What if Apple and McDonalds Merged?

By Rob Enderle July 29, 2014

Given how gushing Tim Cook was about the Apple IBM Partnership, and how interesting a merger might be between the firms, but how difficult would it be to pull off? For this reason, I wrote how you might structure such a deal using methods that EMC has pioneered in a way that would get the benefits of a merger but not the likely disastrous consequences—it wouldn’t even be that hard.  My old buddy John C. Dvorak (THErealDvorak) thought the whole concept was stupid and commented that it would be like merging Apple and McDonalds, which got me thinking what a merger of Apple and McDonalds would look like.   

It could change the whole meaning of the term Big Mac.  

More Expensive but far Better Food

McDonalds really doesn’t make great food and in the recent Consumer Reports rankings, it and most of the other firms in its massive class pretty much sucked, McDonalds was last however.   One of the first things an Apple merger would do is bring the food up market in line or better than an In and Out Burner, and like In and Out, they would reduce the number of items on the menu while improving the quality.   They would likely be driven to improve the health aspects of the field and seek patents of food that both tasted better and are better for you.  If successful they’d likely corner the market for burgers. 

McDonald’s stores would likely also become Apple showrooms were you could see, try and even buy some or all of Apple’s products depending on the location.  Certainly you could grab some food and have an Apple Genius help you with any problems you had with your Apple gear.  This would spread Apple support much more deeply in the U.S. and provide greater visibility to Apple products.  

Imagine being able to drive up to a McDonalds and drop your iPad, iPod, iPhone or Mac off for repair or exchange and grabbing a snack or coffee at the same time.  

Ronald McDonald – Steve Jobs

One thing both Jack in the Box and McDonalds have is immortal spokespeople.  Though we have seen Ronald McDonald for some time he could be reborn as an upscale trendy looking CEO without the clown face.  The guy that both eats and computes smart and finally fills the one huge gap still missing at Apple after Steve Jobs death, that of spokesman.  This trendy man about town in the 20 to 30 demographic would talk technology, smart and tasty eating and be a cornerstone of fashion, culinary expertise, and good taste with a young edge.  Kind of a younger better looking “most interesting man in the world” from the Dos Equis ad. 

He would be a walking showcase of Apple technology and good eating habits, of people who like well-designed products that always work but have schedules that drive them to fast but healthy food.   Wrapped by the creative team that created the Old Spice commercials you might even have enough content to create books and movies about their lives (kind of a cross between Doc Savage and Lara Croft from Tomb raider). 

Wrapping Up: 

I’ve seen stranger things, but I seriously doubt Apple and McDonalds are likely to merge.   However partnering to sell products across industries isn’t uncommon, and Apple is having some difficulty on a number of fronts at the moment, which is why they partnered with IBM for the enterprise.   They seem to be partnering with car companies as well, and given Jobs redesigned Apple around Porsche, a closer partnership there particularly on design could be in Apple’s future.  If they were to partner with a food company I expect they’d go more up market and that path wouldn’t be on the short list, but you have to admit an Apple-McDonalds combination would be interesting.  I actually think McDonalds could benefit a lot because a little bit of Apple quality and marketing could go a long way to restoring that firm’s place in the world.  It would completely change what the term Big Mac meant and likely for the better.   


President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group

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