McDonalds market share decline

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

12 January 2017

McDonalds market share.  — Not hungry anymore.

McDonalds market share is dropping. The answer? McRib is back! How long has it been since McDonalds defined the fast food market as the THOUGHT leader?McDonalds market share

It is still the market leader but I think that has more to do with the buffoons who head the marketing departments at competitive restaurants.

Burger King has languished for years as the ugly burger step-sister. BK is so lost in the preference quagmire that it thinks (hopes) customers choose it because of taste. So BK have tried for years to out-menu MickeyD’s. How is that working for you, BK?

I guess no one who works for Burger King ever eats there. If they did, they would understand fully that taste is a tame driver of business.

“I guess no one who works for Burger King ever eats there. If they did, they would understand fully that taste is a tame driver of business.”

But McDonalds market share losses says McDonalds is vulnerable

The magic that once drove the McDonalds franchise growth has dimmed. No doubt about that.


Its market share is shrinking and QSR restaurants seem to be eating its lunch. There was a time when retail and QRS franchises watched carefully as McDonalds opened new restaurants.

McDonalds understood traffic patterns and geographic densities like the census understood demographics. It built restaurants in prime locations. Conventional wisdom was to build near them.

McDonalds market share drove the locations to importance

mcDonalds market shareThe McDonalds fast food locations soon made the adjoining real estate a Mecca of fast food. Everything from BK to Wendy’s sprouted right next door to McDonalds. It was not unusual to find Hardees, Burger King and KFC on opposite corners. Within a mile you would find everything from Pizza Hut to Popeye’s.

You would think that as McDonalds market share is dropping this copycat strategy was working. I don’t think so. That’s like Ptolemaic theory of the universe. The model worked but for all the wrong reasons.

McDonalds market share shrinking is because it lacks imagination

mcdonalds market shareLove him or hate him, Ronald McDonald was pure genius. So where the Hamburgler, Happy Meals and McNuggets. I think the lack of this creative brand building has led to the McDonalds market share slippage we see right now.

I doubt if the current crop of McDonalds brand geniuses have permission to reinvent the brand. Only tweaks are still allowed. Now, the term McDonalds is a derogatory description for anything that is second rate.

But, marketing tweaks did not create McDonalds market share dominance

McRib. Mcdonalds market shareMcDonalds is now playing it safe. It is relying on old answers to new questions. The challenges of a mature category are different from immature categories. It is the responsibility of the market leader to move the goal posts and reposition the end zone.

Instead, McDonalds is copying BK and letting us all know that McRib is back!

Great news. Great news for Wendy’s and Hardees if they are paying attention. I’ve given up on Burger King. BK is lost in me-too marketing.

Here is my prediction for the Future

McDonalds market share will continue to wither away. Breakfast served all day will count as revolutionary branding. The next breakthrough for McDonalds will read “Dinner and lunch now served all day as well as breakfast.”

Good God.

“Now, the term McDonalds is a derogatory description for anything that is second rate.”

See more posts in the following related categories: BK Burger King hardees kfc McDonald's McRib Pizza Hut wendys


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