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  • Writer's pictureprachi mevada

Established Vs Challenger Brands- McDonald's Vs Shake Shak

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

McDonald’s is a multinational fast-food company Created in 1952. Their mission is to create delicious feel-good moments for everyone. It has established itself as a leader in the growing fast-food category. One of the factors that drove them to be an established brand is the apparent effort to adjust to the growing demand for fast food in today's world. One of the examples of succeeding at expanding their business worldwide is their franchise model. McDonald’s is primarily a franchisor and believes franchising is paramount to delivering great-tasting food. The company franchises and operates McDonald's restaurants, which serve a locally-relevant menu of quality food and beverages in 119 countries. Of the 39,198 restaurants at year-end 2020, 36,521 were franchised, which is 93% of Mc Donald's restaurants. Given the pandemic and current situation, they have identified three new growth pillars to provide sustainable growth in the coming year. As they call it, the three arches M -C- D. M- Maximizing their marketing, they plan to capitalize on the digital behaviours to drive growth further and build a deeper connection with their customers. C-Committing to the core, they discovered that their famous classics such as fries, nuggets and Big Mac are still peoples favourite and are planning to promote and adhere to their core menu. D- Doubling down on Digital, Delivery and Drive-Thru, They believe focusing on building a robust digital experience growth engine that provides a fast, easy experience for the customers will help further growth. For the upcoming year, the Company will expedite technology innovation so that when customers interact with McDonald's, they can enjoy a fast, effortless experience that meets their needs. Their strategy is to have a relentless focus on running great restaurants, including improving the speed of service to address customer needs.

Shake Shack is a reasonably new premium fast-food chain that came into existence in 2001. With its mission of creating uplifting experiences for everyone. Shake Shack has developed as a challenger to the rest of its competitors and managed to stand out in the saturated market of the ever-growing fast-food industry. By providing a premium food experience with fast service expected by a fast-food restaurant. Focusing on where it matters and speaking the language their customers can relate to and resonate with has changed the narrative of the fast-food industry being harmful and unhealthy. Leading with their purpose," We stand for something good", Shake shack has taken many initiatives in the right direction. They introduced sustainable packaging alternatives for cutlery and water bottles, Supported both national and local organizations, made donations to the Equal Justice Initiative, the Fresh Air Fund, Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants and Provided thousands of meals to healthcare & frontline workers during the pandemic. Apart from their products and services, they focus heavily on their culture as a brand. They have prioritized internal and external branding and focused on the well-being of both their customers and employees. One promising initiative was to introduce support groups for their employees and promised ethical practices in the workplace, which has helped them build a community externally and internally. They focus on brand language and brand awareness by carefully collaborating with companies and brands that they resonate with and believe in creating a new experience by enforcing their purpose and mission in everything they do.

As an established brand such as McDonald's and its global reach, it is essential for a brand to resonate with the audience both globally and locally. Even though McDonald's have adjusted their menu and food choices according to its geographical location, it lacks the emotional connection to the customer. It could be achieved by building communities locally and focusing more on the ongoing problems in specific geographical zones. One way that can be done is by Customizing their website or adding a blog/initiative page for each country/area to show their support, and initiatives towards that direction would prove very beneficial for the brand. It lacks clear communication for the values and causes that they stand for or represent. Having a clear message would help build an emotional connection to their customer and add to their brand equity. Going beyond their focus of providing better quality food to establish a healthy culture for their brand will help them rise over the idea of a convenient brand as it puts itself in the danger of being commoditized.

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