3 min read

🔪 Could McDonald's start competing with Tesla?

🔪 Could McDonald's start competing with Tesla?
Photo by Ather Energy / Unsplash

When I train executives or startupers on building business models, there's always a painful step: understanding that the product is only a feature of the business, not the end-game. This is true to the point that there might be a vast disconnect between the value a company delivers and the product monetized.

Let me explain... Some companies like McDonald's create value ahead of the business we think as their core business. As romanticized by the excellent movie from 2016, McDonald's business is not about flipping burgers with slim margins but scaling (and harvesting) a B2B real estate business wrapped in a restaurant franchise.

Like Tesla, which, I've been arguing for years, is essentially an energy company subsidized by high-end electric cars.

Tesla files to become an electricity provider in Texas
Tesla has also built several utility-scale energy storage systems around the world, but typically hasn’t functioned as the retail electricity provider there.

Not that it's recent news. Elon Musk has been very clear about his 'master plan' since 2002. We just choose not to listen and can't understand what Tesla is really about.

Tesla Master Plan pitched by Elon Musk to investors in 2002. 

And since then, things are only accelerating:

Another way to look at this is to ask yourself if you'd want to compete with McDo's or Tesla, what would be the most significant defensive moat you'd have to face? Making better burgers? Making faster cars?  

After years of struggling around, some incumbent manufacturers are starting to catch up:

Porsche is working on all-electric Macan and 718 vehicles — and its own charging network
It wants 80 percent of its sales to be EVs by 2030.

Too little? Too late? Probably.

And if you want to be provocative, you could indeed also see how McDonald's could end up competing with Tesla as an energy company. If you don't see it yet, ask Starbucks. They might just get there:

Starbucks wants to become the gas station of the future for EVs
With 15,000 locations across the U.S., the coffee chain is betting it can convince electric vehicle owners that it’s the perfect place to charge up. (Literally!)

Business models are fascinating 😎


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[ EDIT ] June 1, 2022 ➡ Tesla opens up a restaurant in L.A.
Tesla plans a drive-in movie restaurant in Hollywood
A proposal by Tesla for a new diner in Hollywood includes plans for a drive-in movie theater and a 28-stall supercharging station.