The McDonald’s Daily Double: Are You Fooled?

McDonalds Sign "Try Our New Daily Double Just $1.99"

The McDonald’s sign that first attracted my attention to their “new menu item”

Ever since McDonald’s updated the design of their restaurant buildings from the crazy-clown red and yellow motif that seemed to eerily scream ‘come to me kids!’ to a more substantial and calming brick, glass, and yellow design with their built-in McCafe’s, I have frequented them much more often. Their image is heading in the right direction – different eating areas for kids, young folk, adults, seniors, etc. Muted tones. Fancier and more lifelike display of food on digital signage. It finally seemed like McDonald’s was going to re-image itself as a higher-end quick service type of restaurant. That was, until I got fooled by their Daily Double.

I had seen the sign driving by a local McDonald’s over the past few weeks suggesting I try a Daily Double. Finally last week, I decided to try this new ‘deal’. At first, I thought it was only the Milford, Ohio McDonald’s that carried it … but finally walking in, I saw a proper promotional spread on their display. “Ok,” I said to myself, “so this Daily Double thing isn’t some local-only thing.” It looked very interesting – it was a cheaper version of their big angus sandwiches … it had lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese and two pieces of meat. It was only $1.99. So I ordered that, a side salad, and fries. “This should be awesome,” I thought to myself. It was, until I realize how McDonald’s fooled me.

I don’t fault you if you have not been in a McDonald’s lately and do not know their menu. Most of their sandwiches hover around $4 and the Value Meal is usually $2 extra for the drink and fries. I would guess the average bill per person is $9. However, I am probably one of McDonald’s most unprofitable customers because my bill is always $3 – generally I get a $1 side salad + $1 fry + $1 McDouble sandwich + $0 glass of water. A good deal and just the right amount of food for a quick lunch or dinner or while on a road trip.

So I was frustrated when I realized that a Daily Double is a McDouble + toppings.

The Daily Double might as well be called the “Double Your Cost for Almost The Same Thing.” This is a classic example of a ‘product line extension’ as the corporate world sometimes calls it. They answered the question, “How can we get more money out of people by adding a couple of almost no-cost things.” It worked beautifully for McDonald’s. Congratulations.

Sorry Trebek, but I will never buy a Daily Double again.

That type of behavior is the type of thing that the old McDonald’s would do. The art of product line extensions is ‘making it hard to detect that it is an extension’ and relaying the message that it is a new product. I got the latter, but it took me a total of one second of holding the sandwich for me to realize they failed on the former. I felt cheated and taken advantage of, and no customer wants to be taken advantage of. I hope this doesn’t mean McDonald’s growth plan is grabbing at straws – ’cause I just blew off the wrapper.

I would say the puzzle of the Daily Double is solved, but now McDonald’s has a weary customer of their ‘new’ menu items. It’s a shame. I hope it goes better for you.

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