Thursday, September 28, 2006

Chengdu McDonald's Interview

The McChronicles interviewed another McDonald's manager recently. This time we were in Chengdu, China - on Wen Wu Lu (Wen Wu Road) and were lucky enough to meet Duty manager Miss Zhong Xiao Li.

Right off the bat we knew this interview was going to be a bit different. Miss Zhong started out interviewing us! She was curious as to how we had become such McD fans, why we cared enough to spend time with her, what we thought of her store, etc. We LOVED sharing our story with her.

"We treat kids with respect and learn to serve them better."
Zhong Xiao Li

With her curiousity satisfied, Miss Zhong told us she has been a manager for 1 year and has worked at McDonald's for over 5 years. Her store, in Chengdu, sports a nautical, undersea, theme and is typical in most ways. All of the following responses were translated, and The McChronicles takes full responsibility for any errors in the translation.

McChronicles: How has your 5 years at McDonald's helped you as a manager?
Miss Zhong: My longevity with the system helps me understand my staff's challenges very well. I can help them better because I know what they are facing.

McChronicles: Describe the well-advertised "Moms Panel" program.
Miss Zhong: McDonald's tries very hard to service the family. Our Moms Panel crew members provide special service to make families happy. We help moms take care of their kids, we chat with them, make them feel comfortable. This program gives us invaluable feedback on our customers' experience. As a result, we develop special programs for families. We treat kids with respect and learn to serve them better.

McChronicles: Tell us about the McDonald's Open House program (promoted in this store).
Miss Zhong: We want parents to understand our processes and know that our products are wholesome. Parents, families, anyone is welcome to take our tour.

McChronicles: Who is your typical customer?
Miss Zhong: We serve mostly families and students.

ronicles: What is the hardest part of your job?
Miss Zhong: Hmmm? I don't enjoy working late on weekends. But, other than that, I have no problems.

McChronicles: What is the best part of your job?
Miss Zhong: The most rewarding aspect is knowing that my job is important. When I am at the restaurant I feel energized. The crew are my friends, and there is no social hierarchy here. The company is very fair with all of us. The policies are transparent and applied evenly. The company cares about each employee. This inspires me to go the extra mile.

The McChronicles was VERY impressed with Miss Zhong's positive attitude, enthusiasm, and energy.

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

Monday, September 25, 2006


McDonald's was sampling their Premium Roast Coffee throughout New York City today. Treating commuters to a taste of FREE coffee is a great effort at reaching out to the community and at trying to expand the company's share of the morning coffee market.

McDonald's has a pretty big stake in this market ... according to information in a recent press release, they have 675 McDonald's located throughout the NY, NJ, CT tri-state area.

Sampling teams are scheduled to be back on the streets tomorrow (Tuesday, 26 September) from 7AM-10AM and from 12PM-2PM at:
  • Union Square
  • Metro North Station, Harlem 125th St.
  • Hoboken Station
  • Journal Square Path Station
If anyone manages to grab photos at any of these events, please send them on to us: mcchronicles at gmail dot com.

The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Image: screen grab from McDonald's press release.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Cazenovia McDonald's Looks Abandoned

Apologies for these poor quality images (taken with The McChronicles' low-qual phone cam). The intent is to depict the sorry state of affairs at the Cazenovia, NY McDonald's.

Top image: an entire section of the front (main view) roof is all ripped up and torn off.

Middle image: the posters droop off the windows as if no one maintains the interior.

Bottom image: the landscaping is so overgrown that it looks like no one has cared for it in a year.

So, is the Cazenovia,NY McDonald's abandoned? Nope, it is just so poorly cared for that it is an embarrassment.

The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Images: The McChronicles (sorry about the quality).

Richfield Springs, NY McDonald's: The McChronicles Has A Bad Experience

The McChronicles drove across Upstate New York to visit "the birthplace of baseball", Cooperstown, NY. On the way we dropped into the McDonald's at the intersection of NYS Rts 20 & 28 in Richfield Springs, NY.

This store is the kind that is tacked onto a convenience store/gas station. The McChronicles has posted about this set-up before (we feel it is a bit "below-brand", yet we'd rather have the opportunity to eat at McDonald's vs. forego it). Overall we give the concept a thumbs-up. We dropped in all excited to have the luxury of a McDonald's way out in the middle of nowhere - and then it hit us. This place was really batting below average.

First were the flies. WAAAAY too many (coming in from the back door, the main entrance, and the convenience store). Flies NEVER make customers happy. Minimizing flies in a restaurant should be a top priority for EVERY restaurant.

Then we encountered the always-impressive condiment/straw/Sunday paper insert "heap" on the counter. People hate putting things in their mouths that have been pawed over by strangers and that are displayed in obviously careless disarray. Additionally, the first impression should be a nice one. It is set up to be a nice one. It's actually kind of hard to mess this up. But they did.

Finally, we were less than inspired by the semi-swept-up debris, broom-in the-food scenario in the food prep area.

The management of this store needs to get some "religion". Customers may have to accept this low-level treatment when the nearest diner is a country mile away and they're hankerin' for a quick cup of Joe at Flossies Diner, but no one should experience this at a McDonald's. Especially after so much money has been spent to provide us all with a pleasing experience.

Store Manager Dean Colby (so proudly displayed on the store's door), where's the pride? The hygiene? The respect for the McDonald's brand? The respect for the customer? The McChronicles is betting that your crew just had a bad day. We know that you're one small step from delighting the customer in every way. Please take that step, make this little diamond in the rough something to be proud of. We'll be back and we're sure we'll be impressed next time.

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

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The McChronicles enjoys perusing a seemingly factual and fair website focusing on ... McDonald's. It is called McDone Media and is said to be written by, "Elke, a European girl who is fascinated by the success of McDonald's. "

Here's what you will find on McDone Media:
  • The latest news and press releases regarding McDonald's
  • Popular info (including "The Freaky Universe of McDonald's")
  • a reader poll
  • McDonald's facts (on every page)
  • more

On the site Elke says she started this website, "because I'm interested in the company, their image and products. At first I just took pictures of every McDonald's restaurant I came across, which I then posted on the internet. But I soon got this idea for a big McDonald's website that could inform everyone (whether you like the Golden Arches or not). So that's how McDone Media came to be... "

Good work, Elke. For those who are interested, your site is very informative and professional. We like it so much we're adding it to our blogroll.

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

Image: screen grab from McDone-Media

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Guardian Article

The McChronicles has received yet another mention, this time in the UK's esteemed Guardian website. The Guardian article, titled COMPANIES WAKE UP TO BLOGS' BARKING, discusses how several major corporations are addressing the activities in the blogosphere.

We were a bit confused by the section that mentioned our work - and think that the author took a cheap shot at McDonald's while misrepresenting our efforts a wee bit. Here is what they published:

"McChronicles aims to "discuss the brand experience of the world's largest fast
food chain from the customer point of view". Postings can be as bland as the
food, describing in detail the likes of a restaurant in New York state ("we
noticed an almost Victorian musical instrument theme"). A video clip shows "most
illest, futuristic sandwich ever". It isn't slavish in its support, though:
Detroit airport was apparently a disappointment."

What we don't understand:
  • if our descriptions are "detailed" and (assummedly) interesting, then they are not "bland". That's not to say that all our postings are gems. We admit to varying degrees of literary quality. It just felt like the example was the wrong one to select.
  • if a restaurant interior has a nice Victorian musical instrument theme, then it is not "bland".
  • when we deliver ours, and others', videos online, then we are not "bland".
  • SO ... why did they bring up the word "bland"? It just feels like a cheap shot at McDonald's, and it feels like we were used, to some degree, to deliver it. We cry, "MINOR FOUL!"
What we did like:
  • it was mentioned that The McChronicles is not "slavish in its support". TRUE. We aim to "chronicle the McDonald's experience from the consumers' point of view". We are not a shil for McDonald's, nor are we a self-appointed policing service, nor a hate site. We aim to be honest, fair, and professional at all times.
  • this section was very fair. And well-written:
"Then there is McChronicles, which offers detailed accounts of visits to
branches of McDonalds - recently describing a fly infestation and missing
lavatory doorknob at the Clinton, New York, outlet of the fast-food chain."

All in all, we truly appreciate the mention in the article - an article that presented both good and poor examples of how major companies are affected by their own, and by outside, blogging activities. We really appreciated the extra goodies that appeared at the end. Check them out for links to:

  • Guardian weblog links
  • A handful of online general weblog resources
  • Links to several weblog software reviews

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