Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here

When Customers Test New Products: The $800 McDonald’s Burger


This is what an $800 McDonald’s burger looks like:

800 burger

Well, actually, it ended up costing around $24.00.


McDonald’s recently launched new, upscale “build your own burger” kiosks to cater to those who love burgers and even McDonald’s, but prefer an upscale experience. The kiosk allows customers to build their own burger, adding a variety of toppings and extras as they please.


One customer decided to test the system to see what would happen. In the video below, you will see the customer’s order as it is placed – he decided to see how far he could “push” the system, learning more about how much you can really add to the burger.


After maxing out on all of the possible options, he went to the counter and received his total – $890.00. The look on the cashier’s face is priceless. It appears that, not only did the customer test the limits of the kiosk, but he also uncovered a pricing glitch. The actual total came to just around $24.00.


Customers love to try new things and some will even see how far they can go with new apps, programs, and features. This is a fun Friday example – enjoy!


A Page From McDonald’s Playbook: Is Less More?


McDonald’s is working to improve business, as competition gets tougher, consumers’ food preferences have shifted, and recent marketing attempts were not as successful as they would like.

On their most recent investor call, it was revealed that the company is planning to streamline their menu, offering less value meal options than they currently do. There was not a specific indication of which meals will be getting the ax, but they are currently testing a new menu system in select markets. As the bulk of sales are coming from a small set of value meals, and reducing the number of menu items may increase speed of service, this move makes sense.

Another avenue that they are working toward is a more customer focused experience, “Create Your Taste.” This platform will allow customers to customize their burgers and chicken sandwiches as a premium menu offering.

The video below offers some insight into this newest concept – it sounds like it will only be available in store (the drive through component may be added at a later time, but the implications seem to be a detriment, at least to me) and their hope is that the Millennials will embrace this new technology and increase the company’s foot traffic.


Will these new changes bring the results they want?

I think the streamlined menu will be helpful – less can be more. And, if these changes bring it “back to the basics” and increase speed of service, it can be very successful. Adding the “create your taste” component, however, makes me feel less hopeful.

In the video, it’s explained that while there will be a longer wait time to receive orders (approximately 5-7 minutes), customers won’t mind because they can sit at a table, listening to music or using their smartphone, while they wait. At least that’s the anticipated response from the company.

Personally, while I do hope its successful, I think that adding this “premium” component may initially attract interest and some foot traffic that is either new or from customers who haven’t visited McDonald’s in a long time, for the long term I think it’s going to become a stalemate.

I do think it’s interesting that McDonald’s is releasing these two changes at once since they seem to contradict each other – one touts increased speed of service and a more streamlined menu while the other offers way more options and a longer speed of service. They may find that one piece is a huge success and the other isn’t, or, because they are geared toward different customer sets, both come out as winners. Only time will tell.


McResource = McFail


McDonald’s tried…they really did. They offered an employee resource service, both telephone and onsite, called McResource. The purpose of this site was to offer tips, resources, and assistance to McDonald’s employees. It’s a good thought, and one that could serve beneficial for those who needed it.


But, it was recently taken down, as it was not as helpful as originally anticipated. The site provided some information and advice that was not at all relevant to the employees – for example, one “tip” offered advice on how much to tip pool cleaners, housekeepers, and au pairs, despite the fact that many of the employees are not making an income commensurate with these types of services.


When offering budget information, news sources share that the site offered budgets that not only included a line item for a second job (subliminally suggesting that wages were not sufficient enough to maintain a basic lifestyle) and didn’t account for some major items, such as food and gas.


It continued to serve up out of touch advice, and culminated in the website being taken down when nutrition advice encouraged employees to NOT eat “unhealthy”, which is great, but then used food typically served at McDonald’s as an example of what not to eat:





For me, it’s not so much the nutrition advice that struck me, it’s that the advice provided is not in tune with what the “average” McDonald’s employee may need. I think McDonald’s was trying to provide a great service to their staff, and a statement released by the company shows that:


“Between links to irrelevant or outdated information, along with outside groups taking elements out of context, this created unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary. None of this helps our McDonald’s team members.”

The company stated also that they offer helpful information from third party vendors, which is great, but it has to be relevant.


Taken out of context or not, it’s a good lesson for companies to be in tune with your employees, what their needs are, and what issues are most relevant to them. As I mentioned, I think this was a great attempt to offer employees assistance, information, and advice; however, the company needed to ensure that the information was relevant to their employees and could offer them the help they were looking for.


Perhaps listening to employees, through feedback programs or a “contact us” link on the McResource site would have been helpful. When you want to help employees, it’s important to do it from their perspective and give them what is truly important to them. Being out of touch, or giving the perception of being out of touch (by offering tip suggestions for pool cleaners), can send the wrong message to your employees. And, if word gets out, it can create bad press for your brand.


The site has been taken down for the moment; hopefully they will revamp it and reopen it to its employees with more relevant, useful information. Before doing this, I hope they take time to listen to their employees and really get a sense of their needs so that this time, it’s a success.