McDonald’s testing new product

The largest fast food chain in the world, McDonald’s is testing out a new product in the Northeast United States in about 600 restaurants. In keeping with their transition to a more health balanced menu, McDonald’s is launching an oatmeal product for its breakfast menu. Apparently, the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal is made fresh (whatever that means since it is McDonald’s after all) and includes fruits such as raisins, sliced apple and dried cranberries, along with maple. If the testing goes well then they will likely launch it across the U.S., although there is not word yet on a Canadian launch.

McDonald's new Fruit and Maple Oatmeal

McDonald’s is not breaking any new ground with this product, however. Starbucks introduced an oatmeal product to their menu a little while back. They actually offer it throughout the day and not just the morning hours and have had very good results from it. Certainly, Starbucks’ success with their oatmeal at least encouraged, if not gave the idea for McDonald’s to offer a similar product. This follows McDonald’s aggressive campaign for their coffee throughout the U.S. and Canada where they are trying to compete head on with chains like Starbucks, Tim Horton’s and Dunkin Donuts.

It is very striking that McDonald’s chooses to compete with different types of food establishments than they used to in the past. They are still competing with their old foes Burger King, Wendy’s and a swarm of other smaller chains in the U.S. mostly, but now they are becoming consistent rivals to coffee shop chains like Starbucks which is an interesting evolution for the Golden Arches. They are obviously big enough to handle competition on multiple fronts, especially since they have been the clear winners against the other burger chains for a long time now.

McDonald’s breakfast menu is said to have higher margins for McDonald’s than their other foods which is why they want to make sure that they keep customers interested in it by offering new products like the oatmeal and coffee (even though coffee is an all day product for them). They are also starting to change how the restaurant looks by giving it a more classy appearance. Again, this is more in line with competition from Starbucks than Burger King. Along with more healthy products, a more upscale atmosphere is a way for McDonald’s to try to lure a more diverse customer base to its restaurants. Specifically, this is a clear attempt to have a customer base that has some more money to spend and is willing to spend it on food they perceive as being better for their health.

It doesn’t mean that they will stop selling burgers though, as they will likely be selling them for the next 30 years or more, but it shows that they are evolving to become more reflective of today’s society. A society that is becoming more than one with just the single thought of inexpensive, good tasting food to one that includes individual health as part of the value package they want. For now, this evolution seems to be working for McDonald’s and soon we will see if it continues with their new oatmeal.