Saturday, October 29, 2005

McDonald's Crew Feedback: BE NICE

In a comment to a previous McChronicles posting, a McDonald's crew member shared some thoughts and suggestions.

Interestingly," Tiz" has little to remark about regarding management or the company. What seems to weigh on the mind of this crew member is the way (s)he is treated by us - the customer.

Tiz said, "For the most part, if I could only get one and one thing ONLY across to would have to be that being nice gets you a long way as opposed to yelling at me and being rude. Sure, I am a lowly mcdonalds employee, but I'm also human, I will make errors, but I'll also apologize and do my best to fix it, just be kind, as I have feelings too."

And how rude are we? These are the thoughts that go through the head of this front end person while preparing for work, "Will it be busy today? Will someone curse at me today? Am I going to have a good today? "

In spite of our rudeness, Tiz has this to say about the job, "I am honestly thankful and so glad to have had the chance to work there. "

To Tiz, and to all crew members, worldwide,
The McChronicles offers full appreciation for the great work you do. We're glad you work at McDonald's. Here's hoping your next shift is a great one.

Image: screen grab from
McDonald's website

Friday, October 28, 2005

Feedback On Drive-Thru Disaster

So, after the experience with the previous post we revisited an old subject, McDonald's online feedback form.

In the past, this form didn't work for us. Using our old link from the previous post, it still didn't work. We think that the link is to an old page. So, we searched for McDonald's current form and easily found it. We proceded, hoping for an improved experience.

First we completed their form:

Then we submitted it, and it seemed to work perfectly.

The McChronicles suggests that you register your experiences with McDonald's online (good and bad - don't unfairly emphasize one over the other).

By giving fair and complete feedback we give McDonald's the opportunity to improve.

Images: McChronicles, from the McDonald's website.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Drive-Thru Disaster

The McChronicles road team had a busy afternoon schedule today, so we headed to the South Utica, NY (Genesee St., store #18030) for a quick, late lunch.

It was after 2PM when we pulled in and the drive-thru line was empty. By the time we set up our camera, several cars had queued up in front of us. That's how fast it can happen. We got on line and, well, let the video do the talking.

Two things need to be said here:

1) This was a random occurrence. We had no plan to be at this location at this time. Nor did we plan to video this. It all just fell into place.

2) There are two breaks in the video: one while receiving the food (at about 2:10 into the video) and just before reviewing the food (at about 4:55 into the video). Therefore, there would logically be suspicion regarding "tampering" with the facts. Rest assured that there was no tampering. This is exactly what happened.

Well, as you saw, there was a major error made somewhere in the process. We obviously received the wrong order.
We ordered:
-two hamburgers
-medium Coke

We received:
-one chicken sandwich
-one Big Mac
-one regular fries
-one large fries
-one large Sprite

The crew person didn't make 5 "item" errors, they just made one "order" error.

The issues were:
1) we used a gift card and received no special receipt indicating the new balance on the card (that receipt is usually given)
2) we don't know how much credit was taken off our gift card
3) we were given some other person's order
4) presumably someone else received our order
5) it took a bit longer than the video depicts due to the editing

This is an extremely rare event based on our multitude of experiences. It just happened to occur while the camera was running.

We were really running late, so we just ate part of what was in the bag.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Interactive Virtual 360-Degree Tour of New McDonald's in Amsterdam

In a previous McChronicles post we shared images (like the one at the right) of a hot new McDonald's in Amsterdam, Netherlands. First, we'd like to say that Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities on Earth - one of our favorites. Please pay it a visit if you get the chance.

Secondly, we'd like to say WOW! We're excited because one of our loyal fans just turned us on to a virtual, interactive 360-degree tour of the very same awesome new McDonald's in Amsterdam.

When you're checking this out, be sure to click on the little golden arches and the red arrows for extra goodies. This is what the internet is all about - allowing us much more freedom to learn and explore. We don't know who posted this, but we're glad they did the work and allowed us to check it out. On top of the cool technology, this is one awesome McDonald's.

Once again, big Dank U to Jan-Willem for the tip.
Top Image: The McDonald's Netherlands Website

Bottom Image: Screen Grab from the tour site

Monday, October 24, 2005

Bag A McMeal

A very simple and valuable diet tool is available on the McDonald's website. The Bag A McMeal tool provides a very easy way to determine the nutritional characteristics of various McDonald's meals that you can assemble online.

To take advantage of this awesome resource, a user simply operates an easy-to-use pulldown menu to select a menu category (eg. sandwiches), chooses a specific menu item from the category, adds the specific menu item(s) to the "bag", then clicks for the nutritional facts.

The site is very well designed, looks great, works great, and most importantly, enables the user to make informed decisions regarding their menu.

Additionally, the site also offers a variety of other nutritional resources including tips on heart health from Dr. Dean Ornish, balanced eating guidelines from Oprah's personal trainer, Bob Greene, and much more.

Name another restaurant that offers this excellent tool.

Image: McDonald's website

Shining The Light On Quality: New Ads

One of the main features of eating at McDonald's is that consumers receive consistent service, consistent menu offerings, and consistent good quality. Now McDonald's is reportedly planning on promoting their good quality in a series of new ads.

According to a Reuters story titled, "McDonald's looks to sell quality" the company plans "a two-day media event to tout the quality of its food and combat critics who say its burgers and fries are unhealthy. "

The McChronicles has not seen any of the promo items, but we're looking. So, stay tuned and we'll see how this will play out.

The McChronicles

Friday, October 21, 2005

McChronicles Celebrates 10,000

The McChronicles just celebrated its 10,000th visitor. Yay!

The visitor, from the Milpitas, California area landed on our site at 9:31PM their time, via a Yahoo search for "ronald mcdonald halloween costumes". This McChronicles posting was found on page 1.

2 Rosas

Thursday, October 20, 2005

McChronicles As A McDonald's Consumer Evangelist

The McChronicles has been described as a "consumer evangelist" before. Today we awake to hear a similar description from the people at Church of the Customer Blog.

On behalf of all the loyal customers out here looking to match the expectations with the experience, we thank Ben McConnell for the attention and the mention. We appreciate that he captured our passion FOR McDonald's and didn't distort things into a negative place. Very good work. We have heard Ben speak before. It is no surprise that he is this professional.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Day In The Life Of A McDonald's Manager

While reviewing all things McDonald's on the web we came across Steve Crescenzo's Corporate Hallucinations.

In this blog is a review of a conference regarding an internal McDonald's blog project. Several McDonald's executives were in attendance. In the "Lovin' It" post, Lisa Grover, a seminar attendee, comments and suggests, "What are the outside impressions of the company?" as a possible category for McDonald's to consider. The McChronicles is proud to say that we've been on top of that for a while now (not that we have it all sewn up or anything). We agree! Great idea.

Lisa goes on to suggest (as another category for the McDonald's internal blog), "A day in the life of a restaurant manager (or any person in the "trenches" - I'm sure it will be drastically different than the life of a corporate employee)". That's awesome!!!

The McChronicles hereby invites any and all McDonald's personnel (no matter what your position) to offer up YOUR story on our site. We have heard an occasional comment from a McDonald's employee in the past, but we want more.

Customers should hear your side of the story. But, remember, we don't want dirt, unsubstantiated claims, and other unprofessional comments. We are all professionals here - and the McChronicles is all about POSITIVE vibes and constructive criticisms.

So, feel free to comment away. This is your chance. And it's FREE! Just click on comments (below) and let it flow.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

McDonald's Inner Child Gets It

We agree, McDonald's "Inner Child" ad series really gets it. But, just as we wonder about the adults in the commercial, we wonder if McDonald's gets it.

Australian Blogger Duncan McLeod does a great job reviewing the McDonald's Australia advertisements, so we'll leave the details in his capable hands. Our point is this, The McChronicles exists due to our having bought the McDonald's message as kids. We guess that you did, too. So, here we go, walking in to our umpteenth McDonald's, hoping to realize the dream. Our inner child longs for a perfectly-clean dining room, a fresh-faced, squeaky-clean high schooler behind the counter, and food that is heartwarming as well as fast and tasty. We hope because that's not what we typically get.

Throughout this blog we have repeatedly expressed our disappointment with congenitally-ripped seating, chipped and rusty chair legs, chronically-soiled tables, and a host of "straws" that serve to break the proverbial camel's back. What keeps us ever hopeful is the fact that even we consumers can see that there is much for which to hope. After all, appointing someone to be responsible for dining room cleanliness is easy. Getting someone to be responsible for furniture maintenance is easy. Getting people to truly possess and exhibit a positive attitude is easy. The McChronicles staff has worked in factories, offices, and related organizations that have achieved this. And all the hopeful brand-buyers know it is possible, too.

So, McDonald's "
Inner Child" gets it. Those of us who bought into the message have ALWAYS got it. Will someone at McDonald's please get it, and get back to basics.

We don't want
Monopoly games - does anyone even consider for one second that they will drive off in a new Viper? And we don't want another silk-screened 24-ounce plastic cup. Our inner child wants things just the way they've been promised. Get it?


New Hartford McDonald's Video Tour

Store #825 is on Route 5 (Seneca Turnpike) in New Hartford. Here is a brief McChronicles vlog (video blog) glimpse of the dining area.

This store has a lot going for it, especially some pretty dialed-in crew members. It seems to suffer with dining area cleanliness. If they'd only send someone out to clean up and wipe down the tables, seats, and floors more frequently The McChronicles would really love this place.

Anyway, this is a really good McDonald's, offering fast food and lots of smiles.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Just when we thought we'd seen everything McDonald's - we see The McPlane.

According to the MediaMerger website, "McPlane(tm) is the latest and hottest civilian airplane to be spotted in the Swiss and European skies. It is a joint venture of Crossair, Hotelplan (a major Swiss travel agency) and McDonald's".

The site goes on to explain, "McPlane is not a business, but rather a family plane and it mainly serves holiday destinations in Europe and Near East. Disneyland Europe at Paris, e.g., is one of them but also many places in the Mediterranean Sea. During the holidays a special McDonald's hostess helps the regular cabin crew."

Thanks to McChronicles reader Jan-Willem of FastFoodWeblog for bringing this awesome item to our attention.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

The McChronicles Appeals To Worldwide McDonald's Fans

Based on this graph (copied directly from our website analysis program this morning) The McChronicles continues to be of interest to readers from around the world.

The accompanying map indicates where the most recent 100 readers actually logged in from (the red dot represents the last person to log on - in this case a reader from St. Louis, Missouri, USA). Remember, these are just snapshots of a moment in time.

Obviously McDonald's has made an impression nearly everywhere in the world. And their brand now resides in each and every one of us. Global consumers care about McDonald's.

So, WELCOME to readers worldwide. Please continue letting us know how you feel about your experiences with McDonald's. Your consumer voice is important (and fun).

Images: McChronicles

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Has No McDonald's!

We were stunned!

A McChronicles team recently passed through Atlanta, Georgia's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. We enjoyed our leisurely walk down the terminal. When it came time for a bite to eat we thought, "McDonald's" (of course). Well, NO McDonald's!!!

So, we grabbed one of their feedback forms and filled it in.

Please pardon our indignation, but we really had our sites set on a warm, juicy Big Mac. Maybe next time!

Image: McChronicles

Friday, October 14, 2005

McCafe Arrives in The USA

The United States of America, birthplace of McDonald's, will finally get a McCafe.

From Drinks Business Review, "According to the Financial Times, the fast food giant's McCafe concept has already seen robust growth across Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe, and is now being trialed its home market of North America. "

The McChronicles visited several McCafes in China recently and enjoyed them. Can't wait to see them in the USA!

Image: Shanghai McCafe: The McChronicles

Utica New York's Coolest McDonald's

Utica, New York's Mohawk Street McDonald's (store # 5340) has a lot going for it. Located in the ethnic East Utica part of town, this restaurant offers a peppy and spirited crew.

It also serves a very diverse demographic, so the patrons are always interesting. Case in point, during this visit a young Venezuelan retail entrepreneur introduced herself to our focus group and asked to look over our Monopoly pieces (she is hoping to win the Viper). This led to that and we quickly learned all about her jewelry store in a nearby shopping mall. AWESOME!

The McChronicles highly recommends this "neighborhood"-feeling McDonald's.

Here is our first video blog (a McDonald's vlog) - a crude and quick tour of the simple but zesty McDonald's.

Video: The McChronicles

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Thrill Is Gone

The South Utica (NY) McDonald's (store #: 18030) was the scene of a very special McChronicles moment several years ago. We co-celebrated a friend's birthday AND the grand opening of the (then) world's newest McDonald's.

Fast forward to today.

Though the site makes the very best of a potentially-tough location (in fact the setting is now quite beautiful - kudos the McDonald's site team for that), the interior has degraded to the point where it really is looking poor. A recent visit exposed us to chipped paint on chairs and torn seating.

We go to McDonald's to feel good. This store is beginning to drag us down (reminding us of
a similar McChronicles report on the same subject).

Time to spruce things up in South Utica, PLEASE.

Image: Ripped seating: The McChronicles

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

McDonald's Blog: Live From McDonald's

"I attracted some attention from customers as I was moving around trying to find a better signal. Four young, professional looking guys asked if I was a student at the nearby DeVry location (I'm not). They were pretty wowed by the keyboard and wireless and the whole nine yeards. Then some high-school kids wondered if it was a real computer and if I worked for McDonalds to get the Wi-Fi access (I don't)."

A live blog posted from a McDonald's - using their Wi-Fi.

The author goes on to cite leather couches, a flat-screen TV, stone veneer, and a fireplace as some of the accoutrements at the upscale McDonald's he is posting from.


Fry Envy: Penang Style

Throughout the world McDonald's has become much more than a place to grab a quick bite to eat. For many it has become THE place to meet, interact, and spend some time out of the house. Today's McChronicles field report certainly contains it's share of human interest - to a point.

The location - Penang, Malaysia. The moment - several colleagues enjoying each other's company over a banquet of McDonald's food. A couple of men, several women - the stage is set. One man notices the women's interest piquing as the second man approaches the table. Are the ladies interested in his friend? Alas, they were just eyeing his french fries. Oh well!

Thanks to Nagen for submitting this report and the excellent image.

Image: a collaborative photoblog

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What Makes A "USA Top 100 McDonald's"?

The McChronicles recently posted about an experience with the Sarasota, FL "Top 100" McDonald's. The entire experience was very good, but it didn't feel special or anything.

We think this designation MUST be pretty special - but wonder how a restaurant earns such distinction.

Can someone from McDonald's please comment and share the criteria?

Image: McChronicles

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Miss McDonald Returns to the McChronicles

We admit it, The McChronicles pays the occasional visit to the Miss McDonald website. We also admit that her activity seems just plain strange. But who are we to judge?

Is she taking her love for Ronald McDonald too far? Has McDonald's tried to stop her activities? Did her dentist give her a clean bill of health? We want to know!

One thing we do know, she gets a ton of comments from some pretty loyal followers. For example,
socratic_irony writes, "you, miss, are adorable. even more so because you remind me of home." We're guessing she means THE home - but we see she hails from the Philippines, just like Miss McDonald. Perhaps ThatNickGuy said it best when he added, "She's alive!! ALIVE!!! ALIIIIIIIIIVE!!!!*Evil cackle*" .

Image: Miss McDonald

Fast Food Halloween

In a slight turn of The Monster Mash, or of today's American Express "rogue's gallery of commercial mascots" we now have iconic fast food icons serving as Halloween characters.

The ubiquity of the fast food lifestyle, pervasive throughout nearly everyone's life, makes these spokespeople characters excellent personnae for Halloween parties.

Of course, the characters are so well known that they can only be pulled off using the most professional costumes. And in this case, it seems to have been done perfectly.

The McChronicles applauds the costumes depicting Jack In The Box's Jack, McDonald's Ronald McDonald, and Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders.

Thanks to David Krane of Kraneland for this holiday tribute to fast food.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Hamburger Magic

He's no Hamburgular, but he's pretty cool. This guy is awesome at making hamburgers appear and disappear.

More cool stuff appears on The Alf Report.

It's not McDonald's, but The McChronicles really digs this.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Should McDonald's "Reebok" BK?

The McChronicles invited in some "adult supervision" after we spouted off about how McDonald's should counter the amusing Burger King commercial. Of course, we turned to one of the world's leading pundits on multiple communications platforms (word of mouth, blogging, podcasting, et al), Matt Galloway, of The Basement. Matt's response was, as expected, spot-on. A big "NO".

In retrospect, we have to agree. While the ad is a hit - ranking #1 in Technorati searches lately, a "
Reeboking" would not be prudent. Thanks, Matt.

Ronald can go back to the library. But don't we all want to see it happen? Just once?


Singapore Searches for Ronald McDonald

A team of highly-sophisticated sleuths have dedicated themselves to tracking down Ronald McDonald, wherever he may be (as long as he is in a Singapore McDonald's restaurant).

MiChi Tubbit Mijikoi Xomaeira, the proprietors (self-described "Ronald McDonald groupies") of "Ronald McDonalds In Singapore", a photo blog based on Fotopages, declares their mission as, "Tracking down Ronald at various McDonald's outlets in Singapore." Note: they throw in a few extra-Singaporean sightings to boot.

This silly site (and we mean that in a good way) offers up more than simple sightings. It delves into funny and friendly moments between friends, and offers some musings on the various McDonald's locations throughout Singapore (one of the McChronicles' favorite places for McDonald's dining), to McDonald's-related news items, to another site focused on
Ronald McDonald statues. Heck, the Colonel even makes a few appearances!

Check out what the girls are up to - and tell them The McChronicles sent you!

Image: Ronald McDonalds In Singapore blog

New Hartford, NY McDonald's Amazes The McChronicles

A focus group of four adult males visited the New Hartford, NY McDonald's recently - the service was simply awesome.

The small line moved fast - we were waited on before we were even ready. The focus order was a Big Mac value meal with no cheese. It was ready before we had even put the change in our pocket!

Line Wait: 45 seconds
Order Wait: (Big Mac Value Meal - no cheese): 30 seconds
Quality: Very Good
Service: Good, Warm, Pleasant
Cleanliness: Good
Time: 12:35PM
Store: 825

In mid-September we noticed that this store had several new faces at the counter and in the back (some managers remained the same). On one visit we counted 6 people we'd never seen before. The McChronicles guesses this must be due to the back-to-school time of year. We speculate this MUST be very disruptive to providing great service. We simply haven't had a problem due to new people.

The staff at this restaurant always seems very positive and energetic - and everyone we meet there seems quite pleasant. We recommend this store.

So, the right people are in place - and they're doing things right. Now it is up to the management to continue to enable this great crew to excel.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Burger King Visits The McChronicles

The McChronicles hosts some interesting visitors. We'd like to thank the good people at Burger King headquarters for dropping in today for over 23 minutes. Welcome guys!

PS: Don't be too concerned about the post below (Reebok). Though it would be very cool, it is highly unlikely.

PPS: The guys from McDonald's HQ drop in from time to time, too. THANKS for stopping by.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Let's Reebok BK!

Who in America can forget that riveting and scandalous TV commercial that depicted (and we quote from an archived USA Today article), "a pale British streaker, clad only in a pair of Nike Shox NZ shoes and a scarf, races across the field and through the stands during a London soccer game. His Shox keep him a step ahead of British bobbies and guards." It was powerful - and it established the new order in the sneaker world. View the Nike streaker ad.

But ... within a few days ... WHAM!!!
We were stunned to see the Reebok video response. Quoting AdRants' review of the Reebok ad, "... the Nike streaker does his usual thing running across the field and in the stands until, suddenly, Terry Tate springs across the screen and tackles him. Terry tackles the Streaker and, in essence, Reebok tackles Nike. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant."

Wouldn't McDonald's fans love to see a similar response to the NFL Burger King commercial? Those ads ( number one and number two) are great. Micro Persuasion's Steve Rubel puts it very succinctly on his blog, "You know they're good because they are generating a lot of conversation." The McChronicles thinks McDonald's is better. The question is, does McDonald's think they are better?

Come on McDonald's! Get Ronald out of the library and onto the gridiron. Let's "Reebok" BK!

UPDATE 05 October: Perhaps legal action by McDonald's against Burger King for a similar incident is why McDonald's wouldn't consider "Reeboking" Burger King. But the rules are different in the USA. Witness the Jimi Hendrix Pepsi-Coke Crossroads ad. Go for it!

Terry Tate Response: Ad Rants

Sarasota, Florida: A USA Top 100 McDonald's

A McChronicles team had the recent pleasure of visiting one of America's Top 100 McDonald's. This gem is in Sarasota, Florida at 6347 S. Tamiami Trail (not to be confused with other McDonald's in the area).

  • Line Wait: 0 seconds
  • Order Wait: (Big Mac Value Meal): 60 seconds
  • Quality: Very Good
  • Service: Good, Warm
  • Cleanliness: Good
  • Time: 2PM
  • Store: 1413

Our original plan was to sample the Drive Thru, but the exterior looked so plain that we simply HAD to explore the interior. The seashore motif was light and playful.

The store was very clean, the service was friendly (not too inspired), and the food was just what we hoped for.

We don't know the performance criteria required to become a Top 100 restaurant, but this store really didn't feel special.

Bottom line - we got exactly what the brand promises: Fast food, nice staff, clean environment, and a great lunch.

Images: The McChronicles

Chinese Kids Love McDonald's

The Chinese news source, Eastday, reports that a recent study indicates that 43.6 percent of Beijing, China middle and primary school students go to McDonald's or other fast food restaurants on a monthly basis. They go on to say that, "6.1 percent go every week or every day."

Image: A Shanghai McDonald's, The McChronicles