McDonald’s gets it wrong while Market Basket gets it right

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MBSame day, minutes apart, two completely different experiences at McDonald’s and Market Basket (a Northeastern United States grocery store chain) and the lessons we can learn as a result.

First, Market Basket. If you’re in the NE, you may be aware of the internal dispute the store’s going through. The beloved President has been forced out and replaced with outsiders who, according to info the store put out took $300 million from ongoing projects/expansion and paid it out to shareholders.

In support of the now-former president, warehouses are closing their doors refusing to ship to stores, store employees are wearing pins with the former president’s picture on them and requesting customers sign petitions located throughout the stores to reinstate “Arthur T”.

The amount of support the employees are showing the former president is nothing short of amazing. From creating a “Save Market Basket” Facebook page to wearing pins and explaining to customers why many stores shelves are empty, the list goes on.

Market Basket Lessons for Business Owners

  • When you support your Team as former president Arthur T. did, as all Market Basket employees I’ve spoken with and press indicates is true, they’ll support you. In some cases to the point of risking their livelihood.
  • When there were internal “issues”, the employees immediately made sure their customers knew what was happening and why and asked for their support.

And now for McDonald’s. . .

McDonald’s is world reknown for their systems and processes. Think about it, they hire high school students who have never had a job before and whether in Massachusetts or California, you’re going to have the same burger in the same wrapper and with the same toppings.

They pioneered franchising.

That was until McDonald’s decided it wanted to be Starbucks and start offering a variety of “McCafe™” items.

From iced coffees in various flavors to “frappés” and a host of other things.

Now, rather than be “in and out” of drive-through in 90-ish seconds, it takes several minutes and, from personal experience, 3 of my last 4 orders have been messed up (at 3 different locations) – each involved one of the McCafe™ items.

You see, McDonald’s forgot who they were. A fast food restaurant. (Note: Ironically enough, I was recently in a Starbucks and they were selling egg sandwiches. While not a coffee drinker, I am a “coffee smeller” and let’s just say the wonderful Starbucks scent is no more.)

McDonald’s/Starbucks Lessons for Business Owners

  • Know what you do best and stick to it.
  • When choosing to branch out, keep an eye on the “back end”. Is everything working as it should? What’s been sacrificed (speed, quality, personal touch, etc.)? Can it be fixed? Is the tradeoff worth it?

In Market Basket’s case, they’ve taken an internal mess and turned it into an opportunity to really connect with their customers.

In McDonald’s/Starbucks’ cases, they’ve sacrificed some of their best features in trying to be all things to everyone.

Two questions to ask yourself of your business:

  1. At its core, what does your business do and
  2. When times are tough/the chips are down, what do/will you stand for?

I’d love to hear the answers if you wish to share them. Just comment below. I respond to all comments personally. 🙂