Friday, December 30, 2005

McDonald's Murals

Some McDonald's offer up some tasty murals that depict either a theme or their local beauty.

Here are two examples:

The first is a recent submission from a McChronicles field reporter.
This shot was grabbed in the Cincinnati, OH airport. It reflects the "old school McDonald's" theme.

The second is a picture we've shared in the past - another old school theme, this time it depicts a nostalgic view of historic Johnstown, NY.

The McChronicles thinks these murals are pretty cool. We don't think every store should have one, but they certainly do have their place.

Send in your photos of McDonald's murals (mcchronicles at If we get a handful we'll post them all together.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

McDonald's Advertisement in Foot Locker Store

While grabbing up some post-Christmas sales in a local mall, a McChronicles reporter walked by a Foot Locker store. Unbeknownst to us, McDonald's had bought ad space on Foot Locker's in-store video network. Imagine our surprise! Not that this is a new development.

This is a good way to reach very specific demographics. A quick Google search gave us the background we craved.

An interesting
Business Week article on the general topic (from last year - we're kind of out of it on this one) includes this quote:
"McDonald's now devotes a third of its U.S. marketing budget to television, compared with two-thirds five years ago. Money that used to go for 30-second network spots now pays for closed-circuit sports programming piped into Hispanic bars and for ads in Upscale, a custom-published magazine distributed to black barber shops. To sharpen its appeal to young men, another of its prime target audiences, McDonald's advertises on Foot Locker Inc.'s (FL ) in-store video network. The company zeroes in on mothers through ads in women's magazines such as O: The Oprah Magazine and Marie Claire and on Web sites like Yahoo! (YHOO ) and iVillage Inc. (IVIL ). "We are a big marketer," says M. Lawrence Light, McDonald's chief marketing officer, echoing Stengel's disavowals. "We are not a mass marketer."

We weren't able to grab an image for this posting - we'll try.

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Holidays!

To McDonald's Crew people worldwide - Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa - from The McChronicles.

Thanks for caring, for all the hard work, and for the great times we enjoy - all because of you.

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.

top: Canastota, NY McDonald's Christmas Tree: The McChronicles.
middle: The Official Kwanzaa Website
bottom: Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Reader's Digest Magazine Gives "Thumbs Up" To McDonald's

The current issue (January 2006) issue of Reader's Digest Magazine gives McDonald's a "thumbs up" rating (p.24).

The positive nod was given to, "McDonald's for saying it'll add nutritional info to packaging for most menu items. Might be better to add it to the actual menu, but this is a good step toward biting into our obesity woes."

Elsewhere on the RD site, there appeared this amusing and related joke:
As my five-year-old son and I were heading to McDonald's one day, we passed a
car accident. Usually when we see something terrible like that, we say a prayer
for whoever might be hurt, so I pointed and said to my son, "We should pray."
From the back seat I heard his earnest voice: "Dear God, please don't let those
cars block the entrance to McDonald's."
— Joke contributed by Sherri Leard

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Image: Reader's

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

McDonald's Opens First Drive-Thru In China

Great news on

"McDonald's celebrates 15th anniversary in China DONGGUAN, Guangdong, China, Dec. 10"

"McDonald's China today announced the official Grand Opening of its first Drive-Thru restaurant in China. The all new 645 square meter McDonald's Drive-Thru is located in heart of the central business district of Dongguan Guangdong Province. With over 50 parking spaces and many new features it represents the next generation of McDonald's restaurants in China, providing customers with an entirely new and exciting dining experience."


The McChronicles has spent a fair amount of time visiting McDonald's in China. This is a big deal. ANYTHING with 50 parking spaces is a big deal in China. We plan to visit there in the next few months to experience this awesome new McDonald's.

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.

Monday, December 12, 2005

McDonald's Arch Card (part 2)

The McChronicles has blogged about the McDonald's Arch Card before, and we bet we will do it again. It's a good thing. This time we are commenting on the pervasivness of the promotional activities.

A contributor to The McChronicles delivered a small "memo" and a complimentary arch card to our offices. They received it as part of a promotional mailing from their American Express credit card account manager. Wow! This card is being promoted at McDonald's restaurants, on TV, as free gifts to Southwest Airlines customers, and now through third-party direct mail.

As we posted previously, we like this idea and offer only one suggestion - allow the amount to be any value desired. Why limit the consumer to $5, $10, $25, or $50 increments? What if Aunt Mary's price point for a gift for each of her little nieces is $15 or $30?

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.

Image: The McChronicles

Friday, December 09, 2005

McDonald's Crew: Behind The Scenes

For those who think that the McDonald's crews of the world are not into their jobs, please take a look at the "McDonald's Talk" community in LiveJournal.

According the the site's Community Information page, "Anybody who has had an encounter with the McDonald's Corporation, whether as an employee or a customer, is invited to comment in this community. This community was started as a place for both workers and customers to gripe about McDonald's, but some positive input is welcome, too." Sounds a bit heavy on the "griping" side - and the founder even created an "i'm hatin' it" logo for the community.

Interestingly, the members (most of whom seem to be active McDonald's employees) have taken this site quite positive. In it you will see people complaining a little, sharing ideas, having fun, verifying rules & regulations, and CARING. Face it, if these 166 people didn't care, they could easily find better things to do with their lives than chat about McDonald's in their free time.

One chat thread involves various widely-scattered crew members supporting and guiding another crew member as they approach a serious and important inspection (most don't know each other). This is clearly NOT the work of people who don't care. In this thread we witness pride of ownership, the spirit of togetherness and teamwork, and great care for the company, coworkers, and customers.

What a refreshing glimpse into the side of McDonald's that will NEVER receive any media coverage - the positive side. It feels great to know that these dedicated crew members really care.


The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's

Image: LiveJournal website.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Winter Haven, Florida McDonald's Re-Arched

Whenever the actual "Golden Arches" are involved, it is really cool. A friend of The McChronicles files this exciting report:

The local McDonald's was just rebuilt and they were putting up the arches today... the store opened tonight and when I drove by they were
missing part of one of the arches.

The local owner has always been very progressive, i.e. he had touch screen ordering for at least 4+ years and they use wireless handhelds to take orders in the drive-thru. Like I said, they demolished the old store and built this new one. I think total turnaround was about a month. The location is at the corner of 9th ST SE and Cypress Garden Blvd., Winter Haven, FL.

Exciting, indeed. Is there anything quite like a newly-opened McDonald's? We'd love to see some photos of the opening ceremony, of the interior.

Thanks for the report!

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.

Image: Courtesy of
Hyku (more images on his site)


McDonald's offers hearty warm Campbell's soup for those people in winter climates. The McChronicles has two comments:

  1. a soup-craving McChronicles field reporter has been denied soup two out of two attempts. Once they were told that there was no more soup. The second time they were denied due to "trouble with the soup well". NO SOUP FOR YOU!
  2. quick quiz: What is the #1 most-popular Campbell's soup? According to the Campbell's website, "Our two most popular soups are Chicken Noodle and Tomato. These soups are among the top 10 food items sold in grocery stores". According to the McDonald's website (search for soup), they offer: vegetable beef, Italian wedding, cream of potato, chicken, and broccoli cheese. NO (tomato) SOUP FOR YOU! The McChronicles wishes for tomato soup.

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's

Image: Badger Herald website

Monday, December 05, 2005

McDonald's Bloggers Fear For Safety

Last winter The McChronicles blogged about the safety conditions outside of the New Hartford, NY McDonald's. This year looks to be a repeat of the same situation. We literally take extra care when visiting this store.

Here is an image taken today at lunch time. It hadn't snowed for about 24 hours, and it was partly-sunny and warm all morning. At the time of this image it was about 36F (and had been above freezing for a couple of hours).

McDonald's should do what countless old ladies and jr. high school-aged kids do at this time of the year - grab a shovel, a scraper, some salt and show some pride.

Here we have the moment of truth - a customer buys into the promotional stream, decides to purchase from the business, drives there, and is faced with a really low-class and dangerous environment. So, at first glance, just what kind of place are we visiting?

Admittedly, today's conditions aren't REALLY bad (we've seen it much worse). But many customers MUST walk over this ice. The real point is this: we all know that winter is here. Ice always builds up near this door. Customers hate risking their safety as they struggle to grab a quick lunch. So, please deal with this chronic situation. If not for the sake of the McDonald's brand, but for the sake of your customers and crew.

McDonald's Blog Reports Service Is Too Slow

The McChronicles has been plagued by frequent "slow service" experiences while visiting McDonald's. Today is a good example.

With only three customers ahead of us, and with an apparent full crew on duty, it took way too long to get served. Here's how it played out:
  • Store: #825, New Hartford, NY, USA
  • Time: 1:35PM
  • Order: Big Mac Value Meal, regular, for inside
  • Line Wait: 3.5 minutes (that's too long, but it depends on the people in line)
  • Order Wait: 3.5 minutes (too long, no excuse, it's all up to the crew/system)
  • Quality: Very good
  • Cleanliness: Winter mud in the order area, some tables dirty. Otherwise very nice.

7 minutes is just way too long to wait for a simple order - especially when it is evident that there is no big demand on the crew. The term "painfully obvious" comes to mind as people queue up, McShuffled, awaiting their food as not much happens. Something is wrong.

Strangely, the crew sure looked busy. And this store has a very professional and dedicated crew (that's been proven repeatedly). We guess there is just something wrong with the system.

This is EXACTLY the kind of systemic issue that, over time, really damages a brand.

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's

Thursday, December 01, 2005

McDonald's Arch Card (debit card)

McDonald's has rolled out their Arch Card, just in time for the holidays. It's a great idea.

The McChronicles received our first Arch Card attached to a Premium Chicken sandwich (see image). Sweet!

First of all, they're giving away free money (in the form of a debit card that can only be used at McDonald's - if anyone doesn't like that, please send your cards to The McChronicles, we'll use them plenty fast!). Secondly, they are nice little "gifts" for anyone you know who is dropping into a McDonald's soon.

But the real beauty lies elsewhere (after all, a free "regifted" $1 gift is almost insulting, and you will surely end up spending more money along with this free dollar, so send them to us). The real beauty lies in the fact that, by getting us familiar with the McDonald's debit card concept at no cost, we all become desensitized to the use of the card, then accustomed to the routine. Eventually, we might purchase Arch Cards or any debit cards from McDonald's.

The McChronicles usually bristles at the concept of debit cards (giving an institution a free cash loan - with the risk of losing the card or leaving change on the card). But these cards offer a great way to give the gift of a nice McDonald's meal, in denominations as small as $5. That's cool especially around the holiday season.

The McChronicles: A blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.

Image: The McChronicles