Brand Battle: Burger King vs. McDonald’s

Are Promotions Driving Foot Traffic To McDonald’s And Burger King?


At the beginning of April, McDonald’s introduced a slimmed-down menu, which removed breakfast items to focus on staples such as the Big Mac. For the week of April 12, foot traffic to McDonald’s was 67% lower, compared to the week of February 2, while BK’s foot traffic was 72% lower for that same week. The cost-cutting paired with a streamlined customer experience might have helped McDonald’s retain a bit more of its foot traffic during the week of April 12. McDonald’s then launched the Little Mac and the Double Big Mac on March 11. Compared to the previous week of February 2, foot traffic to McDonald’s restaurants for the week of March 15 was 42% lower while Burger King saw 43% less foot traffic. Due to COVID-19, consumers might have been less likely to notice the menu change.


Instead of reducing its menu, Burger King  added new items and new discounts. The restaurant chain added Jalapeno Cheddar Bites to its menu on April 2—in the midst of a precipitous foot traffic decline due to COVID-19—and launched Spicy Chicken Nuggets on May 14. Neither menu change resulted in a material change to foot traffic, although it’s possible Burger King got a slight lift from its Spicy Nuggets menu item. On July 23, BK launched its 2 For $5 Mix n’ Match promotion. For the week of the launch, July 19, Burger King and McDonald’s foot traffic was 5.7% and 5.6% higher, respectively, compared to the previous week. It is possible that BK slightly outperformed McDonald’s due to its Mix n’ Match deal.

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