Supermac’s goes large

Cantillon: With win against McDonald’s, Irish chain more Goliath than David

Supermac’s: one roadblock preventing the Galway-headquartered company from selling its wares internationally has been lifted.

Supermac’s: one roadblock preventing the Galway-headquartered company from selling its wares internationally has been lifted.

 

Few would think that Supermac’s founder Pat McDonagh could ever be bullied.

Yet his spin machine has consistently painted his battle with McDonald’s as that of a David and Goliath contest in which the smaller Irish outfit has been oppressed by the multinational fast food chain.

This narrative has attracted reams of press coverage but, with its latest soft victory, one would think that the Supermac’s portrayal of the corporate feud will have to change.

What has happened now relates to a finding from the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office last year that McDonald’s has not proven genuine use of the Mc trademark. This week, Supermac’s noted that the global giant has missed the deadline to appeal that judgment and so, the finding stands.

Trumpeted brand

The practical effect of this will be precisely nothing, although McDonagh has long said McDonald’s control over the “Mc” trademark has prevented Supermac’s expansion across the wider European continent.

For Supermac’s, this represents another opportunity to trumpet its brand and tell the world how vindicated it feels. But it makes it hard for it to argue in the future that McDonald’s has been stifling its growth ambitions.

Because now, the one roadblock preventing the Galway-headquartered company from selling its wares internationally has been lifted (as they tell it, at least).

Will we see curry fries in Cologne and snack boxes in Salamanca? Unfortunately, decisions like that are well above the pay grade of Cantillon.

If we don’t, however, one can only hope that we’re spared the current narrative. Because whether it likes it or not, Supermac’s in its home market at its current size has far more in common with Goliath than it does with David.

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