Marketing Mix of McDonald’s

The high cost of marketing activities may not provide expected results. It may happen due to the inefficient marketing mix analysis. Ignoring the relationship between its elements and properly selected range of tools leads to the misallocation of resources. The urgency of an adequate and flexible marketing strategy, its relationship with the volume of sales seems to be particularly strong in the service sector. At the same time, the marketing mix in the field of nutrition is almost the same for any country. In the food service industry, McDonald’s is an example of the flexible and adequate development and implementation of the marketing mix, even taking into account geographical features at the minimal level.

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The Main Line of McDonald’s Business

McDonald's is an American corporation, one of the largest chains of fast food restaurants; it works on the franchise system. In 2010, the company occupied the second place in the number of restaurants in the world after the Subway restaurant network (Bhasin, 2016). McDonald's, the leading fast food chain operator, is one of the most famous names in the modern business.
The company won the trust of customers due to its unique marketing mix strategy. It is necessary to consider, compare, and analyze the marketing mix of McDonald's in four countries: the USA, Germany, Italy, and Canada. For each country, both common and unique strategies and techniques should be investigated.


McDonald’s uses similar products and consumer properties, including technical specifications, design, packaging, and service in all four countries. Aromas and tastes are similarly strengthened with the artificial flavor, as well as special additives that spread the smell of fast food for kilometers. All these features make them recognizable; thus, if one tries a dozen burgers blindly, the buyer will choose the one from McDonald’s (Meyer, 2015). In this way, in most cases, the customer is able to distinguish a rather peculiar smell of this food. Thus, marketing techniques are the same for each of the four countries. Similarly, in the USA, Germany, Italy, and Canada, the visitor is to be offered some additional product, for example, a dessert, drink, sauce, or anything else. In corporate terms, this technique is called a tooltip (Meyer, 2015). As a rule, this offer considers products, the expiry date of which is approaching.

Describing the common features of the first block of the marketing mix regarding the product in these four countries, one should note that McDonald’s menu and the taste of offered products rarely change (Bhasin, 2016). Thus, the restaurant develops certain habits in their visitors, as well as shows own stability and reliability. The new items appear on the traditional menu from time to time, but usually, it is a seasonal offer, for example, some summer salads, or theme weeks, for example, days of the Italian seafood. However, in the US, this policy has worsened some indicators as nuggets fell in demand. People are accustomed to the taste of the Big Mac, and the number of visitors decreased (Meyer, 2015). In Germany, Italy, and Canada, this strategy works well.

In Canada, Quebec introduced a separate dish, Poutine, which included French fries and pickled cheese with sweet sauce. In the US, the restaurant offered a McRib burger with pork ribs without bones instead of burgers. Unlike in the USA, in Germany, the trend of healthy food has gained popularity (Discover McDonald's around the Globe, n. d.). Here, McDonald’s offers burgers made of 100% organic beef of German and Austrian cows. Animals are fed only on the environmentally pristine meadows, on which no pesticides are used. Der Long McB is a burger made of such beef. Italy differs from Germany in this regard; the Nuggets alternative includes the cake, Panzerotti Tonno Mozzarella e Capperi with tuna, cheese, and spices (Discover McDonald's around the Globe, n. d.). Thus, common product strategies of McDonald’s introduce several different product elements that are appealing to each particular country.

Regarding common features, the company's standards set clear rules regarding the size of the product. If the client does not mention the desired portions size, he or she gets the greatest one. First, such approach saves time. All orders must be received within 60 seconds; if the cashier starts to question, the queue will grow, and resentment will increase (Bhasin, 2016). Secondly, a large portion is more expensive; even with lower margins, it brings more profit because of the quantity, so McDonald’s earns a good profit.


McDonald's uses similar pricing, which is optimal in terms the correlation of benefits to the seller and buyer, as well as discounts on the price of the product on different occasions and for various groups of clients. Since the element of pricing in the marketing mix is similar in all four countries, one should note that the first priority of McDonald's is providing the highest quality of products at an affordable price. There are many factors that affect the pricing of products, including the cost of logistics, raw materials, and electricity (Bhasin, 2016). However, in these four countries, the company is in the middle and low price segment; thus, its prices are affordable. People with a different income can choose something from the menu that will fit not only their taste but also their budget. In terms of the price change, the prices are constantly changing in McDonald’s, but it is done rather thoughtfully and in a small range. Traditionally, hot drinks are much more expensive than cold ones, because the consumption of the last during the meal stimulates the appetite (Meyer, 2015). Therefore, all sodas are very cold or served with ice. Drinking tea or coffee takes a visitor much longer; it means additional time, which translates to additional costs.

McDonald's strategy of differential pricing is based on the heterogeneity of categories of registered customers and the possibility of selling the same product at several prices. This trend is similar in these four countries; however, the margins are different. One can compare the Big Mac index with the United States as the basis. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America was $5.04 in July of 2016 (Discover McDonald's around the Globe, n. d.). At the same time, in the euro zone, its price was $4.05. Nevertheless, in Germany, the price was $4.44 due to the higher margin, Canada - $4.60, Italy - $4.21 (Discover McDonald's around the Globe, n. d.).


Characterizing the element of place in the marketing mix in these four countries, some common and different features are to be identified. First, the place is chosen according to general principles in a similar manner. According to recent studies, over 70% of people visit McDonald’s spontaneously, and, as a rule, do not pre-plan such a visit (Meyer, 2015). According to this research, it becomes obvious that the company has developed a strategically important approach as all its spots are located in very crowded places (Conrad, Grover, Vinciguerra, & McKnight, 2009). Very often, McDonald’s in the US, Italy, and Germany can be found near the major universities, at the exit of the subway stations, at the main crossroads, near entertainment centers. In Canada, just as in the US, Germany, and Italy, McDonald’s restaurants are also located in places of congestion.

Regarding distribution channels, McDonald’s is not a traditional cafe; it is a fast food restaurant. Therefore, customers are not supposed to stay long here. If a visitor sits for some time, there will be no space for new customers, and it means that a certain percentage of revenue will be lost (Bhasin, 2016). Therefore, the main goal is the same: to satisfy the visitor and make him or her leave the place as soon as possible. For this purpose, all conditions are provided. The furniture is not convenient in all four countries; it is hard, and it does not move. However, unlike in other countries, in many American restaurants, a visitor has only a half of an hour on food (Discover McDonald's around the Globe, n. d.). After the expiration of this time, the staff may hasten one to leave. In other three states, this rule is not used; however, common elements of the strategy are similar.


In all four countries, promotion is similar due to the franchise rule, which is a part of the general policy (Bhasin, 2016). It includes such elements as the development and implementation of promotional activities, sales promotion, engaging in public relations and personal selling. First, it includes the anti-casting, which is utilized in all four countries similarly as the necessary element of promotion. All employees at McDonald’s should be equal; they should not stand out for the beauty or attractiveness. Females are selected in such a way that their appearance should not distract the attention of potential buyers from the menu. All girls that work at McDonald’s are prohibited to use bright cosmetics, manicure, perfumes, or jewelry, including rings and earrings. It is worth noting that such a promotion element targets not only visitors but also the staff. In addition, female employees without feminine clothes attract more families (Bhasin, 2016). As a rule, women in these families are very happy that their husbands will not look at the cute waitresses as it usually happens in other places. It is another bonus in the form of the women's loyalty.

In the Italy, the USA and Canada, McDonald’s utilizes another element regarding families in its promotion: the children luring. In Germany, McDonald’s is concerned with the issue even more as in other three countries under consideration. However, in Germany, parents do not bring their children to McDonald’s; on the contrary, children bring their parents here. McDonald’s system, which is designed to work with children, is thought out to the last detail: special playgrounds with slides, children's menu and toys, birthday parties at loyal prices, small bonuses and gifts in the form of beads for those kids that are in the queue, an abundance of attention, and incredible tolerance by the fast food staff (Bhasin, 2016). All these elements aim at both children and their parents. The brilliant idea, Happy Meal with toys, is designed to attract more children.

Also, McDonald’s staff is recommended never to use the particle "No." It can subconsciously program a customer to deny. Therefore, in the USA, Germany, Italy, and Canada, employees often use some substitutes such as "Do you want to try?" or "Will you take?"


The marketing mix of McDonald’s in the United States, Italy, Canada, and Germany, includes a set of tactical decisions that define specific marketing firm steps on the market. The combination of these factors is used by the company with the view to achieving the desired target market response. At the same time, the common element of the product strategy in all four countries is the emphasis on the recognition of the product. The different element considers some local items on tradition menu in each state. In the pricing strategy, the low and middle segment pricing is similar, while margin settings are different. The company focuses on the congestion in choosing the location. Promotion is the most similar element as it should follow the corporate policy; it has only small differences in priorities. It includes a variety of sales promotions. Thus, in the nutrition service industry, McDonald’s is an example of flexible and adequate development and implementation of an effective marketing mix.

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