McDonald’s offering 8,000 yen in savings in exchange for your FREE MONEY

I have already received my FREE MONEY from the government, but it is already spent on my recent trip to the US. But for those who haven’t spent the 12,000 yen handout yet, McDonald’s has an idea – give it to them! In exchange, they will give you a coupon booklet worth 20,000 yen.

According to Sankei, purchasers of the coupons will have until November 14 to eat the equivalent of 69 value meals (or value “sets” as they are called in Japan). Booklets will be available to buy at McDonald’s restaurants throughout Japan from May 15 through July but might sell out at some stores before others.

A 40% discount is significant and a better deal than some of the other campaigns out there, but consuming 69 value meals in six months could be a challenge. A single person who buys one of the booklets on May 15 and never shares it would have to eat a value meal once every 64 hours or two or three times a week to use up all the coupons. I know I’d get sick of the food after a while, and surely just about anyone will have tried everything on the menu and then some after a few visits. The coupons might make more sense for large families who could space out their visits more and still use all the coupons. While some savvy shoppers might figure out ways to profit from the deals, I am not that sophisticated (sell them for a 20% markup and pocket the difference?).

Like most gift card programs, McD’s must be counting on a) lazy customers never bothering to use up the coupons’ full value, and b) those who do use them to generate additional sales by bringing friends or picking up side dishes. It could also have a PR element designed to deflect some of the negative publicity of its labor practices or even its own recent runaway success thanks to 100 yen burgers’ popularity in the recession.

My verdict – keep your money and spend it on what you really need/want, and save by skipping McDonald’s and making delicious home-cooked meals. They are cheaper AND better for you.

8 thoughts on “McDonald’s offering 8,000 yen in savings in exchange for your FREE MONEY”

  1. I think even with a 40% discount, the price of the meal should be greater than McDonald’s non-fixed costs.

    The way I see it is that the only thing they need to ‘bank’ on is that a person buys it who wouldn’t have otherwise spent anything close to 12,000 yen at McDonalds in that time frame. That’s a fairly good bet.

    And if they can limit it to ‘sets’ then even better. They’re assured the purchases will be on a set of goods with a guaranteed margin. I doubt they’ll loose money on this.

  2. Just to clarify, it’s not exactly “limited” to sets. The booklet will contain coupons for regular sets, happy meals (happy sets), and drinks etc for an *equivalent* of 69 sets. Sorry it was late. Let me blame it on the jet lag.

    Agreed that they probably aren’t designing it to lose money, much like when I was in elementary school in the US I used to receive a ton of McDonald’s coupons in exchange for the number of books I read in my spare time. The school paid for that and I definitely wouldn’t have gone as much otherwise.

    Also, there was an interesting article from President last month outlining how McD makes money off its 100 yen burger line.

    Essentially, McD’s is a low margin business that makes money by moving volume as the restaurants have relatively high fixed costs. That has always been true (they have bragged about billions and billions served for decades), but lowering the price of a burger from 210 yen to 100 yen actually earns them more money because the price is set psychologically low enough to get ever more people in the door. They tried a more modest 20 yen discount in the 80s to little effect.

  3. “I used to receive a ton of McDonald’s coupons in exchange for the number of books I read in my spare time.”

    Wow. I can hear the cries of the health nuts if that were tried today….

  4. Yes well Pizza Hut did the same thing I remember, offering a free personal sized pizza for every 10 books read or something.

  5. There’s a rumor that keeps circulating around in Japan that McDonald’s has secret worm farms in Japan and that is what they put in their hamburgers. I keep telling people that it couldn’t be true as they use %100 American Beef (South American that is). However, they always look at me with a very straight face and say no they are sure it is true because they heard it directly from so and so.

    Their special 20,000 offer with a use deadline sounds like a great idea if your suicidal and want to clog your arteries. I have to admit though that I still love their Egg Mcmuffin’s. I grew up on them. Luckily for me I developed celiac disease so pretty much everything on the McDonald’s menu is off limits for me now.

    A friend came to me visit me from the U.S. and he was quite upset because I took him to Mo”s burger which I prefer. He wanted to make a small substitution on their Mo”s burger but they wouldn’t let him as their co. policy is that you can only order exactly what’s on the menu without any substitution. In this regards McDonald’s beats Mo’s hands down. But in over all freshness and quality there’s really no comparison. Although at times I’ve nicknamed Mo’s burger Slow’s burger because everything is cooked upon order. I wish Moes burger would have offered the same 20,000 yen special as McDonalds. I probably would have taken them up on it.

    I heard that years ago McDonald’s featured the hamburglar in their t.v. ads but had to pull it because Japanese toddlers got too scared. The same sort of thing happened when they aired the little tidy bowl man. The kids wouldn’t go to the bathroom out of fear he was really in there.

  6. Regarding the worms, that is an old urban legend and by no means restricted to Japan. I recall reading that a McDonalds spokesman actually came out and said that it would cost them MORE to use worms. Here we are:
    …the April 30, 1992 issues of Time magazine reported:

    “Ray Kroc, who bought McDonald’s from Mac and Dick McDonald in 1955, added his own assurances: ‘We couldn’t afford to grind worms into our meat, ‘ he countered. ‘Hamburger costs a dollar and a half a pound, and night crawlers six dollars’.”

    Mo”s burger is Mos Burger, right? MOS to be picky: Mountain Ocean Sun. I think it should be Mosburger.

  7. Mo’s is better, because it reminds me of the Simpsons.

    Anyhow, McDonald’s seems like they are just trying to get people in the door, more than anything else. They gave out a mountain of coupons for a free cup of coffee to the relationship managers at my workplace, with the ostensible aim being that anyone going into McDonald’s for a cup of coffee will also drop their pocket change for an apple pie or french fries or what have you. Then, after the beef tallow addiction sets in, they are on their way to becoming heavy users, and if they’re lucky (read: doomed in life) they may just become super heavy users, a la Spurlock.

    That being said, I still don’t have my application form for FREE MONEY.

  8. “Mo’s is better, because it reminds me of the Simpsons.”

    Reminded me too, which is not a good thing, considering what sort of place Moe Szyslak runs….

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