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‘New Adult Happy Meals Are Killing Me’: McDonald’s Latest Novelty is a Supply and Logistics Nightmare

October 10, 2022 Leave a comment DRI Admin

McDonald’s has teamed with streetware company Cactus Plant Flea Market to create Happy Meals for nostalgic adults. Sounds like fun, right? But unfortunately – and not for the first time – a lack of planning and preparedness is causing headaches for frontline workers.

The grown-up version of the Happy Meal is available for a limited time, offering customers a choice of Big Mac meal or a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets meal complete with one of four toys. Unfortunately, the overwhelming demand for the meals has created massive problems for workers, who are reporting double to triple the number of orders for Big Macs and McNuggets, disrupting the entire kitchen ecosystem.

Other workers have reported a second problem – a lack of limits on the promotion. One post on Reddit pointed to an online order of 10 adult Happy Meals, which would cause a massive delay in the drive-thru line. Then there are the boxes themselves – large, unwieldy, and without a place in the tightly-controlled kitchen area, creating hazards when the boxes inevitably fall on the floor.

Why is the demand so high? Nostalgia certainly plays a part – ask a Gen-Xer or elder Millennial – but another reason is more mercenary. These limited edition, designer Happy Meal toys are already fetching a hefty profit on collector after-markets like eBay.

This isn’t the first time the Golden Arches misjudged the appeal of a niche promotion. In 2021, Pokemon cards included with (kids’) Happy Meals restaurants caused a stampede among collectors, forcing restaurants to restrict sales stop scalpers from buying up all the available meals to resell the cards for as much as a 350-times return.

And then there was the one-day revival of the Mulan Szechuan Sauce in 2017, tying in with a joke on the Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty. McDonald’s wildly underestimated the interest of this intense fandom, and when the sauces weren’t delivered to a large number of locations, the fans, to put it mildly, flipped out.

Maybe next time McDonald’s will finally learn a lesson about the impact a hastily-planned campaign can have on the ground? We’ll see how people react to the just-announced return of the Halloween Happy Meal trick-or-treating buckets.

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