The product managers over at McDonalds have a problem on their hands. Yes, they are working for one of the world’s most successful restaurant companies. Yes, there sure seems to be a McDonald’s restaurant on just about every corner in every town everywhere. However, lately the company has been making less money. Even when you are driving a battleship, you still need to be able to turn it or so you’d like to be able to put on your product manager resume. McDonald’s product managers need to find a way to change their product development definition in order to boost the company’s profits. They have an idea – offer breakfast all day!
The Motivation To Make A Change
One of the questions that all product managers are always asking themselves is “why mess with success?” You would think that the McDonalds product managers would be spending their time focusing on just keeping their ship moving forward and would not be considering making radical changes. Arguably, up until just a few years ago you probably would have been correct. McDonalds was a juggernaut and there seemed to be no way that anyone could take anything away from their success.
However, in the past couple of years things have started to change. McDonalds recently reported their financial results and their same store sales were down 4% from the previous year. This decrease in sales is troubling for McDonalds. They have a new CEO who realizes that he has a problem on his hands. He has announced that it is his intention to transform McDonalds from what it is today into a modern, progressive burger company.
How to make this transformation happen is the big question that the McDonalds product managers now find themselves having to wrestle with. They’ve taken a number of creative steps. They’ve announced that over the next two years they are going to be moving away from using chickens that may contain antibodies in order to help their customers avoid becoming resistant to those antibodies. They are also considering shrinking their menu which many franchise owners have said have become too overloaded with selections.
The Problems With Offering Breakfast All Day
All of the changes that the McDonalds product managers have proposed so far are probably good steps to take. However, it’s pretty clear that by themselves they are not going to have enough of an effect on the company’s bottom line. This is why the product managers are now proposing to start to offer McDonald’s breakfast items all day long.
Just to be clear about this, the idea of offering all-day breakfast is not yet something that the McDonald’s product managers are willing to roll out system wide. Instead, they are planning on first testing this idea at McDonalds’s stores in the San Diego area. Once implemented, customers at these stores will be able to order McMuffins, Hash Browns, and hotcakes all day long.
There are a lot of practical issues that McDonalds will have to work out in order to be able to roll this new plan out. One of the most important issues is the simple fact that their grills are not currently large enough to support cooking breakfast items and lunch items at the same time. Additionally, breakfast foods are cooked at different temperatures than lunch and dinner foods. Ultimately, the stores that are offering all day breakfast are going to have to evaluate their results and determine if the extra effort and expense was worth it.
What All Of This Means For You
I’m pretty sure that we’d all like to be in the shoes that are being worn by the product managers at McDonalds. They are working for one of the most well established and successful restaurant chains in the world. However, as we know from our product manager job description,even giants can run into troubles. In the case of McDonalds, sales in their stores are down and now it’s the product manager’s job to fix this problem.
The product managers have already taken a number of steps to try to get people to start to eat at McDonalds more. They’ve decided to stop using any chickens that might have antibiotics in them and they are taking steps to slim down their bloated menu. However, they also want to take things one step further by offering breakfast food all day longer. They are going to perform a trial to see how this goes. However, they are going to have to work out some details in order to make this work out.
You have got to admire the guts of the McDonalds product managers – they are willing to take chances. Offering breakfast food all day seems like a very good experiment – if they do it right. As product managers we’ll all have to sit back and see how this goes. Will the McDonalds product managers be able to run a good experiment and learn from the data that they’ll be able to collect?
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that McDonalds should offer their entire breakfast menu all day or only part of it?
Click here to get automatic updates when
The Accidental Product Manager Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter are now available. It’s your product – it’s your career. Subscribe now: Click Here!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
So it turns out that the world of television is ruled by advertising. The more ads that you can sell, the more money you make and the more television programs you can both make and broadcast. Back in the day, television product managers ruled the world. Nobody else could compete with the number of potential customers that they could reach. However, things have changed the terms of their product development definition. Now the arrival of ubiquitous high speed Internet connections means that potential customers can view content from other sources and perhaps television is not needed any more…