The stories about McDonald's burger makeover are rolling out. Could this be another “New Coke," or is it a necessary reaction to competition at Five Guys and Shake Shack (not to mention Chick-fil-A)?
It's a bet-the-company decision--do you make drastic changes to your familiar product to keep up with the newbies, or do you sell yourself as tried-and-true? Food is different from, say, a smartphone. People have loyalties and Proustian associations--yes, even to Big Macs!
Path #1 is to follow the changing tastes but get the tweaks just right so that the customer sees it as a “better” item.
Path #2 is to stick with your established formula and draw on sentimental attachments.
McDonald's needs to “read the crowd” just as a good lawyer needs to read a judge and jury. Which story is most appealing?
It's both food science and psychology. Pass the fries!