Rapping McDonald’s order gets a bad rap

While the above video is several years old, this news piece about a real group of would-be rappers placing their order via rap is not only new, but managed to get the boys arrested.

How would your employees react? How would you react?

The obvious answer to their order is… “Do you want fries with that?”  (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Seriously though, while I can see where you might have trouble getting the order correct (I picked up some but not all of it), but there was a lot more to be gained from this by reacting positively.

Instead of taking a shot at alienating an entire community of teens for something this harmless, there are several other options.

One easy example: invite them to judge a Rap-Your-Order contest. McDonald’s corporate could get a big-time rapper to do the same thing on a national basis.

Think “American Idol meets Big Mac meets P Diddy.”

A contest would likely engage one of your highest transaction frequency customer groups – teens.

The Rap Police

Sure, you’d have to make it clear that rapping your order was not something you want to hear at the drive-up, and I’m sure that no matter what the solution to that issue might be, the average McDonald’s franchisee could figure out how to enforce it without alienating their customers.

It might be easier to encourage rap orders during very specific times. For example, you might offer some sort of promo (upsized drink, for example) for clearly rapped orders during a typical teenage-heavy timeframe, such as late night weekends.

Whatever you do, if you do it to engage your customers, you can think it through and figure out the ins and outs of the situation.

Your contest might turn into an annual event and might also get you quite a lot of no-cost PR.

Or you could be a grumpy old cuss and have them arrested. That’s sure to engage your teen clients and their parents (and friends and so on).

Which seems like a better long term move?

Coffee: The new “Do you want fries with that?”

Mystical station
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jsome1

Anyone who has studied business or marketing for any period of time has looked at the impact that one sentence has had on McDonald’s.

It gets used in sales training every single day because almost everyone is familiar with that upsell. In some cases, it has become a punch line. The increment on each sales transaction was minor, but it adds up store-wide in a big hurry.

The “new black” in MickeyD upsells is moving people to a McCafe coffee drink. Bet on it to be HUGE financially for McDonald’s, even if it is primarily a get-it-and-go sale.

I suspect Ronald McDonald knows better than to think his stores are going to be the next “thirdplace”. Still, with a new upsell of $2.50 to $3.50 to their average transaction, there’s a big payoff.

Thirdplaces can relax, just a tiny little bit

I don’t expect it to hurt Starbucks and independent coffee shops all that much because they tend to be a thirdplace: a meeting place, an escape from the office, a hangout with friends, a place to meet clients and the like.

However, the new McCafe habit could easily impact the drive-up coffee kiosks that saturate street corners and unused parking lot areas nationwide – particularly if they don’t stand out with outstanding service and great coffee.

Having a good reason to drive past McDonald’s wouldn’t hurt their case.

For example, one of the coffee shops here stands out by having a cowgirl theme. The ladies in the kiosk dress like cowgirls (modern day, but still), their branding is Western cowgirl oriented and it flows nicely across their entire business – including their catering trailer. I know people who drive miles across town past 3 or 4 other kiosks just to get coffee from the cowgirl drive-ups.

That’s what standing out will do for you.

I was kidding about the relax thing. Relax? Are you nuts? 🙂

Starbucks just sells coffee.

Look closely at your business. Is there a complementary upsell that you can add to your line of products / services?

Maybe it won’t add 50% to an average transaction like a McCafe drink can, but you should still be looking for things that your customers SHOULD be buying when they buy what they came to the store to get.

Do you let them walk out the door with plywood or 2x4s without asking about nails, screws, liquid nails and other necessities?

Do you sell them a website without asking about other business services that complement their site?

I hear it coming: “Oh, but we just do websites.” Sure. And Starbucks just sells coffee.

If their website looks like it was built with Microsoft Front Page in 1995, it’s reasonable that other aspects of their business could use a refresh as well.

Chances are there will be all sorts of inconsistencies with their stationery, business cards, and in fact their entire marketing message. They may need other help as well. Once all this new stuff rolls out, will their sales staff need training? Will their delivery people or service staff need a reboot on how they do things? Probably.

The tough question: Are you selling them a pile of HTML and graphics or are you giving them the tools they need to take their business to the next level? No one wants to buy HTML. Everyone wants to buy the magic pill that transforms their business, even if that means buying HTML along with a few other things.

Even if you don’t want to, can’t or are not interested in doing those other things, you can always find someone you trust who *can* do them.

Save them from themselves

Remember, an upsell doesn’t have to be an extra. It might be what saves that customer an extra trip back to the store (or worse, to a competitor’s store). It might be what they REALLY TRULY NEED.

Save them money. Save them time. Make sure they have everything they need before they hit the road. I guarantee they’ll remember it if you start saving them return trips to the store, regardless of how much extra they spend during that first trip.