When it comes to the fast food industry, no one — and I mean no one — compares to McDonald’s. Forget the food: I’m talking about the company as a whole. They’re the biggest and the best, no comparison.
The Golden Arches made nearly $1.4 billion profit — that’s billion! — in the last quarter. Burger King? $75.1 million. Wendy’s? $29 million. McDonald’s has more than 35,000 locations worldwide. Combined, Wendy’s, Burger King and Taco Bell have about 26,000.
If McDonald’s is the emperor of fast food, it would be Napoleon and Julius Caesar at the height of their power combined. And when a powerful emperor is at his height, no one dares challenge him.
But these aren’t the best of times for McDonald’s. While it’ll stay number one in fast food for the foreseeable future (no one else is going to make $1 billion profit anytime soon), the company is struggling. Its U.S. sales have stagnated, global sales are down, it was recently connected in a huge food safety scare in Asia, and it’s struggling to bring in the millennial audience, considered to be the next major revenue stream for consumer goods in general.
When there’s blood in the water, sharks will circle. McDonald’s competitors are homing in, and it’s all leading to better deals and menu offerings for consumers.
• Burger King began a limited-time promotion offering 10-piece chicken nuggets for $1.49. McDonald’s is currently selling its 20-piece nuggets for $5, and it’s using the product to promote its annual Monopoly game promotion, a regular market driver. So essentially, during one of McDonald’s big promotional pushes for chicken nuggets, Burger King is offering the same number of nuggets for $2 less.
• Carl’s Jr. is currently selling all sizes of its soft drinks for $1, offering the deal not long after McDonald’s began selling all of its soft drinks for the same promotional price. The difference? Carl’s Jr.’s largest soft drink size is 44 ounces, while McDonald’s tops out at 32 ounces.
• Taco Bell is going after the morning fast food crowd with the launch of its breakfast menu across the U.S. Lots of fast food chains offer breakfast, but which one did Taco Bell attack in its ad campaign? Here’s a hint: the commercials feature a bunch of guys all named Ronald McDonald.
• Burger King features its various Big King sandwiches — an attempt to counter McDonald’s Big Mac — in its 2-for-$5 mix-and-match promotion.
McDonald’s is in no danger of being overthrown at the top. It’s just too big. But as long as McDonald’s struggles, its competitors will keep attacking. And that’s all to the benefit of customers.