LA week two – Q2

This week’s LA is as following:

Use the Internet to research the history of the fast food chain McDonald’s and explain which parts of the SCAMPER model are evident in its development onto its current success.

The scamper method is a tool creative professionals use in order to encourage creative thinking and idea development, implementing it into the creative process and using it to develop creative ways to further develop ideas and design in a number of areas.


S – Substitute (Can I replace something?)
C – Combine (Which can I combine it with to make it better?)
A – Adapt (Can I adapt this to something else or can I copy something from other places?)
M – Magnify/modify/minimize (What can be changed/made bigger?)
P – Put to other use (Can I use it for something else?)
E – Eliminate (Can I remove something?)
R – Reverse/rearrange (Interchange components, put things in a different order?)

I will be implementing the Scamper Model into my assignment by highlighting the different elements of the model into the text.

The first McDonalds restaurant was opened in 1940, by the brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald. It was first named “McDonald’s Bar-B-Que” and had 25 menu items, mostly barbecue. In the earlier days of the restaurant, they had mostly been selling hotdogs, but they quickly discovered that hamburgers were the most selling item on the menu. They decided to close down their carhop drive in to establish a different and more simple concept containing mostly hamburgers, potato chips and apple pies. The menu was reduced to containing only 9 items (swapping out potato chips for french fries and apple pie for milkshake, for example). They had greatly (E)eliminated several items from their menu. The restaurant reopened in December, now with a new name; simply “McDonalds”. The kitchens had been (A)adapted and (R)rearranged to a more efficient assembly line. In this we can learn that the brothers used the element of (M)magnifying/modifying their restaurant in order to accommodate the market demands.


In 1952 the brothers hired an architect named Stanley Clark Meston to redesign the exterior of their restaurant, as they wanted a more eye catching appearance. The famous “Golden Arch” was introduced as well as new tiling and new color schemes.            Further marketing techniques were implemented to change McDonald’s from a sit down restaurant to a fast food chain. They turned down the heating to prevent people from lingering to long inside, fixed and angled seating so the customer would sit over their food promoting them to eat faster and spreading the seats further apart to prevent people from socialising. Cone shaped cups forced the customers to hold their drink while eating, and in turn this would speed up the eating process. By (M)modifying to these changes the term fast-food was established as to what we know it is today.

In 1953 the brothers set out to find franchisees, and the second one of the franchisees is the still standing McDonalds restaurant in Downey, California.

McDonalds in Downey, California

In 1954, Ray Kroc, a seller of Prince Castle brand Multimixer milkshake machinestook, took a great interest in the brothers’ company and eventually suggested he take the major responsibility of setting up new franchises throughout the country. The brothers were to receive one-half of one percent of gross sales. Kroc decided to repaint all the franchises with a color scheme and he chose yellow and white, with dark brown and red being secondary trim colors. By 1958, there were 34 restaurants. In 1959, the total was 102 locations. By (C)combining their company with a new partner the company was now quickly growing. Their company was (M)magnifying again.

Kroc had seen the impact advertising could have, and in 1960 he launched the “Look for the Golden Arches” campaign. Advertising had proven to be one of the key factors to McDonalds success through the years. In 1962 they introduced the Golden Arches logo, which still stands to this day. They also wanted something that would appeal to children, and they soon after launched the red hair clown called Ronald McDonald, who is still prevalent in McDonalds advertising program to this day. (C)Combined with these elements of their new approach to advertising, McDonalds experienced even higher sales boosts, in the following years, due to increased knowledge about marketing skills. They paid close attention to customer demand and (A)adapted to these demands accordingly.

After (E)eliminating some not so popular meals (such as the Hulaburger), in 1968, the classic Big Mac was (S)substituted and introduced to the market. This menu item is still popular today and has proved to be an iconic item for McDonalds.


Fred L. Turner became the company’s president and chief administrative officer in 1968. Turner was responsible for determining “the maximum number of hamburger patties one could stack in a box without squashing them and pointing out that seconds could be saved if McDonald’s used buns that were presliced all the way through and were not stuck together in the package”.” By (M)modifying to these changes he has been a key to McDonalds world famous success.

In the late 60´s, McDonalds indoor seating was still limited, but in 1969 they decided they would accommodate their customers better and introduced a new design for their restaurants called the “Mansard roof“, with a natural brick and cedar shake look featuring indoor seating. Again, by (M)modifying their restaurants they were responding to both critics and market demands.

The EggMcMuffin was introduced in 1972 as a response to customers who were craving a breakfast menu. McDonald’s (A)adapted their menu and added a full breakfast line to its menus in 1975. In 1979, the “Happy Meal” for kids was added as well, featuring a toy. Braille menu was introduced in 1979, which was a really nice gesture towards their blind customers. Again, they hit the spot with their marketing strategies and creative thinking.

As a way of providing an even faster experience for their customers, McDonalds introduced their first drive through window in Arizona. By (M)modifying to these changes, they experienced huge success and improved their sales even more.

McDonalds continued to grow their empire in the 1980’s. By 1988 they had opened their 10 000th location! They continued to (A)adapt their menus to accommodate to their customers tastes, and did continual research into the consumer market. They (E)eliminated McChicken and (S)substituted it with Chicken McNuggets. In 1985 salads were introduced on the menu, catering to a more healthier option for their customers.

McDonalds wanted to take a more environmentally friendly approach to what they served their food in (paper instead of plastic) and what the interior was made of. They decided they would use recycled material to produce tables and chairs etc. In 1990 they launched McRecycle and “included a commitment to purchase at least $100 million worth of recycled products annually for use in construction, remodelling, and equipping restaurants.” By (M)modifying and (A)adapting to these changes they were now part of a new global awareness for the environment and has contributed to a reduction in the material waste stream.

By the mid 90’s, McDonalds had experienced some blunders when it came to new menu items, and there was increased competition in Burger King. They were forced to (E)eliminate several unpopular items from their menus. In response to these difficulties, McDonald’s drastically cut back on its U.S. expansion. However, by 1998 McDonalds was on the rise again, particularly by investing in other fast food chains, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill. The introduction of the “McFlurry” was added to their menu and turned out to be a customer favorite, along with other tastier sandwiches. They also decided to (R)rearrange how the structure of their menu was laid out. This system was dubbed “Made for you” and aimed to deliver to customers “fresher, hotter food”; enable patrons to receive special-order sandwiches and allow new menu items to be more easily introduced thanks to the system’s enhanced flexibility.” This allowed the kitchen to make hamburgers from orders instead of stockpiling. However, the “Made for You” system backfired. Although many franchisees believed that it succeeded in improving the quality of the food, it also increased service times and proved labor-intensive. The system was eventually (E)eliminated.

In the early 2000’s, McDonalds started to offer a low-calorie menu, as customers were filing lawsuits claiming McDonalds had contributed to obesity/overweight problems. (A)Adapting their menu was crucial at this point.

Since the 1960´s, “no loitering” had been McDonalds’ motto. He wanted people in and out of the restaurant quickly, and thus offered limited seating without much comfort. However, in 2006 they adopted their first new redesign since 1969, called “Forever Young”. This included three different zones, each to accommodate each customers needs and wants. Customers could now linger comfortably in one of the zones (this in an effort to make people spend more money), while if you were in a hurry there was also a zone for that. The menu was further tweaked to more healthier options. By (M)modifying, (R)rearranging and (A)adapting to these new marketing strategies and new design, McDonald’s continued to gain popularity.

In 2010, McDonalds decided they wanted a more user friendly and more appealing US website, changing it to a sleeker, HTML 5 friendly interface. The pictures of the food used in online commercials, TV commercials and all around advertising was now more up close and more eye catching. Here we can see how they (A)adapted and (R)rearranged their marketing strategies.

In response to declining profits in the previous years leading up to 2015, McDonald’s decided to offer their breakfast menu all day. By (M)modifying their menu to this option, the company’s fourth quarter earnings “easily topped analysts’ forecasts”.

In 2016 McDonald’s (E)eliminates the Step-It activity tracker, due to reports of skin irritation. This was a device that kids wore on their wrist, and was given away with Happy Meals in the US and Canada.

In 2018 McDonald’s has now banned/(E)eliminated plastic straws in their UK- and Ireland locations, in efforts to be even more environmentally friendly.


This was a short look into the history of McDonald’s and how we can see use of the Scamper-model in their marketing- and design ideas. I hope you liked it!


Sources: Wikipedia and







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