Home / Tankestrø / AW01 – Lesson task – Applying the SCAMPER model to McDonalds

AW01 – Lesson task – Applying the SCAMPER model to McDonalds

Use the Internet to research the history of the fast food chain McDonald’s and explain which parts of the SCAMPER model are evident in its development onto its current success.

What is the SCAMPER model you might think?

It is one of many methods and models to spark your creativity and innovation. When you are trying to develom new things, there are several approaches. SCAMPER makes for a grid to help you:

Substitute something

Combine it with something else

Adapt something to it

Modify or Magnify it

Put to other uses

Elminate something

Reverse or Rearrange it

Needless to say, McDonalds main goal is to earn money. Through history the business have made a lot of creative loops, trying to increase income. Let’s take a look on some of them:


  • from barbeque to burgers and fries
  • from serving in the parking space to drive-thru
  • from drive-thru to home delivery
  • from counter orders to app and in store digital ordering
  • from whatever does not work in the menu to something new that might work better
  • from artificial preservatives to natural ones (ehrm)
  • from plasticky restaurant to muted café


  • gas station and restaurant
  • playfair and restaurant
  • menu combinations, put together to a meal
  • walk-thru and drive thru in the same place
  • trucker stop food stop
  • combining different ways of advertising, and to different markets
  • combining healthy menu alternatives to junk food – or you can choose
  • plant based burgers to meet the vegan folks
  • the logo reflects the original architectural design ans the M in McDonald
  • education and identity – Hamburger University, “in business” franchise education


  • Drive-thrus to suit the growing use of cars
  • App order to suit the hasty ones
  • Take out for those who does not want to be in the restaurant
  • Market adaptions: soup servings in India, McRice in Indonesia, Ebi (prawn burger) in Singapore and Japan, Beer serving in Germany, meat pies in New Zealand and so on.
  • Playgrounds for parents and families
  • Faster ordering times, low prices, uniform taste
  • gourmet burgers to attract the “finer” clientel – (it flopped and got replaced with “signature crafted recipes”)
  • Major redesegin in 2006 to meet the customers prefering the muted Starbucks coffee shop atmosphere. Slogan “forever young”, muted down original colors, more wood and natural materials than plastic.
  • Slogan adaptions – “Good is brewing” – can esaliy be misread as “God is brewing”. Genious subconciuous messaging.
  • Nutrition calculator to meet the market of those seeing the unhelathy in fried foods, and those trying to limit their intake etc.

Modification or Magnification

  • Expanding business to the whole world
  • Burgers in several shapes and tastes, the menu contains of several modifications of original recipes, not only one burger, one salad and so on.
  • Ronald Mc Donald – children marketing, take a clown and use him. (flopped, one could say. Many terrified children, I suppose)
  • “Golden arches theory of conflict prevention” – no country with a McDonald’s had gone to war with another. (not entirely true, but McDonalds have been a part of big politics, as countries have been shutting down shops as a response to different politics.)
  • Modified logo though the years
  • Modified menu
  • Increasing standards in new markets – East Asia research project found increased hygiene standards after McDonalds establishement.
  • More registers – more customers to be served at the same time
  • Two drive-thru slots instead of one

Put to other uses

  • drinking cup to ketchup cup
  • happy meal container to googles with a game
  • Playgrounds to order for birthday parties – make invitations online
  • McRefugees on Hong Kong – poor people using 24-hour restaurants as temporery hostels.


  • The waiter is not waiting tables anymore
  • no serving in parking space – drive-thru instead
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Reduced menu from over 200 items
  • No more mascots
  • Always ongoing analysis of what works and what does not, both in menu and franchise.

Reverse or rearrange

  • The customers became the waiters – waiters take your order and make the food, the customer collects and cleans after henself – effective and costless
  • Self serving stations with soda cups, ketchup, straws and so on
  • Combining menu items (rearranging them to fit your needs)
  • Customers pay up front instead of afterwards – so you can leave at your own time and not need waiting for someone to bring you the check.


That was a lot, and there are guaranteed some tings I have missed.

Can you spot some?




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