Monday, August 31, 2009

Have It Your Way

Hold the pickles
Hold the lettuce
Special orders don’t upset us
All we ask is that you let us
Serve it your way.

In 1973 Burger King introduced the Have it Your Way campaign. It was a strategy to highlight Burger King’s flexibility against the rigidity of McDonalds.

And McDonalds has historically been more rigid. In fact there was a season in which you could win contests by memorizing the never changing ingredients that lead to a Big Mac Attack:

Two all beef patties
Special sauce
On a sesame seed bun.

No one would dream when ordering a Big Mac to ask the cashier to “hold the special sauce.”

Burger King has been successful with their strategy of flexibility. In 2008 they reported profits of $2.46 billion.

That makes them number two.

Number one still belongs to “rigid” McDonalds who in the same year had profits of $4.3 billion. Apparently, have it OUR way still works.

But that’s not to suggest that McDonalds rigidity means that the organization is unwilling to change. A visit to a 2009 McCafe bears little resemblance to the McDonalds my parents took me to as a kid (we had to cross three rivers to get there – Wando, Cooper and Ashley). McDonalds continues to embrace change to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers. The leaders at McDonalds clearly understand the signs of the times (to use a phrase that Jesus introduced) and have the courage to respond.

One of our pastors suggested to me that many churches serve a “Burger King population." Sometimes members (and those in our community) want church their way:

Hold the choir
Hold the guitar (guitere)
Hold classes and worship when we get there (thar)
All we ask is that you take care
To do church our way.

That hardly sounds like the sort of life and church that Jesus envisioned. But it is tempting.

Last night at our Vision Night on our elders suggested that in the face of Burger King expectations we could learn some lessons from McDonalds. It’s impossible to meet every individual’s custom needs but we must change in order to survive.

The good news is that we can do that and still maintain the quality of the hamburger!

More on how we do that later.

* As I finish this post I find myself 1) hungry and 2) thinking that 5 Guys has figured out a way to have it our way and their way – another reason why that’s my favorite chain burger place (narrowly ahead of In and Out and Smash Burger).

1 comment:

  1. Doug, this is a brilliant post. We can all go to our splinter churches that do everything exactly how we like it, and never be stretched to become the diverse body of Christ, or we can be a community. Yes, some get the Big Mac and some the Filet-o-Fish, but we're all eating at the same table.