When listening to Peter Lynch’s philosophy, he touches on an investing research approach that involves talking to customers, employees, and business partners of a company. Philip Fisher also talks about the scuttlebutt approach of finding out as much as you can about a company. Most of us probably won’t have a chance to talk to a company’s managers or visit their facilities but we can quite easily research the customer’s perspective.
Today, I find myself in an international airport in the Middle East. Looking for something to eat, I venture to the airport’s food court. The food court provides a variety of sub sandwich shops, Indian food, fried chicken, and fast food hamburger joints. As I scan the options, I see a plastic Ronald McDonald smiling at me. Because I own a VERY small portion of MCD I figured I should probably eat where I’m invested.
As it turns out, McDonald’s is the busiest joint in the food court. Perusing the trimmed down menu of standard McDonald’s offerings, I notice something new I’ve never seen before: McArabia Chicken. I decided to order it and it was quite tasty. I’ve read the stories of McDonald’s international expansion but I’m still a bit surprised to see it thriving in a Middle Eastern airport.
I’m chalking this up as a bonus research opportunity on a company I plan on making a significant pillar of my portfolio. I recently watched an older Q&A session with Warren Buffett where he talked about how he likes companies that “travel well”. What he meant by that is he likes it when a company can do well internationally. For a food establishment to travel well is no small feat in my opinion. After finishing up my McArabia Chicken with a Coca-Cola Light (aka Diet Coke in the U.S.), I have even stronger feelings towards MCD.