How Fil-Am chef’s dad invented McDonald’s ‘Extra Value Meal’
SAN FRANCISCO – In an article for Vice, Fil-Am chef Angela Dimayuga of the famous Mission Chinese restaurant, recalls how her father invented the McDonald’s “Extra Value Meal” that triggered a fast-food marketing trend.
Angela Dimayuga’s mom worked for IBM for many years, and her father, Alan, worked for McDonald’s as a manager at a few locations until he suffered a debilitating injury at work and had to retire.
In 1991 a sales competition with a McDonald’s Los Angeles branch ended in Alan Dimayuga’s branch’s victory after he used various strategies of sign exposure. (With the prize money, he took all his managers to Las Vegas for a holiday and bought them TVs.)
But back at work, Alan was getting into hot water with local higher ups because he asked a friendly Coca Cola rep for sign boards that enabled customers to order food items in numbered sets of food combinations (one to six) instead of individually. As a result, his workers could put in orders quicker. But the signs did not match McDonald’s “look.”
Initially, local McDonald’s higher ups complained, but Alan showed that the system shaved off eight seconds from each transaction and added up quickly. The sales soared.
The local bosses threatened to take the sign down, but eventually, national honchos learned of the system and, after giving Alan Dimayuga commendations and awards for it, adopted his system. Corporate marketing coined the “Extra Value Meal” and make each order 15 cents cheaper. The system is now a fast-food industry mainstay, from Taco Bell to In-N-Out.
When Angela asked her dad if he “got anything out of it,” he said, “Of course not.”
The iconoclastic Angela concludes: “We’re not cooling our feet in the ocean at Turks and Caicos thanks to the Extra Value Meal.”