Leisure and hospitality marketing: 5 reasons McDonald’s prospered during the Great Recession.

It's not well-known menu items like the Big Mac, but other strategies that have accounted for most of McDonald's recent revenue gains.

Leisure and hospitality marketing pros take note. If your brand has suffered during the recession, borrow a page from the McDonald’s playbook.

Joshua Ritchie, writing for the MintLife blog, analyzed several reports on McDonald’s recents sales gains, and outlined 5 strategies that have helped the QSR giant ride out this recession in style.

1. Recession-friendly pricing.

As early as November of 2008, Forbes was reporting that McDonald’s recession-proof pricing was helping it weather the economic tsunami better than Burger King and other competitors.

Specifically, Forbes gave credit to two pillars of the chain’s low-price strategy:  a.) the chain’s dollar menu; and b.) the fact that McDonald’s is the low-cost producer in the industry.

2.  New products for new markets.

CNN reported that McDonald’s current strength is due to the fact that the chain has “given more kinds of people more reasons to head to its stores throughout the day, buying an ever-wider range of products.”

The report cited the company’s successful introduction of premium coffees as just one example.

3.  Reduced advertising costs.

CNN also reported in August that the fast food chain has taken advantage of lower costs for local TV.

Other sources have reported that the company’s president and COO pushed the company’s ad agencies to negotiate hard with local TV stations.

4. Improved operations.

The Wall Street Journal reported last year that McDonald’s also benefited from a push to improve the efficiency of its operations by then President/COO Richard Alverez.

Some of his changes included pruning gas-guzzling cars from the company fleet, and putting the brakes on building new outlets on street corners where nearby development showed signs of weakness.

5. Rapid price adjustments.

McDonald’s now closely analyzes everything from whether customers are trading down to smaller value meals or dropping coke from their orders to exactly how much they’re willing to pay for a Big Mac.

This allows its restaurants to rapidly adjust prices based on current customer demand.

That’s what McDonald’s is doing to prosper during the downturn. What is your leisure or hospitality brand doing or not doing, and how’s it working? Let’s talk about it.



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