December 04, 2006

The Demise of Ronald MacDonald

I've decided it's about time I forced some audience participation on you all. So I want to pose a problem I've wondered about for years. Tin Roof and I discussed it on the drive to TN before Thanksgiving.

The question: what would it take to bring down MacDonald's?

I'm talking worldwide. Doors closed forever. Goodbye Fry Guy. Sayonara Grimace. Try White Castle, Hamburgler.

Let me explain. We have all seen businesses come and go through the years. Perhaps the demand for a product fades. Perhaps a corporate scandal undermines the company's finances. But some businesses - like MacDonald's - seem woven into the fabric of America (and for that matter the world). But surely MacDonald's isn't invincible, is it? The way I see it, a few things would be necessary in any scenario that might result in the eradication of MacDonald's...
  1. MacDonald's would have to take a serious financial hit.
  2. Something should prevent investors from reviving the franchise.
  3. Global demand would have to shrink greatly.
So what do you think? What kind of scenario would it take for this to happen? Corporate scandal? Massive sanitary crisis? Worldwide healthy-living? Knowing my readership as I do, I dare say we have enough diabolical minds to plot the demise of Ronald. After all, we're the crew that once planned to rob Northwestern's Dance Marathon charity - Ocean's Eleven style.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most effective way would be widespread, long-term, global financial and economic collapse.

Widespread acceptance of Ludditism might work.

Widespread anti-capitalist sentiment might work as well.

Plagues of health issues may be good, but perhaps not good enough. Jack in the Box is still around. And most people only associate it with foodborne illness deaths.

But were I really to put money on it, I would say that they will suffer because of better competition. Someone will come along and revolutionize the business and the culture of McDonald's won't be able to keep up. They'll lose money, market share, and stores. When it shrinks into a shell of its former self, a series of mergers and acquisitions will make it effectively go away.

Scott said...

Two words: Mad Cow. A US case of mad cow disease would probably kill all fast food.

Anonymous said...

On a related note, check out this article on E.coli and Taco Bell. I doubt if anyone outside of NY and NJ will even bat an eyelash.

Jared and Beth said...

I think it should be some combination of nobrainer and mcjew's comments. If the health crisis were on a massive scale, a number of consequences would follow. First, the victims and families of victims would sue the company. If this thing was widespread enough, there might be enough lawsuits to cripple the company. However a company like MacDonald's might usually have no problem obtaining loans and whatnot. However an epidemic like this coupled with some of the other social and economic issues nobrainer suggested might mean that people would finally stop visiting the chain.

Any other thoughts?
Anything more obscure and dastardly?

Anonymous said...

Do we still get to keep Chipotle?

And trust me, Makodonarudo is going nowhere in Japan.

Dubs said...

Nothing can kill the Grimace.

Anonymous said...

Did Dubs just drop a clecks cartoon reference on us? OH SHIT!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

As a reminder of how difficult the challenge is, consider that the tobacco companies still aren't out of business yet.

Jared and Beth said...

Good point. And Big Macs are much more delicious than cigarettes.

The Bourbon Samurai said...

When at last it is revealed that the quarter pounder with cheese is made out of people.

Anonymous said...

What will bring down Mickey D's? The end of the monopoly game that lets you get an occasional free egg mcmuffin or a large fry. Once they do away with the game, it's all over.

Dubs said...

That's right. I went there. And I'm glad, I tell ya. Glad!

Hal said...

My response isn't a humorous one, so take that for what it's worth.

The radical Islamists hate America and everything that represents it. When they start having riots, they like to go after embassies. However, if the US doesn't have an embassy in said country, where do they turn?

Fast food.

McDonalds, of course, isn't the only victim in this. The Colonel has seen his share of destruction as well.

However, you let those people get some global influence, and you can kiss Ronald good-bye.