Black Franchise Owners Suing McDonald’s Is A Warning For Brands Targeting Underrepresented Groups

For decades McDonald’s has long invested in marketing to Black consumers. The brand has long had commercials designed specifically to reach African-Americans. They sponsor a number of prominent events and organizations that are staples within the Black community, and of course they have franchise locations in plenty of areas with high percentages of Black consumers.

McDonald’s has been working for decades to ensure that Black consumers feel like they belong with the brand, with the goal of getting more of them to buy their products.

While McDonald’s has been ever-present within the Black community, more African-Americans were buying franchises of the brand.

However, a recent number of lawsuits and class-action suits, paint a picture that Black franchise owners don’t belong so well with the brand.

In a statement to Bloomberg Businessweek, Larry Tripplett, CEO of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association, explained why many Black owners felt they needed to bring suit: “Despite sales growth, Black franchisees collectively earn lower profits than non-Black McDonald’s franchisees due to ongoing systemic and historical inequalities within the McDonald’s Corporation.”

McDonald’s denies allegations of racial discrimination. They have since settled some of the suits brought against them.

Inclusive marketing isn’t sustainable without a truly inclusive brand

For decades, McDonald’s has succeeded in wooing Black consumers. But as more reports of Black operators feeling like they are discriminated against within the company surface, consumers are calling foul.

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Increasingly, consumers aren’t just looking at how brands treat people they want to buy from them. They are also looking at how that treatment is extended internally to people who work within the company as well.

A true marker of how inclusive a brand is, is how well diverse talent is represented and treated internally. It is disingenuous to say you care about and value a community, but not have them represented and supported in a meaningful way on your team.

Thus, as you go about working to win the attention, adoration, and loyalty of diverse and underserved consumers for your brand, make sure you work equally as hard to win the attention, adoration, and loyalty of diverse and underrepresented talent.

That means cultivating an environment throughout your culture where talent from marginalized communities are represented and set up to thrive within your organization.

Data shows that consumers want to know the brands they buy from share their values. Consumers want proof that you value diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Making sure your internal house is in order on this front is a great way to show your receipts.

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