“Would you like 500 calories, er, fries with that?”
Global fast food juggernaut McDonald’s will list the calorie values on its menus across the U.S. next week, giving customers the chance to evaluate their choices. The parallel between this fast food initiative and the financial services industry may seem unclear, but I’ll try to make it more transparent.
That’s it, actually. Transparency.
Transparency is a virtue valuable not only to fast food, but finance as well. What party doesn’t want to see its counterparty’s kitchen?
“This would allow ‘special groups’ to aggregate, review, judge and summarize the real quality of products and institutions relative to specific consumer profiles,” wrote one commenter on an SAP Banking View discussion I started about my previous blog post. “We need to create a situation where consumers are on equal footing with financial institutions.”
It’s got me thinking a lot about transparency. Market participants appear to be ready for regulations mandating more open grills, rather than regulations tell them how to flip their burgers.
Regulators aren’t telling McDonald’s how to make their food.
“[McDonald’s] push is part of an effort to get out ahead of federal menu-labeling requirements,” according to The Wall Street Journal Thursday. “There is a market need to it too -- McDonald’s want to convey to customers that it’s not just selling junk food.”
Transparency doesn’t require McDonald’s to reveal its Secret Sauce recipe, or any electronic trading firm to disclose its beefiest algorithm. But more information in everyone’s hands will help the best products succeed.
“Highest-Calorie Menu Item at McDonald’s? Not a Burger” by Julie Jargon and Bill Tomson
“Restoring Profits and Confidence with Big Data” by Derek Klobucher
“Banking View” by Michael Mischker