Burger King Vs. McDonalds

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Burger King and McDonalds have historically been pretty similar companies. They both provide fast and convenient food for a low price, and tend to offer similar types of food. This past year, however, the two companies have been losing some of those similarities. As a result of this, both have been performing differently as well.

For almost every player currently in the fast food industry, the last couple of years have been rough. Consumer preferences have been changing, there is more competition, and economic problems have hit the industry hard in comparison to many other industries. Burger King, however, has been able to make some progress while their biggest competitor, McDonalds, has continued to take a hit. The reason behind this seems to be the difference in strategy both companies have chosen.

As Burger King continues their attempts to rebrand themselves, they’ve done a couple things that have worked out well for them. Most notably, they have reduced the size of their menu but increased the quality of items they continue to offer. McDonalds on the other hand continues to develop and offer more items. This has caused an increase in complexity and a decrease in the quality of what they’re offering. After looking at how both companies have performed over the last year, it’s pretty obvious that Burger King has taken the better route.

When attempting to choose the process strategy of a company, the executives need to focus on customer requirements, cost, and efficiency. Burger King’s strategy has done a good job in all of these aspects. They’ve been able to increase the quality of the products they offer, tailoring them the preferences of their customers, while also reducing cost. Their money isn’t tied up in new product development or in item lines that aren’t attractive to the market. McDonalds has basically done the opposite. By continuing to develop and introduce multiple new products, their cost has risen and they haven’t been able to focus on what their customers’ preferences are. McDonalds is big enough and does have the money to do this and not notice any substantial loss in market share, but if they continue to do it, that might not continue. If the trends of this last year continue, the gap between them and Burger King is only going to get smaller.

The view of McDonalds seems to be that their strategy has worked in the past, so eventually it should work again. Do you think that Burger King is just utilizing a recovering economy, and that their new strategy will eventually stop working when it fully recovers, or is this a trend likely to continue? Is it better for a fast food restaurant to place more value on quality or variety?


12 thoughts on “Burger King Vs. McDonalds

  1. Interesting read! As a consumer, I’ve noticed more menu options for McDonald’s, however never paid too much mind to it as I always get the select few items I have always got. Burger King, however, as a consumer I have noticed has actually deteriorated its quality, as every time I go there I am not content with my food. While both stable and historical brands, I think it may be harder for McDonald’s to rebrand versus Burger King, simply because of how much more popular McDonald’s is globally. “The golden arches” are a symbol recognized in virtually every part of the word, while Burger King has yet to get to that level. Rebranding such a worldwide look would not only be difficult, but could prove to be detrimental to the brand loyalty as well as clarity. Burger King, on the other hand, should and is taking full advantage of their ability to rebrand and offer a different type of competition to McDonald’s than in the past.

  2. Interesting post. I think that Burger King is showing that it is adapting to an ailing economy and capitalizing on consumer trends, whereas McDonald’s is taking an IBM approach, which is seeing that there is changing trends in the market, but they refuse to adapt to them because they believe that their sheer size will allow them to win anyway. I believe that McDonalds will persevere, but that their market share will dramatically drop in the future due to their refusal to adapt to change.

  3. I enjoyed reading your post! If I have to choose between McDonald o Burger King, I would pick McDonald. If Burger King redefines themselves, I would really not care so much. I might give it a try, but I would go back to McDonald again. I think consumers of fast food restaurants want a cheaper meal rather than a better quality. It is great that they want to increase their quality of food, but customers are not going to be happy if they decrease their size of meal. So, I think that they should place more value on variety and get the cheapest price possible.

  4. Fascinating post! Just as a consumer alone I would have to pick Burger King over McDonald’s, it all comes down to the quality of the food. While McDonalds may have more menu options, Burger King provides consumers with food quality. I don’t think that Burger King will find themselves in trouble when their strategy fully recovers.

  5. I agree that having many items on a menu is not a good thing because it confuses the customer when he or she is deciding what to get. Also, specializing on the few menu items Burger King has allows it to provide better quality food than McDonald’s. This got my attention because in business courses we have studied how specialization can affect a business, but had not made the connection to fast food industry.

  6. Hey Mason, interesting article. I like how you analyzed two of the biggest competitors in the fast food industry. I live near a burger king so I occasionally stop by. I have noticed their menu change and thought this was a huge improvement compared to what it was before. Although McDonalds is my favorite of the two, I definitely notice the improvements Burger King is making. Recently, Burger King bought out Tim Hortons, Canada’s equivalent to Dunkin Donuts, so keep an eye out for more Tim Horton stores to come to our area. It is way better than Dunkin, trust me.

  7. Great post, I actually recently heard that McDonalds plans to change their menu in North America. I wonder if this move is related to what you have describe or are there additional motives. I also remember one of the Robert Kiyosaki’s lectures where he was saying that McDonalds is not really in the hamburgers business but in real estate. What do you think about that?

  8. I have always been a big fan of McDonalds before Burger King. I think Burger King is doing a good job by trying to increase quality before expanding the menu like McDonalds has done. They are also decreasing the prices of food which is a major gain for consumers. I think this trend will continue and they will not have a downfall. They will learn to innovate and develop other ways to gain consumer appreciation. It’s just a matter of time on who “jumps the gun first,” that makes the transition into something achievable for consumer and supplier.

  9. How interesting I normally don’t eat in McDonald but I can understand they have made a huge shift in order to give clients different healthy options. It seems like that they didn’t think it over. They have an abundance of drink options and salads. But as you pointed out it seems like Burger King has found a better way to serve its clients while keeping their cost and getting a better return. I wonder how Wendy’s is fairing in all this. They equally have increased their menu options.

  10. Nice post. I prefer Burger King over McDonalds. I have noticed the decrease in quality in the food at McDonalds as you mention in your post. Burger King definitely smartened up when it comes to competing with a giant such as McDonalds. I think Burger King’s strategy will continue to work, but more so I think McDonalds will continue to fail. The quality at McDonalds will continue to drop, and eventually they will be the ones trying to rebrand. Maybe McDonalds can follow Domino’s strategy when they have to rebrand, but first they need to be willing to change.

  11. Great Post. I personally prefer McDonalds over Burger King. To me, there is obvious quality differences between the two. I actually feel that McDonalds provides better quality and has a great deal of options, especially healthy ones. It provides me with a great option to either get a good, tasty salad or to splurge on a big mac. Burger King on the other hand seems to be focusing on price rather than quality. They recently released a 10 piece chicken nugget option (that used to be around 3 bucks) for $1.49. Thats almost 50% off their original price! What message is this sending to the consumer? To me it means that if they allow themselves to sell a product at almost 50% off, they are either taking a hit to attract customers or there have been some changes in quality to reduce costs (maybe a combination of both).

  12. This is an interesting post and article considering that two massive fast food chains were going down different paths that yielded differing results. Whereas McDonalds had chosen the path of expanding their menu to promote sales, Burger King simply promoted their existing menu in different ways (via combination discounts, simplification of menu). Knowing that this article was written almost a year ago, it is seems that McDonalds has taken a page out of Burger King’s book over the past few months. As of this writing, McDonalds is advertising their Crispy Chicken sandwich on TV ads. The McDonalds Crispy Chicken has been around for as long as I can remember; this is proof that McDonalds is restructuring their advertising and promotion to mimic what Burger King had successfully done – simplification. Furthermore, McDonalds is now focusing on the quality of their product, which puts itself one step ahead of Burger King. The lesson learned here is that McDonalds successfully recognized their shortcoming and swiftly made adjustments in order to get back on track. McDonalds then assessed how they can differentiate itself further (promoting healthier food) and implemented this tactic in conjunction with their first change. This is a great example of how to make significant changes in a timely and effective manner. It will be interesting to see how McDonalds sales compare from Nov 2015 to Nov 2014.

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