Imagine you worked for McDonald’s and you had a super new idea for a product, the McPizza.  How would you test it?

Option 1: Launch it nationwide

  • Create the recipe
  • Build a supply chain for the ingredients
  • Buy the ovens
  • Train all your staff
  • Develop the marketing
  • Put up the in-store banners
  • Run the adverts
  • Launch

Option 2: Test market it

  • Create the recipe
  • Buy the ingredients
  • Rent an oven
  • Train some staff
  • Put up an in-store banner
  • Sell it in one store

Option 3: Prototype it

  • Put up an in-store banner
  • When anybody asks for pizza, apologise, say that you are out of stock, and note the request

Which is the best option?

That is not so difficult to answer, start at the bottom.  Test quickly, minimise the risk and maximise what you learn then work your way up the list.

There is of course another option:

Option 4

Turn the idea over in your mind then shelve it without ever trying it.  That removes all the risk…  or does it?  Maybe the biggest risk is being too cautious.

It is the start that stops most people ~ Don Shula

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  1. All I can say is, “Thank goodness McDonalds didn’t move forward with pizza!” Any idea which approach they took?

    Do focus groups and VOC fit in any of those scenarios?


    • James Lawther says:

      I’m afraid I don’t Annette. I am sure it would be an interesting case study if we could get it, but I don’t suspect McDonalds are about to share it.


  2. HI James,
    I think your quote from Don Shula is the most poignant insight. If you don’t start or make a start, however small, then you’ll never know if it will work out or not. However, the fear of failure or rejection is the biggest hurdle we have to get over.


  3. Somewhat off topic…McDonald’s introduced a pizza offering in the early 80’s in the United States. I was in Dayton, Ohio and we tried the newly-designed McDonald’s Pizza – I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. They had a big banner, they took the order and we had to wait 30 minutes for the pizza to be served.

    I believe McDonald’s creating this offering is what drove chains like Domino’s and Little Caesars to begin selling cheaper pizzas with faster delivery times – this way they could raise the bar for entry into their markets and keep McDonald’s from competing.

    (My apologies if this was already well known factual information.)

    • James Lawther says:

      Chad, no it wasn’t well known by me at least (I’ve never been to Dayton, only Sandusky Ohio)

      It is fascinating that not only did the McDonalds offer fail but that it spurred Domino’s on.

      Thanks very much for the comment


  4. Matt Hanchett says:


    I too have had said Mc Pizza. It was surprisingly okay. It was in the 90’s however my power of pizza recall is uncanny.

    We’ll see what the bar is looking like soon on Dominos et al as when I was in Florida last year I saw a few ad’s for 5 minute take away pizza from Little C’s. I believe that only applied to certain menu items, but does mean they are basically pre cooking certain items.

    JIT Pizza – the wastage and return on a 15minute wait would surely be an interesting production line to market case study. Or tell us a lot of things on food storage we didn’t really want to know !


    • James Lawther says:


      You have a profound pizza knowledge. I think you should switch to salad.

      Thanks very much for your comment


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