McDonald's Cardi B promo sparks beef with franchise owners, highlighting their saucy relationship

Thursday, March 2, 2023 by Snacks
McD’s announced a Cardi B and Offset promo (Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images)

McD’s announced a Cardi B and Offset promo (Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images)

Cardi B likes it like that… but McDonald's franchisees aren't lovin' it. The fast-food fave announced a new combo meal last month highlighting the date-night order of rappers Cardi B and Offset. Picture: a Quarter Pounder with cheese, a cheeseburger, fries, and apple pie. But some McDonald’s franchise owners are reportedly refusing to promote it, worried the couple's R-rated lyrics could tarnish the brand's family-friendly golden arches. The chain's own policies might back them up:

  • Burger bible: The "Golden Arches Code" of corporate policies forbids music partnerships involving offensive language. But Cardi B songs often get bleeped.
  • Celeb-centric: McDonald’s “famous orders” partnerships with artists like BTS, J Balvin, Travis Scott, and Mariah Carey have been major sales drivers.

A beef biz's beating heart… 95% of McDonald’s locations are franchised, aka: owned by individuals. While they benefit from hitching their wagon to established brands, they pay licensing fees and often fork over a % of earnings back to HQ. It’s not the first time McD’s franchisees have pushed back against corporate: last year 87% of McD’s owners said they disapproved of the CEO. And in 2020 franchisees were in an uproar after corporate ended the $300/month Happy Meal toy rebate.


Franchising is a two-way street… Heavy franchising has helped brands like McDonald's, Subway, Taco Bell, KFC, and Chipotle spread across the US. But it's more than just fast food: nearly 300 industries (like: beauty salons, motels) offer franchising. It can be a symbiotic relationship, but when disagreements arise, corporate can’t afford to ignore the people powering their profits.

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