Anyway, the one down there was a McDonald’s. It did awesome lunch business and was extremely well-run. One of those McD’s where even if the drive thru line went all the way to the road (which it always was at lunch), you still knew you’d be through in 10 minutes and your order would be right.
Of course, this kind of success attracted competition, and a Wendy’s was built very close-by. It was to open on a Tuesday.
So what did McDonald’s do on Wendy’s big grand opening day?
Run a special and try to steal their thunder?
Bring out the clowns and free fries to defend their turf?
McDonald’s shut down that day without notice….repaved the parking lot.
At lunch time, 100s of cars that normally zip through the McD’s in a couple hours were essentially redirected to Wendy’s. A brand new Wendy’s. A Wendy’s with a staff that had absolutely no experience dealing with heavy lunch volume.
Of course, it was a disaster for Wendy’s. Customers that were used to moving through a drive-thru (McD’s) in 7 minutes were honking horns and leaving the line after ordering. The staff was rattled and probably had some defections.
By shutting down, McD’s overwhelmed their competitor into paralysis. They gave all of their normal customers a chance to try the new guy (which they would have anyway)….all at once….on his worst day.
I’m sure that first impression of Wendy’s stuck for a while. I’m sure the next day, a lot of people were VERY glad to see the McDonald’s they had taken for granted back open again.