Whether or not you frequent McDonald’s, you might have noticed that the fast food chain seems to run a lot of promos for free French fries. How can a business make money by giving away products for free? To start with, McDonald’s merely draws customers in with the promise of free fries. Everyone loves free food, so customers, of course, will want to cash in on that offer. McDonald’s also offers the deal every Friday, ensuring customers will come back each week.
By tacking on that $1 order minimum, the chain requires customers to buy at least one other menu item, but if you’re already there, and if you’re “saving money” on the French fries, why not add a burger and shake to your order? And while you’re at it, why not upgrade your drink to the next size? Similarly, receiving products for “free” generally makes customers feel more positively about a business — a phenomenon called the “zero price effect.” Although this promotion is essentially just another fast food marketing scam, it sure is welcome.