“We’ve got a vegan burger going in Germany at the moment on a promotional basis,” says McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook. “When you look at the whole meat substitute type ideas what will be interesting for us will be to see who is particularly interested in that. Is it an existing customer who wants just an alternative option? Is it to bring a new customer in? We’re exploring that and trying to understand it better and also understand a customers acceptability of that particular type of product.”
McDonald’s May Soon Sell Vegan Burgers Worldwide
We’ve got a vegan burger going in Germany at the moment on a promotional basis. When you look at the whole meat substitute type ideas what will be interesting for us will be to see who is particularly interested in that. Is it an existing customer who wants just an alternative option? Is it to bring a new customer in? We’re exploring that and trying to understand it better and also understand a customers acceptability of that particular type of product. There’s a lot of buzz around it at the moment, but it’s clearly prepared in a different way to a traditional beef patty. We’re keeping a close eye on it and watching this space.
It undoubtedly does bring complexity to the preparation. You’ve got to segregate the tools you use and the grills from beef products because some people are clearly not beef eaters. So we know there’s complexity. The question is will the demand make it worth absorbing the complexity because it’s will drive the business? We had a similar discussion, maybe four years ago, around all day breakfast. It certainly adds complexity to the operation but the demand was sufficient that we wanted to find a way to absorb that. It’s something we’re certainly taking a good look at.
I Don’t Think Vegan Meat is Faddish
I don’t think it’s faddish. Whether it maintains its same level of buzz I think is what’s interesting. Like any other restaurant business, you want throughput, you want to keep serving the items so you can keep them fresh and well-prepared. Our teams in the restaurants, the crew, and the managers are well trained in preparing them. You really want to have a certain volume of those just to keep the finished menu item hot and fresh for the customer. So we’re taking a little look at this one.
The one thing about the job I have is McDonald’s attracts attention no matter what it is you’re doing. Clearly, anyone who has something they want to get scale to will often look to McDonald’s to be that partner to help them scale in any way, shape, or form. You’ve also got to look at just the sheer volumes that we require just because we serve around the world 70 million customers a day. If I just take the cage-free eggs example here in the US. When we made the announcement, that was going to be a five-year announcement to transition across. It takes that amount of time to make sure there’s that sufficient supply so you can meet the demand.
These are all the factors you’ve got to take into account. Do you launch your test just in a particular city? Do you launch in just one particular regional or a smaller market elsewhere in the world? You want to test these things out when they’ve got the kind of volume that can meet the potential demands. So we’ll see, but we’re pretty familiar with trying new items and new products and how we can test and assess. Frankly, the customer won’t always be the decision maker on this one.