1958. McDonald’s mastermind, Ray Kroc, had never envisioned a fish sandwich on the menu but one of his early franchisees, Lou Groen of Cincinnati, thought it might work. He explained to Kroc that he was losing business during Lent because 90% of his neighborhood was Catholic and the fish sandwich would be perfect.
Kroc thought he had a better idea, a Hula Burger with a pineapple slice instead of a meat patty. Groen convinced Kroc to test both at the same time. Filet-o-Fish won hands down and is still on the menu 54 years later.
Info, via NY Post, 5/6/2012, in a review of “How the Hot Dog Found its Bun” by Josh Chetwynd (Lyons Press).
That’s the kind of thing that made McDonald’s a great company.
A franchisee got to talk to the head honcho, disagree with him and propose a sensible solution. The honcho went along with it and lost gracefully with no hard feelings.
There were no focus groups, no analyzing the life out of the ideas. Just a simple test: what do customers like better, this sandwich or that sandwich? Total cost to figure out whether to go with the fish or pineapple? Insignificant.
The government should do this kind of thing.
The Republic’s not going to be hurt if McDonald’s doesn’t get its menu right. But it is going to be seriously damaged if we don’t get Obamacare right, or Dodd-Frank, or the Law of the Sea Treaty or alternative energy, or the idiot Buffet rule. But we don’t test any of those things. Hell, our elected reps don’t even read most of them.
The least they could do is build in an exit strategy for when their pineapple slice legislation blows up in the faces.
But they can’t do that. They are incapable of even contemplating that they might be wrong. They’re not the kind of people who should be making our laws. People like Ray Kroc and Lou Groen are.