McDonald’s global supply chain: How flexible is it?

Ivy Tolchin:

Well, I’m going to tell you what would be — that would probably be a good model is what they’re doing in Japan.

They’re changing the menu a lot. There’s not a lot of menu variety, because they use so much local ingredients and take inspiration from different cultures. But they are doing a lot of that. So I think it’s a good model to look at and to work off of, to come up with what might be a really good menu.

To your earlier question about how flexible is the supply chain? Well, I would say the supply chain is very complex. McDonald’s has an incredible supply chain that goes across all countries. It’s probably one of the most complex food chains that exists.

But here’s the truth, we have 100 suppliers in the U.S. What is common in our supply chain is that we do have access to every producer. I can’t say what they are doing, but I would say that we are probably in the better position than most of the branded companies.

It may be a broader group than you and I because of a country’s population. But that doesn’t mean that we have access to every producer. We do have real-time data. And the real thing we care about as a company is that we want to have access to all our suppliers.

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