I’m lovin’ it: Fast Food Customization

Over the past years, customization has been a widely used strategy in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector. With many products, consumers are empowered to customize their own products online. For example, Ray Ban allows people to combine glasses and frames based on personal taste. Besides that, numerous brands give customers the opportunity to choose colors and models for the perfect combination. But: besides the clothing- and shoe industry, customization is popular in the food and beverages sector.

The strategy of customization and co-creation is not new. However, more and more variations and innovative campaigns are launched every year. Since I am fascinated by the creative forms of customization that exist nowadays and I am interested in the relationship with brand loyalty, I would like to elaborate on this subject.

Coca-Cola Freestyle
Recently, I noticed Coca-Cola Freestyle: a machine with belonging app that allow soda drinkers to combine drinks to their own taste. How does it work? Well, the Freestyle machines is filled with “taste-cartridges” which are able to generate the taste of the consumer choice. Therefore, there are over a 100 options in the machine.

(Coca-Cola, 2015)

In order to optimize the customer experience, an additional app can be downloaded in order to save previously combined tastes, scan them to the freestyle machine and get the preferred drink. At the moment, Coca-Cola has installed the customized solution in several restaurants and the Burger King in the United States. The machines and applications are proving their success: restaurants that implemented the solution show an increase in guests and profits. (Winzelberg, 2012)

(Coca-Cola, 2014)

Mc Donald’s – Create Your Taste
In the fast food category, Mc Donalds decided to follow the personal customization trend. On the website of Mc Donald’s, it is possible to build a personalized burger, with choice of all ingredients. As can be seen on the image, the consumer can even preview the burger. This application is part of the ‘Create Your Taste’ campaign. Apart from the website, it is possible to build your own burger in the Mc Donald’s restaurant, on the special visitor screens. (Mc Donald’s, 2016)

Schermafbeelding 2016-02-12 om 21.31.56.png
(Mc Donald’s, 2016) 

What happens next?
Research has shown that customers creating customized products engage more with companies and thus create a greater amount of brand loyalty than customers of mass products do. This high satisfaction results in increasing sales an customer value. (Perry, 2013) Also, personal customization can influence the existing perceived image of a company. However, the effect depends on the product expertise of the customer. (Lee et al., 2012)

It is unknown if the customization of fast food will expand towards Europe. Possibly, the strategy has to further prove its success in the United States. I am curious if the concept will succeed, since it requires the customers to take the effort to create their own detailed menus and drinks. The time needed to create these products, decreases the “fast” food effect. Besides that, do we value our own creation skills more than those of experts? For now: let’s enjoy our default meals and soda. 

Coca-Cola (2015) Coca-Cola Freestyle Mixing Demo. Available at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=15&v=FxJDAsh6n9Y (Accessed: 11 February 2016)

Coca-Cola (2014) Coca-Cola Freestyle Mixing Demo. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSOhzF1wiwQ (Accessed: 11 February, 2016)

Lee, J., Lee., Y., Lee., Y-N. (2012) ‘Do customization programs of e-commerce companies lead to better relationships with customers?’, Electronic Research and Applications, no.2, pp. 262-274.

Mc Donald’s (2016) Create your own taste. Available at: https://mcdonalds.com.au/create-your-taste (Accessed: 11 February, 2016)

Perry, C. Spaulding, E. (2015) Bain & Company Article: Making it personal: Rules for success in product customization.  Available at: http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/making-it-personal-rules-for-success-in-product-customization.aspx (Accessed: 11 February, 2016)

Winzelberg, D. (2012) Everything you need to know about Coca-Cola freestyle. Available at: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/everything-you-need-to-know-about-coca-cola-freestyle/ (Accessed: 11 February, 2016)

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