What’s a Happy Meal?


If you’re a parent, you know about McDonalds.  And, the Happy Meal.

I’ll bet you’ve bought your fair share of them.  Maybe more.





But have you ever considered what a Happy Meal really is?  Or, why parents buy them for their kids?

There’s an excellent lesson here . . .

McDonald’s UNDERSTANDS . . . what their customers want.

The customer is, of course, not the kid.  It’s the PARENT of a child.

So if the parent is buying the Happy Meal . . . what is it that they’re buying?

This question comes up at McDonald’s “Hamburger University” — the training center for new McDonald’s franchises.  

Allegedly, the McDonald’s trainer asks the new franchisees, “What is a Happy Meal?”  The new recruits usually described it accurately. “A burger, fries, soda and toy in a playful container”.  The instuctor says, “Technically . . . correct.  BUT . . . what are people hoping to get when they ask for a Happy Meal?”  The recruits fidget.  Even they know it’s not what they just said. It’s not just a box with a burger, fries, soda and a toy?  Nope.  That would be too easy!

After some discussion, the McDonald’s instructor reveals the secret: “What the parent is buying isn’t the Happy Meal.  It’s what they hope to gain by buying it”.  “OK,”  the franchisee’s are thinking, “Which means . . . what?”

The instructor obliges them.  “The parent who buys our Happy Meals . . . isn’t buying what you described”  The room of new franchhisees are getting really confused, now.  “Nope.  What they’re buying is . . . :::::drum roll:::::: . . . 7 minutes . . . to wolf down their own food before their kids drag them out onto the playscape!”.  

The McDonald’s Happy Meal is a package.  And a packages ALWAYS produces a valued outcome.  And THAT . . . is what people buy when they’re buying your package or bundle of services that you offer.  

McDonald’s understands this.  I hope you do, too!

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