Wednesday, August 31, 2005
In China, two elements of life are critical: speed and money. People need and expect extremely fast service. They simply will not wait too long for anything. There are way too many alternatives for almost every product or service - a customer can easily replace any vendor or product. A vendor has to strike while the iron is hot.
McDonald's wants and needs to be in prime locations (and that's where consumers want them). As in any major city, the prime locations (street-level, major intersections, etc.) are highly-prized. To acquire sales opportunities, to capture impulse-buy customers, and to reduce costs, McDonald's has developed a "dessert kiosk" concept. They use a very small footprint store at street level (low cost and good advertising), they sell a very limited menu (soda, pies, and ice cream), and they direct people to a 2nd-floor or nearby full restaurant(advertising, suggestive selling).
These kiosks are very visible, and in excellent consumer locations. The service is simple and fast (limited menu)-and every customer is reminded in some way that there is a full meal waiting nearby.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
To maximize profits, the McDonald's in this airport have to be super-fast. The McChronicles is always impressed with the speed of service, AND with the quality of the food, at O'Hare. We sampled the service by ordering a Big Mac in Terminal E, near gate 2 (store #22821). We made it a bit disruptive by asking for no cheese. In less than 60 seconds we were searching for a place to sit - it was that fast. Store Manager Louis Gage is clearly doing something right. When asked, the counter person said that this was a good place to work (though the commute into the secure site is a bit tough).
We wonder what it costs to provide such great service - we notice a relatively high number of crew. And we wonder how a store with such tough demands can achieve this success and why other stores, with much milder conditions, seem to have such trouble.
Friday, August 26, 2005
"Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made. Spaceballs the T-shirt. Spaceballs the lunchbox. Spaceballs the coloring book. Spaceballs... the flamethrower! Kids love it. And my favorite, Spaceballs the Doll -- me!"
Of course, Yogurt, as played by Mel Brooks himself, goes deep into character and delivers all his lines with a quaint Brooklyn/Yiddish accent. So, "merchandising" comes out sounding like "moichindising"!
Anyway, here we have McChronicles ... the golf shirt. An awesome white, short-sleeve beauty that is just the thing for catching those pesky secret sauce spills from your unwieldy Big Mac and for wiping your hands on after dipping into a hot packet of large fries. Oh yes, it sports The McChronicles logo, comes in YOUR size, and is available for immediate delivery.
Congratulations to our contest winner, Jan-Willem, from the Netherlands, for winning one of these awesome additions to any fast-fooder's wardrobe. He was the first person to get The McChronicles logo to appear in the Flick'r image bar in the left-hand column of this blog. We'll expect to see another picture - this time of HIM wearing this limited edition fashion statement.
Contact The McChronicles to place your order today (PayPal only - US$25 plus shipping).
And may the Schwartz be with you!
- Quality: The food was warm and good. One young man was stunned to see how small the cheese was on his filet-o-fish. We chalk that up to his unawareness, not to a local issue.
- Service: Quick. The crew was neutral to friendly.
- Cleanliness: It was well-after 1PM on a Friday, still, the customers just kept coming. The tables were a bit untidy, and the floor didn't appear to have been swept since before the lunch rush started. We did note a girl tidying up at around 2PM.
This store has a GREAT location, and it offers a bright, relaxing dining room, complete with a fish tank (previously posted). As is the case with many other stores, we would like to see an increased emphasis on cleanliness, both in the dining room and behind the counter.
During this visit we noticed the owner breeze in for a quick check, and to grab some lunch. Additionally, The McChronicles was very happy to donate to the epilepsy fund raiser that was being staged at this store.
The South Utica store is so close to being great - just a bit more to go.
We understand from reports that this site, in
the south eastern part of Amsterdam on the Muntberweg, LCD screens, digital menu boards, a wireless hotspot, and more.
It is great to see that McDonald's continues to push hard in their evolution. The McChronicles feels they are doing a wonderful job of remaining contemporary AND maintaining their good traditions.
With these classy good looks it is easy to imagine the crew and customers feeling great about their time spent inside the restaurant.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Here is an example of a great work that can be found in the Johnstown, NY McDonald's.
We were reminded of these creations by a Flick'r posting that appeared on our site recently. It's worth a click.
Send in your images of cool murals that appear in a McDonald's. If we get a few we'll post them up in a gallery.
According to a media alert from The McDonald's Operators of the Capital District appearing on Empire Information Service's website, "The internationally recognized symbol of McDonald's - the Golden Arches - will be formed by people dressed in golden ponchos at the Riverfront Park in Albany to celebrate McDonald's partnerships in the community. One of the McDonald's restaurant owners, Pat Arnott, will be flying her plane over the Golden Arches for a photograph of the event. "
The event is scheduled to occur on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 at Riverfront Park in Albany, NY, USA. For more information, contact Mary Scanlan, Scanlan Communications Group, +1-518-424-5125.
This reminds The McChronicles of A REALLY BIG AD that comes from downunder. Worth a view.
The McChronicles would LOVE to receive images or video from anyone who participates in this event.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
We weren't quite able to determine the proper description for the motif ... is it Victorian? Art Deco? Or what? We're the first to admit that we're not up to this task. Whatever it is, we like it. Interestingly, this site is in the final throes of reimaging (some scaffolding can be seen in the image above). The work appears to be non-intrusive into the diners' experience - it didn't bother our team one bit.
The food was above average - quite tasty and well-presented - while the service was average.
We couldn't resist offering this rest room image - to inspire other McDonald's to rise to the challenge.
All photos: The McChronicles
The service was "average" and the food was prepared to perfection.
Image: The McChronicles
Monday, August 22, 2005
This restaurant was busy during the mid-week lunch rush, yet appeared clean and tidy. Service was fast - and the location is excellent (very convenient for driving to and from anywhere in the region). We witnessed a healthy mix of families, teens, travelling salespeople, and contractors - all enjoying a brief rest before they headed out into their late-summer afternoon.
This McDonald's is worth a visit, whether you're running around the Saratoga area, or taking a run on the I-87 Northway.
What are they thinking in Johnstown, NY? A recent visit by The McChronicles found the customer with almost NO room to place and receive their order. Why? Because the crew was unpacking and handling condiments, sauces, napkins, etc. right on the counter.
Hey management, give the crew some appropriate space to do their job - without forcing the customer to deal with it.
So many times we are disappointed by sloppy condiment application and wrapping (see numerous previous postings). We're almost resigned to the fact that this isn't going to be addressed. THEN ... we encounter the Johnstown restaurant that delivers a perfectly prepared and wrapped Big Mac. Just to be sure, The McChronicles dropped back in the following day and ordered the same thing. PERFECTION! Kudos to the crew and to the management that inspires this performance.
This '50s-era-themed store has a fresh, fun look, complete with table-top juke box decorations and statues of both Marilyn Monroe and The King himself, Mr. Elvis Presley.
image: The McChronicles
Read more from the Houston Chronicle.
Image: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle
What is your opinion of these sandwiches? The McChronicles would like to know. Please comment.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
This image (posted on Flick'r) depicts stained and art deco glass treatments, as well as period tile flooring and interesting accents. The Naples restaurant offered up a very inviting "living room" experience, complete with couches, end tables, a fireplace and a wide-screen LCD TV.
We appreciate that "reimaging" is expensive, disruptive, and risky (on a financial basis). But we certainly enjoy eating in an attractive and inviting atmosphere. Kudos and "thanks" to those sites than are able to offer this ambiance.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Image: New Hartford, NY Interior
It is being backed up by a newly-added, dedicated clean-up person who is now seen patrolling the dining area. Customers LOVE clean tables, tidy condiment areas, and ready trash bins. During peak times things can get messy and the bins can get crammed full. This new person, who is seen at the store during the lunch shift, promises to make all those annoyances (turn-offs) a thing of the past. As frequent diners, we certainly hope that this occurs.
In addition, we have noticed additional crew members tidying up in their spare time. It seems that this store has upped their emphasis on cleanliness - and we appreciate the respect.
We would prefer if the dedicated clean-up person dressed like the rest of the crew. We have noted a few reactions from diners who thought a customer was rearranging the condiments and tidying up (that was our reaction when we first encountered this person - and it feels weird thinking that a customer is performing these duties unofficially). The uniform is a signal to us that a bona fide employee is on the job.
THANK YOU, New Hartford, for respecting your customers by providing a cleaner, more orderly dining room.
PS: Wipe down the window sills. Certain things have been there for weeks.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
The McChronicles has refrained from commenting on Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me". Now we feel there is a legitimate counter-example to offer up.
The article quotes Walt Riker, McDonald's vice president of corporate communications, as saying "Spurlock's film really spurred a backlash based on common sense." Exactly!
Image from Duke Human Resources website.
Read the article (it is easy to see that the interviewer was really impressed with the team spirit, performance, and enthusiasm that this manager imparts). We'd love to see many more Eric Harleys managing McDonald's across the globe.
A big McChronicles salute of respect and thanks to Eric!
Photo from Wickenburg Sun website.
Friday, August 05, 2005
According to a report by Forbes' online news service:
AFX News Limited
McDonald's, KFC to open hundreds of new outlets in China this year
SHANGHAI (AFX) - KFC's and McDonald's China operations are planning to open hundreds of new restaurants this year, the National Business Daily said. The report said McDonald's China is planning to open at least 100 new outlets in a bid to boost profits after an 'unsatisfactory' first half. Major rival KFC said it will open at least 200 new stores, including 35 in Shanghai, the report said. McDonald's owns 680 restaurants in China, and KFC more than 1,300.
The McChronicles has toured China McDonald's sites in the past, and is scheduling another trip soon to check things out. We plan to be in Shanghai and other cities to experience the McDonald's brand and to report on it.
We think it will be interesting to see what store designs are being implemented at this time, as well as what menu items are offered. Of course, there is always the usual McChronicles focus on Quality, Cleanliness, and Service.
Let us know what else we can report on that would be interesting to you.
Photo Source: BBC website, AP Photo
Monday, August 01, 2005
This is what it boils down to. The moment of truth. No distractions, nothing much else going on, and a customer asks McDonald's for one hamburger. If a company was going to shine, you'd expect it to happen under these conditions.
This image depicts the moment of truth - the instant the burger was unwrapped. Imagine what happened to the McDonald's brand at that moment in the eyes of the customer.