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McDonald’s nixes Heinz ketchup as Burger King exec takes over

As the former top brass at Burger King joins the Heinz family, McDonald’s immediately throws down the gauntlet, proving that pettiness in competition isn’t reserved for the little guys.

heinz mcdonald's

heinz mcdonald's

McDonald’s and former Burger King exec, not sittin’ in a tree

The H.J. Heinz Co. recently recruited former Burger King Worldwide CEO, Bernardo Hees to run the Heinz empire, and many are hopeful that the new leader will promote new relationships for the ketchup supplier. But there’s already a hitch in their giddyup, as McDonald’s immediately severed ties with Heinz as their ketchup supplier, based on the hiring of Hees, especially in light of his remaining on the Board of Directors at Burger King.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McDonald’s said in a statement, “As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time.”

Heinz retorted, stating that they do not comment on relationships with customers, and that “All our food-service customers globally remain valuable to the company and are an important part of what has made the H.J. Heinz Co. what it is today. We continue to operate respecting every customer while upholding the high level of confidentiality and business ethics that the H.J. Heinz Co. has built with our business partners over the years.”

Cutting ties with a sworn enemy competitor

The irony of this even making headlines, however, is that only two McDonald’s markets even carry Heinz products in their stores – Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.

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What is fascinating is the politics behind this move – often, it is thought that global corporations behave with their ties tight at all times, never acting with petty intentions, and that in-fighting is usually left to the little guys. Not so.

As a case study in supplier relations, it is understandable that you wouldn’t want to give business to your sworn enemy, but given that only two markets are impacted, it makes little to no statement to Hees, who is likely laughing all the way to the bank that news outlets picked this up as a story.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. anncummings

    October 27, 2013 at 5:56 am

    I’m wondering where the info that only 2 McDonald’s markets use Heinz products came from. Every McDonald’s that I’ve been in uses Heinz Ketchup, and we hit them all up and down the east coast and into the mid-west with our road trip travels. I hope McDonald’s doesn’t switch to another brand – that would stink as there is no other brand for good ketchup in my opinion.

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