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Hits and Misses in Localisation

I always highlighted to people that Uni-President, the brand holder of Starbucks in Taiwan, has done a fantastic job not only in attaining the brand reputation but further elevated the customer experience in both products and services to a whole new level. Not gonna discuss that here in details, but obviously who traveled here for the States will share the same story to you abt the premium experience they received locally in Taiwan, from greeting to consistent product quality, to a wider range of delights and pastries.

And the same happens to the McDonald here as well. Of course, nothing's perfect here. For me to better understand more abt the local retail business dynamics, the best way of doing so is to make a comparison with the headquarter operation and the foreign franchise brand holder side by side. In the States, we all know the business of McDonald had once dramatically declined in a few years back, and gradually regained some tractions in last year. They are on and off being on the headline news, not for their excellence but only dramas like fist fights, food contamination and business conflict with its franchise owners. The horrible hygiene problem of McDonald stores in the States is publicly acknowledged by the 3 yrs old infants to the 65 yrs retires. And abt their food quality... Let's not go there. If there's a better option, In-N-Out, Chick-Fil-A, Shake Shack, and Five Guys are where every American preferred to enjoy a juicy, tasty and beefy burgers along with fries and a milkshake. Their wins are simply due to quality products, services, and dining environment.

Interestingly, that fundamental business formula has been indeed succeeded by the oversea franchise partners. Here in Taiwan, an average meal costs less than NT $109 (USD$3.6) on the street or other local fast chains. Therefore, to McDonald Taiwan with a higher average cost, they have to deliver a more premium experience for market competitiveness. Moreover, they have to twist the complicated original MCD menu for fitting the taste buds of the local residents. So, rather seeing the typical MCD items, you'll find Taro Pie, 1+1=NT$50 (USD$1.65) menu and more for localization. Their meal options ain't abt "Go Large" in size but provide you five various "real" options combining with salad, Fuze tea, McWing or McThigh besides the classic combo of fries and soda. Plus, if just by looking at the store's neatness and cleanliness, you'll definitely give your thumbs up for Taiwan's operation. You are hardly able to see a food sting on the kitchen floor or beverage fountain. In an addition, very clear signages and menus guide the customers to promptly make their best choice and pick up their orders for feeding those hungry stomachs. From the marketing point of view, MCD Taiwan has also done a fabulous job in signage design and product packaging, from poster card to wrapping paper. The ingredients used in their food are too sourced from reliable, certified suppliers domestically and internationally. Like their Angus Beef, it's imported from Australia and New Zealand's quality farms with ISO Certifications; And Pork's from the EU GRMS certified farms. The cooking and veggie oil used for frying are inspected twice a day to ensure the food safety for building customer confidence in their branding.

But, MCD Taiwan wasn't perfect. Their Point of Sales is restricted to accept Cash and Easycard only, which is very inconvenient for tourists and Western residents. Another miss is their corporate website. Its design is still primitive and clustered, lack of today's UI design and technology to increase operational efficiency and marketing effect, and build an online/offline business suitable to the high population density environment.

Here's my short note for the observation I'd from my quick 5 mins Togo order today. Perhaps, you may have a different perspective abt McDonald Taiwan. Feel free to drop me a line to share and comment.



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