Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Anatomy of McDonald's Mac Snack Wrap

Why didn't I think of that?!?! Take a Big Mac, lose the bun and wrap it all up in a tortilla. Of course... makes perfect sense!

Honestly, if someone had suggested that 10 years ago, they'd have been laughed out of the room. But that was before the wrap craze. The question now is: With the Mac Snack Wrap, has the 'wrap craze' officially jumped the shark?

Well, I had to taste this for myself... And it is exactly what you'd expect a Big Mac components wrapped up in a tortilla would taste like! If you're a Big Mac fan, but you've always dreamed of losing all those buns, you're dream has come true. If you didn't love the Big Mac, you probably won't like the Mac Snack Wrap. Actually, the one I got had way too much 'Big Mac Sauce' for my taste, but otherwise, no complaints.

The Mac Snack Wrap is 1/2 of a 1/4 pound beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, pickle, onion and Big Mac sauce (aka 1,000 Island Dressing, aka mayonnaise & ketchup) all wrapped up in a tortilla.

See, I took a picture, The Anatomy of a Mac Snack Wrap:

Another important distinction that McDonald's is attempting to make between the Big Mac and the Mac Snack Wrap (besides the bun vs. tortilla) is that the latter is a "snack," and the Big Mac is a meal. And clearly the wrap has less meat, specifically half a Quarter Pounder patty. It should be noted, though, that a full Quarter Pounder patty is bigger than a Big Mac beef patty, 220 calories vs. 180 calories.

Here's the nutritional data for the Mac Snack Wrap:

And here's the nutritional data for the Big Mac:

As you can see the Mac Snack Wrap has 330 calories to the Big Mac's 540. That's 60% of the Big Mac's calories. 70 calories are lost by replacing the buns with a tortilla (140 vs. 210) and another 70 calories are lost by using less meat (110 vs. 180). But the Mac Snack Wrap has more calories than a McDonald's Cheeseburger (300 calories), so is it really just a snack.

Find out for yourself!!! The first 10 people to e-mail me at with their snail mail address will receive a certificate for a free Mac Snack Wrap!!

You're address will be used strictly for this promotion, not shared with anyone and deleted after your certificate is mailed. It will be noted here when all 10 certificates have been given away.

Congratulations to Doug, Jessica, Briana, Ted, Robert, Sarah, Michael, Heather, Montgomery, and Jorge... they'll all be getting a certificate for a free Mac Snack Wrap from McDonalds!

[Disclosure: 10 certificates for a free Mac Snack Wrap were supplied to me and Fast Food News by McDonald's for use in this promotion. I paid for the Mac Snack Wrap that I ate. :)]

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Monday, October 26, 2009

McDonald's Leaving Iceland

McDonald's is closing all 3 of their restaurants in Iceland, following the island nation's economic collapse.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Subway To Pass McDonald's Restaurant Number

Sometime in the next few months Subway will surpass McDonald's number of world-wide restaurant locations.

Subway is expected to pass 31,800 restaurants this week bringing it within 400 of McDonald's 32,158 restaurant locations.

Subway remains way behind McDonald's in revenue, though. The average US McDonald's had about $2.3 million in sales last year; the average Subway, about $445,000.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

McDonald's Using Foreign Beef in US Angus Burgers

You would think that McDonald's would turn exclusively to US farmers for the Angus beef in their new Angus Third Pounder Burgers sold in US stores.

Instead they have upped their deal with New Zealand farmers to export over 22,000 tons of beef (that's enough for over 132 million Angus Third Pounders). They'll be mixing that NZ Angus with US Angus for the new burgers.

McDonald's must be getting a great deal, because they literally couldn't find someplace farther away from the US to get additional Angus beef.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

McDonald's Japan: The Mega-Egg

Check out this McDonald's sandwich, available for a limited time in Japan:

It's called the "Mega Tamago" and has (as you can see) 3 beef patties, 2 strips of bacon, an egg, cheddar cheese, lettuce, a 'special' sauce and 3 buns.  It is described on McD's Japan website as:  "The Mega-Egg.  Quivering with mega deliciousness."


Friday, July 10, 2009

Free Mocha Mondays at McDonald's McCafe

As McDonald's continues to try and take away customers from Starbucks with their McCafe concept, they've now introduced Free Mocha Mondays.

On Mondays from July 13 through August 3, 2009 (that's 7/13, 7/20, 7/27, and 8/3) between 7am and 7pm you can get a free sample (7 oz. cold or 8 oz hot) Mocha.

The McCafe Mocha is "the sweetheart of the coffe drinks:  freshly ground espresso beans coupled with steamed milk (whole or nonfat), indulgent chocolate syrup, and capped with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle."

Since we're on the topic and haven't done so yet, here's a look at the complete nutritional data for a few McCafe drinks:

As you can see the Medium Caramel Latte packs 280 calories and 8 grams of fat:

The Medium Iced Mocha has 310 calories and 13 grams of fat:

And the McCafe calorie champ (and granted, it is a large) is the large Mocha, coming in at 400 calories, 14 grams of fat (and even a half gram of Trans Fat) and 49 grams of sugar:

By way of comparison, here are some of Starbuck's highest calorie drinks.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

McD's Angus Third Pounder Taste Tested

Act Fast! The first 8 people to follow and send a private message (with your snail mail address) to FastFoodNews via Twitter will get a pair of McDonald's "Be Our Guest Cards." Each card can be redeemed for a free Angus Third Pounder. (These cards were supplied to Fast Food News by McDonald's Inc.) We've given away the free Angus Third Pounder cards, but you can still follow FastFoodNews on Twitter.

Yesterday was the first day for McDonald's first nationwide roll-out of a new burger in 8 years, the Angus Third Pounder.

We tried 2 of the 3 new versions of the Third Pounder, the Deluxe and the Bacon & Cheese. (We'll save the Mushroom Swiss for another day.)

Here's what we came home with... the Bacon & Cheese is on the left, the Deluxe is on the right:

I'm not much of a photographer, but let's go ahead and compare that to McDonald's official, professional press release photo of these 2 new burgers:

These burgers are more substantial than the Quarter Pounder. The beef patty is clearly bigger, although it still has that iconic, pre-formed appearance of all McDonald's meat patties.

The real rings of purple onion and the thick slice of a large diameter tomato are nice touches. It helps to push this burgers taste in the direction of a home made hamburger... not that it actually makes it to that realm, but it helps. The lettuce was abundant, fresh and of good quality, too.

We both noticed, though, that the purple onions were virtually tasteless. We assume that McDonald's went to great lengths to find onions that would never be considered to strong or offensive. We had fun imagining the process of McDonald's execs insisting on a genetically-modified scentless, tasteless onion that could be grown in huge quantities. Just a fantasy; couldn't be true.

We got our Angus Third Pounders at McDonald's #6753 in Benbrook, TX where the manager on duty said that they had been selling the Third Pounders for about a week (even though yesterday was their official release date). He said they'd had a good response to them and they were growing in popularity. He said they were selling about 50 a day. (Note: We used "Be Our Guest Cards" for 2 free Third Pounders and purchased the rest of our meal. We didn't speak to the manager until after our burgers where prepared and handed to us.)

In the press materials for the Third Pounders, the descriptions of all 3 burgers ends with, "served on a toasted bakery-style sesame seed roll." This description left me expecting the burger to be on a warm, slightly crunchy, toasted bun. This was not the case. The bun was cold and soft and had not been toasted in any way noticeable from the outside. When I took the burger apart for the photos below, I could see the the inside of the buns had been toasted slightly. No big deal really, but after reading the description I suppose I became hopeful that the entire sandwich would be run through a warmer/toaster just before being served.

Otherwise, besides being a little bigger, the buns do not differ in consitency or flavor from standard McDonald's buns.

Here's a look at the insides (again, Bacon & Cheese on the left, Deluxe on the right. Click for larger image.)

Nutritional Information:

The Angus Third Pounders have a calorie range of 750 to 770 calories. They have 39-40 grams of fat and 16-17 grams of saturated fat.

Interestingly, they also have 2 grams of Trans Fat. This is interesting because most fast food chains have eliminated or are attempting to eliminate all trans fats from their menus. A reader asked if this would prevent the sandwiches from being sold in New York City where Trans Fats are banned. I, in turn, asked a McDonald's rep and was informed that, "NYC Department of Health regulation pertains only to artificial trans fat. The 2 grams of trans fat in the Angus Burger is attributed to the beef patty that contains naturally-occurring trans fat,a type of trans fat that would not be subject to the artificial trans fat regulation."

Here's the calorie, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, fiber, sugar & protein stats for the Angus Third Pounders:

Here's a look at a cross section of the Bacon & Cheese Angus Third Pounder (click for larger):

And a close-up of the burger patty (on the Deluxe):

Had one yourself? Let us know what you think.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

McDonald's Angus Third Pounders Nationwide

McDonald's first new burgers since 2001 will be available at McDonald's restaurants starting tomorrow.

The new burgers are 3 "Angus Third Pounder" burgers.

Available nationwide, starting tomorrow July 2, 2009, their will be 3 versions of the Angus Third Pounder burgers: the Deluxe, Bacon & Cheese, and Mushroom & Swiss. Each Angus Third Pounder is made with 1/3 pound of Angus beef and served on a toasted sesame seed roll.

McDonald's has been testing these Angus burgers for 2 years in various markets.

As with the Quarter Pounder, the Third Pound description is the burger patty's weight before cooking.

McDonald's will be featuring items on these burgers that have never before been seen on a McDonald's burger: Rings of red onions, full slices of bacon, sauteed mushrooms, natural swiss cheese and 'bakery-style' sesame seed rolls.

As I mentioned, this is McDonald's first new burger launch since 2001. The Big ‘N Tasty debuted in 2001.

Although we referenced some early reviews of McDonald's Angus Burger, we'll be trying them tomorrow and have an update for you. McDonald's is also sending us some "Be Our Guest" cards so that you can try the new Angus Third Pounds, too. Check back and we'll let you know how you can get yours. Follow Fast Food News on Twitter to win, that's where we'll give them away.

Here's the Angus Third Pounders' official logo:

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

New Salads From McDonald's Canada

McDonald's has announced 4 new salads for their restaurants in Canada.

They are:

The Mediterranean Salad: red peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, crumbled feta cheese, black olives and leafy greens.

The Mighty Caesar Salad: parmesan cheese, bacon, croutons and leafy greens with a garlic and parmesan glaze.

Spicy Thai Salad: spring mix and leafy greens with red peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and whole wheat crisps with sweet and spicy Thai glaze.

Garden Fresh Salad: red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes, carrots, red peppers, shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses on leafy greens.

The four new entree salads will be well-dressed with Renee's Gourmet salad dressings. Customers can choose from seven dressings, including Asian Sesame Vinaigrette, Mighty Caesar Dressing, Caesar Light Dressing, Mediterranean Greek Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Ravin' Raspberry Vinaigrette and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.

Here's what they look like:

They will cost $6.79.

McDonalds Canada has made their salad release part of their spring fashion promotion with "Canadian fashion designers ready to offer valuable tips and simple tricks for easy summer dressing at

In the US, McDonald's offers 3 different salads: Southwest Salad, Bacon Ranch Salad, and Caesar Salad. Each are available with or without grilled or crispy chicken.

But in the US, we only get the McDonald's slogan in one language. So if you get nothing else from this post, at least learn how to say "I'm lovin' it" in French (see logo above).

It's "C'est ça que j'm."

I'll even share the pronunciation with you (my wife happens to be a French teacher): Say Sah Kuh Jhem (the "J'm" is hard, it's like "gem" with a 'j').

There, now you can go to the French speaking countries of the world and be a spokesperson for McDonald's.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Anatomy of the McNugget [Humor]

Matty Boy Anderson created the humorous and disgusting illustration: "Anatomy of a Chicken McNugget." It is posted on his Mike the Pod website, which he describes as "The Most Awesome Site Your Human Eyes May Ever Behold: 10 Years of Ill Humor."

Anderson says, "People tell me that this is hands-down the sickest thing I've ever done.  So take that as a warning if you need to.  The ironic secret:  I still occasionally eat them.  Haw!"

Anderson's illustrations and descriptions of what a McNugget really is, appear on the Mike the Pod website, here.  There are 3 'varieties' in his illustration, I've included one of them below with his introduction.  Enjoy!

Anatomy of a Chicken McNugget

For many years, it was believed that the "McNugget" served at McDonalds restaurants was a batter-fried piece of formal chicken.  Now,
Mike the Pod has learned the ugly truth.  In its search for a less-expensive more plentiful food source, McDonalds has employed genetic engineers to create the macnugeta repulsiva, a diminutive creature that lives in tanks of protein-enriched slime lit only by black light, until its brood grows large enough for it to be thrown live into frying batter (usually when their offspring reaches the healthy number of six, nine or twenty).  Herewith, our disturbing findings.

Adult Female:  The female has a thicker coating of secreted mucous and is therefore more difficult to catch.  She uses her flourescent tongue to make chirping noises, much like a dolphin, to attrack the male.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dr. Pepper Coming to All McDonald's

In a big victory for Dr. Pepper (and Dr. Pepper drinkers like myself), McDonald's has reached an agreement with the Dallas-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to make Dr. Pepper available at all of McDonald's 14,000 US locations. DP is currently available at about 8,500 McDonald's.

In a slight blow to #1 soft drink company Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper will replace Coke's Pibb Xtra.

McDonald's is expanding its fountain and bottled drinks to complement McCafe espresso-based drinks available in about 70 percent of its U.S. stores.

McDonald's operators will have a choice to add Diet Dr Pepper, now featured at 3,500 stores, as Dr Pepper Snapple tries to increase its third-place share of the Coke-dominated U.S. fountain drink market.

Dr. Pepper now has 100 percent availability at 25 of the top 20 30 fast food chains.

Dr. Pepper has even set up a website to help McDonald's franchise operators market their new beverage offering.

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Happy Meal Promo a F***ing Mess

McDonald's latest Happy Meal promotion is turning into a real mess, you might even say that it is a f***ing mess.

McDonald's currently giving away some Kidz Bop CDs in Happy Meals and some parents have discovered that they don't want their kids listening to the lyrics on CD Number 6. The fast food giant has pulled that CD.

It has a Kidz Bop remake of Gavin DeGraw's song "I Don't Want To Be." But where DeGraw's lyrics go "I'm tired of lookin' round," the Kidz Bop version seems to be "I'm tired of f***ing round."

But don't take my word for it, listen for yourself. (First you'll hear DeGraw's version, then the Kidz Bop version that McDonald's was handing out with Happy Meals.)

UPDATE: I just received the following e-mail from a McDonald's representative:
"I'm a spokesperson for McDonald's and wanted to make sure that you have the facts surrounding the claims on the Kidz Bop CD in McDonald’s Happy Meal.

An inaccurate claim has been made regarding lyrics in the song, "I Don't Want To Be," included on Kidz Bop CD number six from the current McDonald's Happy Meal promotion.

This song contains the original lyric, "I'm tired of looking 'round rooms," and does not contain profanity, as some have suggested. The CDs will continue to be available at McDonald’s restaurants as part of this Happy Meal promotion, while supplies last."
So, kudo's to McDonald's for sticking to their guns. They don't hear the f-word in the song, so they're going to keep distributing it. I'll admit, the power of suggestion is strong, and when you are expecting to hear it, it really sounds like it is there. But... it really sounds like somebody slipped an f-bomb into that song.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

McDonald's Meat Factory Tour

I guess McDonald's finds this video reassuring.  It might be to some... especially those with a taste for mechanically processed meat 'product'.  To some the video might show a little more than people want to know.  There is certainly nothing unusual here... most of our food today comes from processing factories like these, but it is interesting that McDonald's wants to show it off.

I first saw the video after reading about it at Gizmodo.  They were horrified and disgusted.  They were shocked that McDonald's needs to put their meat patties through a metal detector for safety.  I guess they'd be surprised to learn that that happens at most food processing facilities and it is just simply a good idea to ensure safety.

McDonald's has titled the video, on their web site, "At Lopez Foods, only 100% beef makes the grade."

I guess the title bothered me a little before I even watched the video:  I was hoping that "100% beef" was the expected standard, not something that has to be promoted.  They mention that the beef is "100% beef" in the video, too.  But most of the folks interviewed in the video refer to the meat as "product."  So, they're processing the "product" they receive into hamburger patties.  Okay.  Maybe you should call it meat in the video.

All in all, it is standard McDonald's health and safety propaganda, I'm just a little surprised that they would chose to make some of these video images public.  Some people certainly will find it gross.

A shot from the video:

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Fast Food at Guantanamo Bay

From Wikipedia:
In 1986, Guantanamo became host to Cuba's first and only McDonald's restaurant, as well as a Subway. These fast food restaurants are on base, and not accessible to Cubans. It has been reported that prisoners cooperating with interrogations have been rewarded with Happy Meals from the McDonald's located on the mainside of the base.

In 2004, Guantanamo opened a combined KFC & A&W restaurants at the bowling alley and a Pizza Hut Express at the Windjammer Restaurant. There is also a Taco Bell, and an ice cream shop that sells Starbucks coffee. All the restaurants on the installation are franchises owned and operated by the Department of the Navy. All proceeds from these restaurants are used to support morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) activities for service personnel and their families.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

The McRib Locator

Okay, fast food fans, it has arrived, The McRib Locator.

As we all know, it isn't available at all McDonald's, all the time, just some of the McDonald's, some of the time.

Created by a meterologist in Burnsville, MN, The McRib Locator allows you to enter the location of a McDonald's you've spotted that is selling McRibs. The sighting will be represented on a Google Map that everyone can check.

If you find someplace near you on the map that's serving McRibs, but you're on the fence about whether or not you want one... let Fast Food News help you with your decision... we've Deconstructed the McRib for your viewing pleasure. Check it out, then make your decision.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

McCurry beats McDonald's in court

Fast food chain McDonald's lost a lawsuit in Malaysia on Wednesday after an appeals court overruled a decision that its trademark had been infringed by a local restaurant called McCurry.

"Where the learned judge, with respect, erred is to assume that McDonald's had a monopoly in the use of the prefix 'Mc' on a signage or in the conduct of business," Judge Gopal Sri Ram said, overturning a 2006 ruling in favour of McDonald's.

The McDonald's operation in this Southeast Asian country of 27 million people is run as franchise by prominent businessman Vincent Tan and has 185 outlets, according to the company website.

McCurry, by contrast, serves Indian fast food from one restaurant in Kuala Lumpur as well Malaysian dishes such as fish head curry and is short for "Malaysian Chicken Curry", according to the company website.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

McDonald's Serves Cleaning Solution Tea

from the Maryland Daily Record:

Late one evening last September, Caryl Jones ordered an iced tea at the drive-through of the McDonald’s near her Northwest Baltimore home. But that’s not what she got, according to her lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

What Jones got was another sort of “T”: Triazinetrione — Dichloro-s-Triazinetrione Dihydrate, to be exact — better known as “McD Sanitizer,” a cleaning chemical intended for use on kitchen equipment and surfaces.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

McDonald's at Texas Stock Show

I visited the famous Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo last week. Every year there is an area called "Planet Agriculture" promoting various agricultural products from cotton and corn to milk and beef. Sponsored by the Texas Farm Bureau, Cattleman's Beef Board (the "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" folks) and McDonald's, the section about beef had lots of information, but I thought I'd share the two signs clearly produced for McDonald's. I've included a transcription of the text below each photo.

McDonald's is clearly trying to promote their standard message that their food is healthy, safe and nutritious, but there have an additional marketing target here... the people of Texas.  They want Texans to know just how much money they pour into the Texas economy with their copious beef purchases.

McDonald's Beef Facts
(Sources: Texas Farm Bureau & McDonald's)

McDonald's provides nutrition and ingredient information for the majority of our products.

Lean Beef (as set by the USDA) is less than 10g of Total Fat, 4.5g or less of Saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per serving and 100 grams. There are 29 cuts of beef that meet the government labeling guidelines for Lean. The McDonald's hamburger meets this criteria too!

A 3 oz serving of lean beef is an excellent source of:
  • Protein (50% of the DV*)
  • Zinc (39% of the DV)
  • Vitamin B12 (37% of the DV)
  • Selenium (24% of the DV)
  • Phosphorus (30% of the DV)
Percent Daily Value (DV) is based on a 2,000-calories diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower, depending on your calorie needs.

McDonald's purchased more than 87 million pounds of beef from Texas in 2005.

McDonald's spent more than $100 million dollars on beef purchased from Texas in 2005.

McDonald's uses only 100% USDA inspected beef, with no additives, fillers, flavor enhancers or extenders. Patties are seasoned at the grill with salt and pepper.

McDonald's Beef Facts
(Sources: Texas Farm Bureau & McDonald's)

Quality and sensory testing are conducted every two hours at McDonald's supplier plants. Patties are tested using the same grills found in McDonald's restaurants and scored to ensure consistent taste and texture.

McDonald's requires feed grain certification from all suppliers. Signed affidavits from suppliers verify that animals have been fed in 100 percent compliance with federal guidelines to ensure that cattle in McDonald's supply chain are feed with only safe, wholesome feed.

McDonald's has some of the most stringent food safety and quality assurance standards in the industry. Its safety regulations for beef meets or exceeds those required by the USDA.
  1. Beef is America's #1 selling protein!
  2. Beef cattle are found on more than 130,000 Texas farms and ranches.
  3. In 1968 McDonald's introduced the Big Mac sandwich as a core menu item.
  4. Beef is the #1 source of protein, B-12, and zinc in the diet!
  5. A three ounce serving of lean beef provides 50 percent of the daily value our bodies need for protein.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

McDonald's Still After Starbucks Customers

McDonald's is showing some serious stamina in their quest to take some (or much, or all) of Starbucks business.

Their campaign started in April of 2005 when they announced their new specialty coffee drinks. Since then their coffee outranked Starbucks in a Consumer Reports survey and they've come up with some interesting coffee product placement on TV news among other things.

Then, earlier this year, Starbucks announced the closing of 600+ of their stores and some say McDonald's attempt to become a morning 'beverage destination' was at least a little part of the problem for Starbucks.

And now this:

Wow, McDonald's isn't letting up and they're going after Starbucks head-on now.

Another billboard (also appearing in the Seattle area, Starbucks home turf) reads "large is the new grande."

This ad tactic really takes advantage of the tough economic times, too. Some people are starting to realize that cutting the $4+ coffee from their daily routine can really save them some money ($1,460 per year).

Dunkin' Donuts has also been pointing this out and has certainly done some damage to Starbucks business, too, with their "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks" campaign and their independent study showing that folks prefer Dunkin' Donuts coffee over Starbucks.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Skeptic's Take on Super Size Me

As Brian Dunning writes over at Skeptoid: "McDonald's is probably the world's easiest target. It's always popular to be anticorporate; it's always popular to bash fast foods, and audiences are generally well predisposed to welcome any information that supports these concepts."

Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me" took advantage of that, drew a huge audience, and convinced many people that eating McDonald's would not only make you fat, but make you sick, too. And he did this without presenting any real scientific evidence.

Other documentaries have been made showing that a person (like Spurlock did) can eat only McDonald's for a month and actually lose weight. Two examples are Bowling for Morgan and Portion Size Me.

As Dunning points out, the largest calorie items at McDonald's and other fast food restaurants are the beverages. Spurlock had many McDonald's shakes while making his film and a 32-ounce McDonald's Chocolate Triple Thick Shake has 1,160 calories! These can easily be avoided when dining on fast food.

The soft drinks pack a lot of sugar and calories, too. But not the diet ones! And not the water!

There are some important things to think about in this Skeptoid editorital, especially if you've seen and completely accepted Super Size Me.

read or listen to Super Sized Fast Food Phobia at Skeptoid.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Japan Quarter Pounder Store

The "Quarter Pounder Stores" that have popped up in Japan have been getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere lately.

The black and red generic stores carry no iconic McDonald's arches are any other branding and have only 2 items on the menu, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal and the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal (both are served with French Fries and Coke or Coffee).

So what's the story on these 2 restaurants?

McDonald's has been in Japan for quite some time, of course, but their iconic Quarter Pounder with Cheese has never made it on to the menu in Japan. These 2 Quarter Pounder Stores serve as a promotional marketing announcement of the Quarter Pounder's introduction into Japan's fast food market.

The restaurants gave away Quarter Pounder t-shirts on the day they opened (November 1) and are running a promotion on their website ( for a group of 20 people to win a trip to and tour of the US.

I've received an e-mail from Junichi Kawaminami of McDonald's Japan Corporate Relations. He writes:
"McDonald's Japan is running a teaser promotion before a new product launch which is to be announced in the not too distant future in Japan. The Quarter Pounder store is a part of the promotion and is designed in a black and red colors with chic black furniture generating a fashionable atmosphere with no McDonald's logos.

"The Quarter Poudner store is run by the Quarter Pounder Secretariat Office for a limited period of time during the promotion. It is not a new restaurant concept or a new brand design that McDonald's is examining or testing.

"Two Quarter Pounder stores were opened in downtown Tokyo, Omotesand and Shibuya East stores at 11:00 AM of November 1. They serve two meal menus only:
  • Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal: 500 yen - promotional price (with French Fries and Coke or Coffee)
  • Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal: 600 yen promotional price (with French Fries and Coke or Coffee)
"On November 1st, 2nd and 3rd, first 1000 customers received "Quarter Pounder" T-shirts as grand opening gifts and 500 people lined up at the Omotesando stores afer the opening time. The Quarter Pounder Secretariat Office is running a sweepstake to win US Tour for 10 pairs/20 people to win, promoted at the stores and on its official web site.

"With this promotion, the Quarter Pounder Secretariat Office is inviting the Japanese consumers to try the authentic hamburger, Quarter Pounder, originated in the US of great taste with juicy quality beef, establishing high awareness in Japan through the media and words of mouth among those with arousing curiosity.
Neil Duckett has some great photos of the interior of the store at his blog.
The Quarter Pounder Store story also broke on A Hamburger Today, Fast Food Fever! and McChronicles.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

McNuggets 25th Anniversary & Fan Site

McDonald's has launched a fan-site for Chicken McNuggets today (11/18/08) at in celebration of the McNugget's 25th anniversary.

The Nuggnuts fansite links to the McNuggets Facebook site, a Nuggnut Hall of Fame and the Nuggnut Pledge, which reads:
I, [state your name], do solemnly swear, that I am totally into Chicken McNuggets. I pledge to eat lots of McNuggets, especially when hungry, in any way I see fit. I understand that it's perfectly cool to write songs about McNuggets, to take pictures of ones that look like famous people, and to videotape them dancing. I promise to tell anyone who will listen about my passion for dipping, popping, dunking, sharing, sneaking and generally just bowing down in awe to original tender, juicy white meat Chicken McNuggets, even if it makes me sound like a paid spokesperson. Which is a job I would actually love. Because I'm a Nuggnut, and proud of it. Sincerely, [your name again].
“McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets have a vocal and enthusiastic fan base,” said Marta Fearon, director of marketing for McDonald’s USA. “We knew there was no better way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Chicken McNuggets than by embracing these fans and inviting them to share their passion with others.”

There's been much guessing over the years about what is really in a Chicken McNugget... it is truly considered the mystery meat of fast food.

To counter this perception, McDonald's has gone out of their way to reassure us all that the McNugget is a pure and healthy product by sending their Moms' Quality Correspondents to experience and report on the McNuggets trip "from farm to Happy Meal."

I think you should decide for yourself and even if you can't follow the chicken from the farm to the restaurant, you can at least know what's in the final product. Excluding natural and artificial flavoring components (which are considered trade secrets!) here are the rest of the indrediants in a Chicken McNugget (as supplied by McDonald's):

White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, chicken flavor (autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid, rosemary), sodium phosphates, seasoning (canola oil, mono- and diglycerides, extractives of rosemary). Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, whey, corn starch. Prepared in vegetable oil ((may contain one of the following: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness), dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent).

Hey, Chicken is listed first! And they must use a lot of it since McDonald's is anxious to point out that, "Starting in December, McDonald’s will be featured on the National Chicken Council’s consumer Web site,, as part of a “Showcase of Chicken” feature on McDonald's."

McDonald's has supplied Fast Food News with this McNuggets Timeline:
  • 1983 McDonald's introduces Chicken McNuggets to its national menu. The national launch is supported by the "McNugget Mania" advertising campaign.
  • 1984 - Chicken McNuggets are introduced in Canada, Japan, France, and Germany.
  • 1986 - McNuggets Shanghai, accompanied by a pair of chopsticks, a fortune cookie and a choice of sweet and sour, teriyaki or hot mustard sauce, was introduced to the menu as a temporary promotional item.
  • 1988 - McDonald’s introduces the promotional product Fiesta McNuggets, which came with a collective coin.
  • 2003 - McDonald's switches to Chicken McNuggets made with all white meat to enhance the quality and flavor of the popular menu item.
  • 2008 - McDonald's celebrates the 25th anniversary of Chicken McNuggets by launching an online fan community for McNuggets enthusiasts at

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Monday, November 10, 2008

McDonald's: Savings Seekers Send Sales Soaring

McDonald's same-store sales* went up 8.2% in October.

Part of this amazing increase in sales can be attributed to cash-strapped families and individuals who are turning to McDonald's Dollar Menu during trying economic times.

McDonald's total sales rose 5.4 percent, 9.8 percent in Europe and 11.5 percent in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa region because of strong demand in Australia.

*FYI: Same-store sales are a key indicator of restaurant performance since they measure growth at existing locations rather than newly opened ones.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Deep Cleaning the Grill at McDonald's

The LiveJournal Community McDonald's Talk is often an interesting insight into the fast food lives of McDonald's employees around the world.

Recently I paid a visit and read about cleaning the inside of a grill at a McDonald's in Huntsville, Alabama.

McDonald's Talk contributor superfly915 took some before and after photos of his work and wrote:
"Over the last few days, I have cleaned the inside of the grill. I doubt that this has ever been done before at my store (and if it has, it's been a really long time)."
Here's a 'before and after' cleaning comparison:

It certainly looks like a big job and it looks like Superfly put his heart into it and did a great job.

I've lightened and tried to sharpen some more of the photos Superfly took (below) to show you just how bad this grill got before he got in there and scooped and scrubbed out all that grease.

Kudos to Superfly for getting this done, but maybe his manager might want to consider getting this done sooner next time, before it gets so gross.

Silly me, but I thought McDonald's did a thorough cleaning every night after closing that would keep something from getting this bad.

And here's a final look at Superfly's finished product... a clean McDonald's grill!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

McDonald's Double Cheeseburger and the McDouble

The Wall Street woes have officially hit just about every Main Street in America today... every one with a McDonald's at least.

McDonald's is planning to take their much beloved Double Cheeseburger off the Dollar Menu.

They're replacing it with the new "McDouble." The McDouble still has 2 meat patties, but only 1 slice of cheese.

The Double Cheeseburger would still be available, but not on the Dollar Menu, it will be priced somewhere above $1.

There has been much speculation lately on the fate of the Double Cheeseburger, but these appear to be the final plans as laid out in a memo to franchisees. Franchisees will vote on the plans in November.

“The recommendation to add McDouble to our popular Dollar Menu reflects
that we’re . . . providing our customers even more choices, with the
everyday affordability our customers expect,” McDonald’s said in a
statement. “The recommendation to adjust the price of the Double
Cheeseburger allows us to continue to provide the same great-tasting
burger our customers know and love, still at a great value.”

McDonald's has been testing the Double Cheeseburger changes in some markets and have found that most people prefer to keep the second piece of cheese and spend a little more.

Removing 1 piece of cheese will save McDonald's about 6 cents per sandwich.

Evidently the Double Cheeseburger/McDouble changes could boost cash flow by $15,000 a year per restaurant.

“This sounds like a legitimate option to remove a piece of cheese, but
it seems odd to offer both double cheeseburgers,” says Larry Miller, an
analyst in Atlanta with RBC Capital Markets. “Any change to the Dollar
Menu is really important because it is in such high demand now.”

The Dollar Menu accounts for 14% of McDonald's US sales.

I suppose this was inevitable. When you sell as many burgers as McDonald's does, one piece of cheese can make a big difference to the bottom line.

But it does seem odd that they couldn't make up their mind to either raise the price or cut the cheese (sorry) and instead decide to do both.

Now, I guess, it will be up to us when we're in the drive-thru... more cash for extra cheese or a buck for 1 slice less?

What will you choose? Take the poll...

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McDonald's New Packaging

Beginning in November 2008, McDonald's will introduce its new generation of global packaging, the most comprehensive rollout in McDonald's history. All 118 McDonald's countries will participate in this rollout over the next two years.
"Through a blend of bold text and powerful images, the new packaging will illustrate the high quality ingredients and food prepared at McDonald's. McDonald's new global packaging will be consistent around the globe, using sophisticated graphics, photography and storytelling, with and without words."

"Our new packaging is a fresh way of sharing McDonald's food quality story with our customers," said Mary Dillon, McDonald's Global Chief Marketing Officer. "The more people know about our food the more they'll love it."
The new McDonald's fast food packaging will be introduced first in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States and continue rolling out worldwide through 2010.

Here is a look at the new Big Mac box and French Fry container (with the text enlarged for readability):


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McRib Plays A Tune and Rings Your Cell

I know. It happens every year. But once again, we'll mention that McRib is back.

It is a love/hate thing. It seems nobody has a neutral feeling about this processed and pressed pork BBQ sandwich (with the fake ribs!).

This year McDonald's has teamed up with Myxer and Pandora to ad some musical and cellular excitement to the McRib experience.

Pandora is a great online music station that learns what you like and allows you to create your own stations with your preferences.

McDonald's marketing folks have set up 4 'stations' on Pandora: "Move Your Buns Soulful Ballads," "Tender Love Tunes of Today," "Saucy Love Classics of the 80's," and "McRib Country Flavor Classics."

When I checked out the "Move Your Buns" station, the first 3 songs were "Around the Way Girl" by LL Cool J, "My Adidas" by Run DMC, and "Have You Seen Her" by MC Hammer.

McDonald's has selected Myxer's Bullseye hyper-targeting service for the mobile phone portion of their McRib campaign.

You can text MCRIB to 69937 (MYXER) for the McRib content. Or you can just point your browser (phone or computer)

There you'll find some wallpapers and screensavers for you phone like the one above, or the "McRib Kiss" (on the right).

But if you're a McRib 'hater' instead of a McRib 'lover,' we thought we'd supply you with a sexy shot of a naked McRib 'patty' with its BBQ sauce washed off (below left), or a close-up of the inside of a McRib 'patty' (below right). These are from our McRib Deconstructed special a couple years back. Now these are some appetizing wallpapers!

McDonald's also has some Ringtones at Myxer. You would definitely have to be a McRib 'lover' to have this one on your phone! (Click 'Preview' to have a listen.)

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Consumerist: McDonald's Sauce Limits

The Consumerist has a photo of a sign at a McDonald's sent in by Jon from NJ.

This McDonald's is limiting your free sauces to 1 sauce for 3-piece Chicken Selects and 6-piece McNuggets and 2 sauces for 5 piece Chicken Selects and 10 piece McNuggets.

That's just not enough sauce! One container is only enough for 2 or 3 McNuggets, certainly not for 6!

They're charging 10-cents for each additional sauce.

The sign notes, "Ketchup and mayo still free!"

We know this isn't the policy at all McDonald's, but the way things are going, it might soon be.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Consumerist: McDonald's Forgets the Meat in Cheeseburger

The Consumerist is reporting on Jarrett's recent trip to McDonald's. Jarrett wanted 2 plain Cheeseburgers... one of them not only had all the things that don't constitute plain (pickles, onions, ketchup), but it also DIDN'T have any meat!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

McDonald's Muncher Tries to Pay with Pot!

from the AP:
VERO BEACH, Fla. - A McDonald's cashier called 911 after a Vero Beach drive-thru customer allegedly offered to pay for his meal with marijuana. The Indian River County Sheriff's Office said the cashier called Monday with a description of the vehicle the suspect had been riding in.

A deputy spotted the vehicle, found marijuana in the car and arrested its occupant, 27-year-old Shawn Alexander Pannullo (pictured).

Pannullo was charged with possession of cannabis and posted $500 bail. It was unclear if he had an attorney.
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A sheriff's report did not say what the suspect ordered at McDonald's or if he ultimately purchased the meal using something other than marijuana.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

McDonald's No Longer Gay-Friendly?

McDonald's had long been supportive of equal rights for their homosexual customers and employees, but there are a couple of indications that their policy has changed.

First, McDonald's has caved to the demands of the American Family Association (AFA), which has ended their boycott of McDonald's. The AFA called for a boycott of McDonald's in May after McDonald's joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and indicated a support of gay rights.

In accordance with the AFA's demands, McDonald's Vice-President, Richard Ellis, has resigned from the board of the NGLCC and the fast food giant has announced that they will not renew their NGLCC membership when it expires in December.

Second, the incident at a Louisville, KY McDonald's in July, where 5 McDonald's customers were subjected to harassment based on their sexual orientation (they were called faggots by employees), has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the ACLU of Kentucky, the Fairness Campaign, UofL's commonGround, Lambda Law Caucus and others. Evidently, McDonald's corporate office (or any local management) has not responded to complaints filed by the ACLU, so the above organizations have scheduled a "We're not lovin' it" protest at the McDonald's where the incident occured.

UPDATE: The protest took place at the McDonald's in Louisville today. Here are some comments from the Fairness Campaign and photos from the protest.
“For any business to treat its gay customers this way is beyond the pale,” said Becca O’Neill with UofL’s Lambda Law Caucus, one of the groups that organized the demonstration. Other groups involved in organizing the protest included ACLU of Kentucky, Fairness Campaign, UofL’s commonGround and Office of LGBT Services. “All we want is for all customers, gay or straight, to be treated with decency and respect. Nobody should fork over their hard-earned money for a meal and be treated this way.”

Carrying signs saying “Discrimination Don’t Belong in a Happy Meal”, “Homophobia Served Here”, “NOT Lovin’ It”, many protesters said they were shocked, hurt, and angered when they learned about the incident.

“We want to make it clear that this community will not stand for this kind of harassment and discrimination from any business in Louisville,” said Jeff Rodgers, co-coordinator of the Fairness Campaign. “We have a law against anti-gay discrimination in Louisville, but we want people to know that these incidents still happen and that businesses that take part in this kind of illegal discrimination will be held accountable.”

UPDATE2: The ultra-conservative WorldNetDaily gloats about AFA's success in pressuring McDonald's to abandon their attention to civil and human rights.