Very simply, the term competitive advantage means the positioning a firm takes in relation to other firms in its industry. According to Michael Porter, there are three different way to sustain a competitive advantage. These three different strategies are cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. The term cost leadership describes when a firm provides the same or similar services or products as other firms but does so at a lower price. The term differentiation means a firm offers a superior product at a similar cost to other firms’ inferior products. This “superiority” is often just perceived by the consumer. This is also where positioning comes into play. For example, a company may choose to have their product smaller and sacrifice a quality such as durability. This may make their product different than another firms, and this difference may make consumers believe their product is superior to other similar products in the market. The last term is focus. This term means a company or firm will focus on a narrow segment of the market. They will become specialized in this area and appeal to a niche consumer base.
Here at McDonald’s, we have a very specific set of competitive advantages we try to achieve. We strive to be cost leaders and offer our food at prices that cannot be matched by our competitors. In order to do this, your store must be efficient and keep everyday operations costs as low as possible. Doing so, will allow for our stores to be superior to other fast food restaurants because we can serve our food at lower prices than any other fast food company. Another important competitive advantage we have here at McDonald’s is the speedy delivery of our food. In order to maintain this advantage over other fast food chains, you must make the processes of cooking food simple for all your employees. It must be easy to learn and easy to execute with a low failure rate to ensure the quick production and delivery of your food. These two competitive advantages comply directly with the vision of the company which is as follows: “McDonald's vision is to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.” Just like any other firm, McDonald’s competitive advantages are what makes it stand out when compared to other companies. These aspects of McDonald’s are what helped it become the number one fast food distributor in the world.