McDonalds Brand Promises

mcdonalds brand promises

McDonalds restaurants dominated the world of quick serve franchising for decades based on these simple brand promises:

  1. McDonalds Brand Promise #1: Consistent
  2. McDonalds Brand Promise #2: Clean
  3. McDonalds Brand Promise #3 Convenient

A brand promise is simply a promise that you keep to your customer that they value and that you are committed to deliver on a consistent basis.

See more about their original brand promises here:

But McDonalds became a victim of its own success, as every hamburger chain copied them and delivered exactly the same brand promises.  McDonalds had to update their brand promises, or lose their special selling advantage, and unique place in the market.

So, here are their updated brand promises:

  1. McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #1: Consistent
  2. McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #2: Fun
  3. McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #3 Fast


McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #1: Consistent

McDonalds decided that consistency was key to its success.  Selling food that tastes the same and has the same quality standard whether it is served in Tokyo, San Francisco, or Cairo, is a major challenge.

Leadership decided that it was still a huge promise to focus on and continue delivering.  So their #1 brand promise is still ‘consistent.’


McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #2: Fun

‘Clean’ was a major selling point when McDonalds was young.  Other restaurants didn’t focus on clean.  Service stations were known to be dirty.  Clean was a whole new concept in eating!

But today clean is ‘table stakes.’  If you want to play the game, cleanliness is assumed.  Every hamburger chain is clean, or they’re out of business.  So clean no longer works.

McDonalds decided to up their game with the brand promise of ‘fun.’  Some of the initiatives they focus on to make the restaurants fun include:

  • Toys
  • Games (like McDonalds Monolopy)
  • Play places for kids
  • Promotions using kid’s movies
  • Happy meals!

When anyone thinks ‘fun’ along with a quick, reasonably priced meal, they tend to think about McDonalds.

McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #3 Fast

Commitment to speed is a hallmark of the new, improved McDonalds.  Think of the initiatives going on right now, at your local restaurants.

Some of the changes to make sure they are the fastest fast food around include:

  • Kiosk ordering
  • Drive throughs (and now double drive throughs)
  • Get your own drink
  • Curbside pickup
  • App ordering
  • Numbered orders for in-store orders
  • One counter for all pick up orders

All of these initiatives promote much faster service.

Mystery shoppers show up at franchise stores and time orders to make sure they are fast.  They take food apart to make sure it is consistent.  And of course head office makes sure there is lots of fun stirred into the mix.

You can’t be everything to everyone, so you must decide:  what do you stand for?  These are called your brand promises!

Choose them, and pivot the business to be able to deliver them consistently, every time.

In summary:

A brand promise is something that you customer values and that you promise to deliver to them with a high degree of consistency.  Here are McDonalds original three brand promises:

  1. McDonalds Original Brand Promise #1: Consistent
  2. McDonalds Original Brand Promise #2: Clean
  3. McDonalds Original Brand Promise #3 Convenient

And here are their updated brand promises that they use to stay competitive and to be different in the very crowded hamburger market:

  1. McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #1: Consistent
  2. McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #2: Fun
  3. McDonalds Updated Brand Promise #3 Fast


Additional resources

Thanks for reading this article on ‘How McDonalds updated their brand promises to focus on winning’  Below are additional resources from Professional Leadership Institute, the global provider of online human resources and leadership tools:


Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here:


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