Service Restaurants segment.
The Restaurants always had cleaned Toilets and shiny stores!
They were the pioneers of encouraging Team Members to bring customers for the ‘Kitchen Tour’ to show their level of standards they maintained.
✅ Kids Centric Approach – To bring in more and more family to the restaurants they had small but yet very-very effective strategy of giving Toys with their Happy Meals. Having a separate Birthday Party Rooms encouraged a lot of Kids Birthday Party Happening at the store.
✅ During their Launch days and many-many years after that too, they used to get School Kids as a batch for School Excursion, where the kids were given a round of the store and taste of the Food & Drink.
Keeping a Baby Chair in the stores was attention to detail.
✅ Store Interiors & Music – The Interiors were carefully kept bright and colorful to attract kids and teens to the stores. They also used to happily play Local Radio in their Stores to give a sense of localization.
Overall, McDonald’s success in the Indian market can be attributed to its ability to adapt to local tastes and preferences, as well as its focus on offering a range of menu options and creating a family-friendly atmosphere in its restaurants.