As businessmen, we are always looking for successful business models to emulate and learn from. One such model is Burger King's expansion into the Australian market, where it was forced to change its name to…
As one of the most recognizable brands in the world, McDonald’s has been a household name for decades. But the fast-food giant’s success goes beyond just burgers and fries. Over the years, McDonald’s has made significant investments and ventures in various industries, from fast-casual dining to technology and sustainability. In this article, we will explore some of McDonald’s most notable investments and ventures, and how they have shaped the company’s growth and success.
In 1998, McDonald’s made a bold move by investing in Chipotle, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain that was founded in Denver, Colorado. At the time, Chipotle had only a few locations, but McDonald’s saw potential in the company’s unique concept of serving fresh, high-quality food at affordable prices. The investment allowed Chipotle to expand rapidly, and by 2006, McDonald’s had sold off its stake in the company for over $1.5 billion.
Although the investment proved to be lucrative for McDonald’s, it also had some negative repercussions. Many Chipotle fans were disappointed to see the fast food giant involved with the beloved chain, and some even boycotted Chipotle as a result. However, the investment in Chipotle demonstrated McDonald’s willingness to take risks and explore new markets.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, McDonald’s made a foray into the pizza market with McPizza. The company spent millions of dollars developing and marketing the product, which was initially well-received by consumers. However, McPizza ultimately failed to gain a foothold in the highly competitive pizza market, and McDonald’s discontinued the product in the mid-1990s.
While McPizza was not a success, it demonstrated McDonald’s willingness to experiment and diversify its product offerings. The company has continued to do so in recent years with the introduction of items like all-day breakfast and plant-based options, which have been successful in attracting new customers.
In addition to its investments in the restaurant industry, McDonald’s also briefly ventured into the DVD rental market with Redbox. In 2005, McDonald’s partnered with Redbox to pilot a DVD rental service at select locations. The pilot was successful, and McDonald’s planned to expand the service to all of its locations. However, the company ultimately decided to sell its stake in Redbox to focus on its core business of fast food.
While the Redbox venture was short-lived, it showed McDonald’s willingness to explore new business models and opportunities outside of its traditional offerings.
In 2000, McDonald’s acquired Boston Market, a chain of restaurants specializing in rotisserie chicken and other homestyle dishes. The acquisition was part of McDonald’s efforts to diversify its product offerings and compete in the fast-casual market.
However, McDonald’s struggled to integrate Boston Market into its operations, and the chain ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 1998. McDonald’s sold the chain in 2007 to private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, which has since rebranded it as Boston Market and continued to operate it as a standalone business.
Pret A Manger
In 2001, McDonald’s invested in Pret A Manger, a UK-based sandwich and coffee chain. The investment allowed Pret to expand rapidly and establish a presence in new markets, including the US. McDonald’s eventually sold its stake in Pret in 2008, but the investment allowed the company to explore new opportunities in the fast-casual market and expand its international footprint.
In 1993, McDonald’s introduced McCafé, a line of coffee-based beverages that allowed the company to enter the highly competitive coffee market. While the initial reception was mixed, McCafé has since become a major part of McDonald’s business and has helped to attract new customers.
McDonald’s acquisition of Dynamic Yield in 2019 has enabled the fast-food giant to offer customized menus based on factors such as time of day, weather, and trending menu items. In Malaysia, McDonald’s has implemented this technology to provide personalized recommendations to customers through its digital platforms, enhancing the customer experience and improving satisfaction.
McDonald’s invested in Plexure in 2019 to offer personalized mobile app promotions. In Malaysia, the company has improved its app with mobile ordering and payment options, reducing wait times and increasing convenience. Additionally, McDonald’s has implemented drive-thru technology such as digital menu boards and automated ordering systems to improve the customer experience and efficiency.
Beyond Meat & McVeggie
McDonald’s partnership with Beyond Meat in 2019 to test a plant-based burger in select markets demonstrates the fast-food giant’s commitment to sustainability and catering to changing dietary preferences. In Malaysia, McDonald’s introduced the McVeggie burger in 2018 but has since discontinued it due to lackluster demand. McDonald’s efforts to offer more plant-based options show its dedication to sustainability and meeting customer needs.
Uber Eats & GrabFood
McDonald’s partnership with Uber Eats in 2017 enabled the fast-food giant to expand its reach and tap into the growing market for food delivery. In Malaysia, McDonald’s has expanded its delivery services by partnering with Grab and its own network of drivers, improving convenience for its customers and increasing sales. McDonald’s continues to invest in and improve its delivery services, including offering promotions and discounts.
McDonald’s has been a leader in the fast-food industry for decades, but its success is not just limited to burgers and fries. The company has made bold moves and investments that have allowed it to diversify its business and explore new markets. From investing in Chipotle and Pret A Manger to introducing McCafé and implementing technology to improve the customer experience, McDonald’s has demonstrated a willingness to take risks and innovate.
While not every investment has been a success, McDonald’s has learned important lessons about the importance of diversification and risk-taking in business. Malaysian businesses can look to McDonald’s example as inspiration for their own ventures and investments. By being willing to take calculated risks and explore new opportunities, we can achieve long-term growth and success in our businesses.