Some McDonald's Franchisees Aren't Happy With Cardi B and Offset's New Meal, Despite Proven Success of Celebrity-Tied Promos

According to reports, some McDonald's restaurant owners have refused to promote the meal.

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By Sam Silverman

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Not every McDonald's franchise is on board with the brand's new collaboration with Cardi B and Offset – even if it's good for business.

McDonald's latest celebrity promotion – which debuted in a Super Bowl commercial before being available to the public on Valentine's Day – has allegedly raised concerns for franchisees who fear the famously-unfiltered pair may not appeal to its tastes.

Numerous McDonald's restaurant owners have expressed written worries over the partnership, saying that the pair's respective song lyrics and images don't reflect McDonald's family-friendly image, according to the Wall Street Journal, while others have refused to promote the meal entirely. Some have suggested that the collab violates the "Golden Arches Code" of brand standards, which states that promotions shouldn't include "musical partnerships associated with content that includes offensive language in the lyrics."

It's unclear how many of McDonald's 1,000-plus franchises have expressed concern over the collaboration or has decided to not serve the meal, but the outlet reports that they spoke with franchisees in the "Southeastern and mid-Atlantic states."

Despite the alleged backlash, McDonald's told the WSJ that the promotion has been met with "widespread support and excitement from owners and their restaurant employees."

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"We're focused on putting McDonald's at the center of culture," said Tariq Hassan, chief marketing and customer experience officer for the U.S. market, in a statement to Bloomberg.

In a statement to Entrepreneur, McDonald's said that artist collabs "have helped reignite fans' love for our food and fueled significant business momentum, both for the company and our restaurant owner/operators." The statement added that "Cardi and Offset are an iconic couple who have their own date-night tradition at McDonald's that goes back years. We're proud to share a little piece of that with customers across the US with our latest campaign."

The meal, which consists of one cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and a Quarter Pounder with cheese, in addition to fries, two drinks, and an apple pie, is the first to be backed by a couple after several other successful brand partnerships with artists including Travis Scott and Saweetie.

Following the release of the Travis Scott meal in 2020, McDonald's said sales increased by 4.6% in a three-month period, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. However, a survey by the National Owners Association found that 65% of U.S. franchisees weren't in favor of Scott's partnership.

Further, McDonald's attributed their lucrative third quarter of 2021 – which saw a 9.6% rise in sales and a net income of $2.15 billion – to their partnership with Saweetie.

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"Menu and marketing efforts with products like the Crispy Chicken Sandwich and successful Famous Orders like the Saweetie Meal have elevated our brand and helped drive underlying sales growth across the business," said Kevin M. Ozan, chief financial officer, said in an October 2022 call with analysts, according to Food Business News.

It's unclear at this time if Cardi B and Offset's meal has increased sales volume for the brand.

Sam Silverman

Entrepreneur Staff

Content Strategy Editor

Sam Silverman is a content strategy editor at Entrepreneur Media. She specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), and her work can be found in The US Sun, Nicki Swift, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Health. Her coverage spans from business and tech to entertainment news. Sam is a graduate of Lehigh University and currently resides in NYC. 

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