Wednesday, September 28, 2005
According to a recent report in the Taipei Times, "McDonald's Restaurants (Taiwan) Co yesterday celebrated sales of its home-grown rice burgers, which topped 5 million units six months after hitting the market, saying the local taste may be available in McDonald's worldwide soon."
The article goes on to quote Shalom Chen (陳家祥), Senior Manager at the Communications Division of McDonald's Taiwan as saying "The fast-food chain started offering two types of toasted rice burgers, with a choice of either chicken or beef sandwiched between rice buns, in February this year. The items soon became one of the firm's best-sellers with a fresh taste."
With the double-whammy of good nutrition and Asian appeal, these products are being celebrated by the company. McDonald's chief executive officer for Asia-Pacific is said to have introduced the rice burgers at a Wall Street McDonald's Analyst Meeting recently.
Keep your eyes open for this possible new choice sometime soon.
Image: Taipei Times
Monday, September 26, 2005
While negative entries get more than their fair share of space, the site offers up a huge amount of interesting and useful information. This site is highly recommended if you have a little time to kill, or if you are wondering what is unique at the McDonald's in Sweden, Portugal, Taiwan, Fiji, etc.
Maharaja Mac anyone?
According to the report, "While McDonald's has allowed customers into its kitchens in some European and South American countries before, the so-called "Open Doors" campaign is being rolled out across 30 European countries simultaneously for the first time."
According to Peter Beresford, Europe northern division president at McDonald's, the company is now in the midst of a "a massive campaign" of "trust-building activities" with consumers.
According to the report in BillingsGazette.com, "With more than 4,000 employees from franchise- and company-owned restaurants still missing, more than half of its 8,000 workers there, it's a full-time effort with no end in sight".
The report quotes Janice Fields, president of McDonald's Central Division, as saying, "These are family members, and we are going to pull every stop to try and locate them," she said of the effort. "There is no place that I will draw a line in the sand. We will be going through some of this for one year, two years and even five years."
Check out the McDonald's hurricane Katrina disaster relief story. We liked it.
Image: Flick'r, posted by starmud
Saturday, September 24, 2005
We were tipped off to these online video clips by our great friends at Fastfoodweblog.nl. The guys at that fast food site are always on top of awesome new events.
Anyway, the Burger King has been appearing in commercials lately. Frankly, The McChronicles felt he had been looking a bit dopey as he stared blankly, never speaking. In contrast, Ronald McDonald has always been quite active, though he leaves a fun yet sterile, too-careful kind of feeling. Perhaps that comes with his 2003-acquired "C"-Level title.
Recently, Ronald has re-emerged as a healthy, hip, athletic dude (retaining the too-careful edge). And the Burger King has now exploded onto the scene as a devil-may-care, super athlete who makes things happen in the NFL - the big leagues.
Yes, Ronald's new active lifestyle has him rubbing elbows with some pretty hip cats, but is he being overshadowed by the dashing and successful Burger King? We shudder to think what might happen if Ronald was playing defensive back versus the new King.
Perhaps McDonald's should consider taking a little risk, having some fun, and training Ronald up to Major League level so he can regain the top position in the fast food empire.
UPDATE 04 October 2005: See our newer posting on a suggested McDonald's NFL ad, in answer to the Burger King NFL TV ad.
Image: Gene Terinoni.com
Our records indicate that visitors come to The McChronicles from virtually every country on Earth.
We've hosted visitors from Japan, Mexico, Slovenia, China, South Africa, Lithuania, Tasmania, Mongolia, Chile, The United States, Netherlands, Ukraine, Canada, Qatar, Venezuela, Indonesia, Morocco ... on and on it goes. We thank you all for your time, your comments, and your positive energy.
To everyone who spends time here (even for just a second), WELCOME. No matter what language you speak, or which country you are from, let's share our appreciation and enjoyment of a nice McDonald's experience and continue offering up ideas for continued improvement.
Several related images appear on andzol's photos on Flick'r. Is this really from a McDonald's campaign in Japan, or from somewhere else? Regardless of the source - it's kind of interesting.
Image: andzol, Flick'r
This restaurant sits nicely in the middle of a spacious, clean open area between terminal wings - and right in a very nice food court. The golden arches and a large "Ronald" tip you off that a McDonald's is available long before you can look into the court.
The service was nowhere near as fast or as fun as the Chicago (ORD) restaurant (posted earlier). The staff just didn't seem to have the vibrant personality you find in ORD. One of the McChronicles' sandwiches was taking way too long. The manager informed us that there was trouble with the bread machine (toasting). After 4 minutes the food arrived in great shape.
The dining environment at EWR is pretty nice - and it was right across the hall from our next gate. Overall, we liked it.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The "stars" of the ads are international over-achievers, such as Carl Lewis, Macy Gray, and Ivan Renema. They're not all famous, but they are all excellent at what they do.
According to Larry Light, McDonald’s executive vice president and global chief marketing officer, “McDonald’s has revitalized the brand with two key strategies – leadership marketing and operational excellence,” said Light. “My First brings both strategies to life, because this campaign is intended to inspire our employees, attract new ones and show our customers that if you begin your career at McDonald’s, the sky is the limit.”
The McChronicles agrees that the McDonald's brand has been revitalized of late, and the "My First" campaign is another step in the right direction - especially if it reaches the stated goal of strengthening McDonald's commitment to its people. The McChronicles feels that the biggest moment in the brand experience occurs at the point of sale. Therefore, the company needs to make the crew members feel great, and it needs to inspire them all to greatness.
Best wishes on this. As consumers, we are all happy to receive a great experience with every visit.
Image: McDonald's Website
Monday, September 19, 2005
This unwieldy sandwich is prone to spill-out and ooze-out its ingredients during an eating session. The packaging, which , we suspect, is the main reason the sandwich looks so good so often, is simply unable to help hold the sandwich together during eating.
A team of McChronicles researchers offers this time-proven technique to tame this beast quite successfuly. Ladies and gentlemen, we offer you The McPamper:
1) open the box
2) lay a clean, half-opened napkin onto the sandwich (half-on and half-off the top bun)
3) lift and invert the whole affair, box and all (while cradled in both hands - top & bottom)
4) lift the box off the top of the whole affair, set the box back down onto the tray for later use
5) lay the excess of the napkin over the top of the sandwich
6) grip/contain the contents with the napkin covering
7) tip the Big Mac back on its side to dump the few loose, straggling items into the box
8) tip the now-pampered sandwich so the sesame seed bun is back on top
9) dig in
Most oozing, drippage, and droppage is contained (allowing for full ingredient delivery), the sandwich remains organized and intact, and clothes stay neat, with no embarassing staining.
We can't promise that this is good for use in the pool, but we do encourage you to check it out.
Can we get some feedback on this one?
All Images: McChronicles
Friday, September 16, 2005
We hypothesize (never having worked in a McDonald's) that this may be due to the package that the sandwich is built in. We guess that it makes it easier to contain the relatively complex set of ingredients.
The bottom line is that we consistently receive Big Macs that look awesome - worldwide - every time. This is a much better track record than the paper-wrapped hamburgers and cheeseburgers (that frequently look like they've been prepared in haste).
A tip of the hat to the designer of this system and a big THANKS to the crew that puts them together for us to enjoy.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
This is a good reminder that there are as many subtle differences as there are people. These late breakfast fans deserve to eat what they want when they want, just like the early lunchers. Imagine the position McDonald's is in as they try to please us all. It appears there is no perfect compromise.
At least we all understand that it isn't easy to keep us all happy.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
So you can imagine how pleased we were when it was reported that the New Hartford, NY store is now serving lunch starting at 10:30AM instead of 11:00AM. That's right, a simple, home computer-generated sign addressed "to all our loyal customers" made the announcement this week.
We know that it is important not to mix breakfast cooking with lunch cooking, but we've had the untimely urge for an early burger more than a few times. And isn't 10:45 a little late for breakfast? Great move New Hartford. We love it.
We wonder if this is a one-store event, or if it is a corporate-wide change. Please let us know if you are seeing this change in your favorite McDonald's.
Monday, September 12, 2005
According to a report on mlive.com, "Most of them (new stores) are smaller and offer a host of unexpected amenities like wireless Internet access, flat screen televisions and meeting rooms. They tend to feature a more modern atmosphere with upholstered furniture, leather couches, high-topped tables and stools. Some even boast fireplaces."
230 of Michigan's 550 McDonald's are slated for reimaging by th end of next year. The article goes on to report, "More than half of McDonald's locations now offer wireless Internet access".
One rebuilt store manager, in Michigan, reports "I am getting not just families anymore," ... "Now I'm seeing people in suits who are coming here instead of the library or Starbucks."
According to a story on the wbdj7.com website, "A new McDonald's restaurant is about to open in the Roanoke Valley. While that isn't news, what the place now looks like is". In addition to the, fireplaces, big screen tvs, video game center, wood paneling, paintings, and light fixtures, the big expected upgrade is in service. Read more.
And it's the same in Lakeland, Florida, as it is in Payson, Arizona, as it is in Charlestown, West Virginia, as it is in South Glens Falls, New York. On and on it goes. Look for a reimaged McDonald's in your area. The McChronicles has seen many and they are really great.
Top Image: McDonald's Netherlands website
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Our good friends at the Fastfoodweblog.nl just celebrated their second anniversary. Congratulations!
Aficionados of fast food will appreciate the site's fun and professional take on the industry. You will need a working knowledge of the dutch language to get the most out of the site.
Click on over to fastfoodweblog and join the McChronicles in wishing them a happy birthday.
The McChronicles just paid a visit to Singapore to investigate the latest McDonald's activities on that beautiful island state. We were long-aware that McDonald's deliveries are a standard activity, so we decided to test it out - in a big way. We threw a party that required a total of three delivery vehicles.
The large, complex order detail was handled via fax, to insure accuracy. Interestingly, since Singapore enjoys great weather, and for a variety of other reasons, many delivery vehicles are motorcycles. This case was no exception. The drivers were well-dressed in clean uniforms, very friendly, and helpful. These independent contractors had a seemingly-great allegiance to McDonald's and were exemplary representatives.
Our lunch arrived in style, on schedule, and contained in well-sealed, insulated packs. Surprisingly, the beverages were quite cold, with a lot of ice remaining (since Singapore is just 1-degree north of the equator it is HOT). Only the fries suffered (as they always do - everywhere - when there is a lag in time between cooking and eating). The price for the food and the service was fair.
The McChronicles is a great fan of this McDonald's delivery feature. It isn't a viable service everywhere, but it works great when the situation warrants.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Applications appear at restaurants. They must be completed and approved prior to the big day. An applicant for the event must declare several things, including one's good health.
We also noted very slick TV commercials promoting the event. The spokesperson in the ads is an executive-looking older gentleman. He puts a lot of effort into indicating that people wil be impressed with the cleanliness, professionalism, and quality of McDonald's.
The McChronicles guesses (and this could be unfair of us to speculate) that these ads, seemingly aimed at parents, and the open house event itself, are intended to counter any possible negative feelings about McDonald's. Parents may be reluctant to let their kids hang out and eat at a place that they have misgivings about.
So, if you're in Shanghai over the weekend, like this little guy, carve out some time, fill out an application, and take the tour.
This one, in the trendy Xin Tian Di area of Shanghai, offers a simple menu of teas, hot chocolate, coffee, cappucchino, latte, espresso, smoothie, and juice. Not seen on the menu are the few simple snacks that are offered in the case off to the side.
The McChronicles observed a few McCafés and found them all to be neat, clean, and fast.
According to bizjournals, in a 2001 release "McCafe was first introduced in Australia in 1993 and has become a successful enterprise in 17 countries with almost 300 McCafes worldwide. McDonald's is introducing McCafe for the first time in the U.S., making this the 18th country to debut the concept. All McCafes are within or adjacent to existing full-service traditional McDonald's restaurants. "
We wonder if this is getting too far removed from the core McDonald's brand or if it is an excellent marketing move. Only time will tell. We do know that the McCafé was analyzed by no less than the fine people at Harvard. Find their 2004 report at Harvard Business Online.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
BuzzMachine has posted this comment from a reader, "The most interesting “corporate sheppard” blog I’ve seen lately was for McDonalds called The McChronicles. It’s a wonderful, if not odd, blog. " Thank you for the compliment.
And The McChronicles has been dubbed, "a customer evangelist" on the American Marketing Association's website. Yes, we really appreciate, and care about, McDonald's - from the customer point of view.
In this case, the seating is for a trendy McCafé. More on those later.
Monday, September 05, 2005
McDonald's is also working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Red Cross to determine the most immediate and impactful ways to deploy McDonald's resources and distribution systems to help bring food, water and other supplies where it is needed most.
Many local McDonald's owner/operators are already helping to feed relief workers, and victims of the natural disaster.