Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Prince Charles Has A BEEF With McDonald's

The Prince of Wales has reminded us all of just how out of touch he is with the real world.

According to a report in The TimesOnline, Prince Charles asked a nutritionist from the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre :
“Have you got anywhere with McDonald’s? Have you tried getting it banned? That’s the key.”

The article also reported that a Clarence House spokesman, travelling with the Prince and Duchess on their ten-day tour of the Gulf, attempted to mop up the gaffe by saying:

“The Prince of Wales has for a long time advocated the importance of a balanced diet, especially for children. In visiting the diabetes centre today, he was keen to emphasise the need for children to enjoy the widest variety of food and not to eat any particular sort of food to excess.”
Yes, we're sure that's EXACTLY what he meant.

McDonald's said the statement was "disappointing”, then commented that other royal heirs enjoy the occasional visit to their restaurant, saying, they, “have probably got a more up-to-date picture of us.”

The Australian reports
(tomorrow, due to time zone differences ... cool!) that:
"Although he has not previously attacked McDonald's by name, the prince has had a series of standoffs with the burger giant, most of which he has lost."
Even more interesting is what is reported in the Daily They inform us that Prince Charles:
"immediately laid himself open to charges of hypocrisy after it was pointed out that the company's signature Big Mac contains fewer calories, fats and salt than some products in his own organic Duchy Originals food range."
The McChronicles: a blog about, not affilioated with, McDonald's.
Image: wikimedia

McDonald's Going Green

We're not talking about Shamrock Shakes here. We're talking "green", as in eco-friendly.

QSR Online reports that McDonald's has built a store that utilizes some of the latest in environmentally-conscious design. According to the report:

The standalone McDonald’s and a nearby Panera’s outlet are part of one of the nation’s first green-certified shopping centers, Savannah’s Abercorn Common, an environmentally friendly development where stormwater seeps through porous pavement into soil, rooftops reflect heat to keep things cool inside, and the sun serves as primary lighting most days.

In addition to numerous energy-saving and production enhancing features, the building sports a green roof. The McChronicles would love to experience this intriguing store.

The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Image: QSR Online.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Awesome Filet-O-Fish

We could tell, from the very minute we entered the New Hartford, NY McDonald's, that today's visit was going to be a winner.

First impression: the store was clean. Even the condiment station was immaculate. That always makes us feel good.

Next, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich. Yes, that marvelous creation that rises to the top of the charts during the Lenten season.

The McChronicles enjoyed the annual rehashing of the Filet-O-Fish sandwich history (in the media every Lent) by reading a fun article by Gannett's Paul Clark. Do click over - the article includes some cool images and facts. Here are but a few cool facts:

  • The Filet-O-Fish was created by a McDonald's store owner, Lou Groen, to stem the losses caused by his predominantly Catholic clientelle heading to a fish restaurnt every Friday.

  • Lou opened his first McDonald's in 1959.

  • Lou was a homeless teenager during the great depression.

  • Lou liquidated in 1986, he owned 43 McDonald's at the time.

  • 23% of all Filet-O-Fish sandwiches are purchased during the Lenten season.

OK, back to the sandwich. After reading the article we were in the mood. The order was placed (sans frommage) and then it happened. The McChronicles was delighted by the BEST Filet-O-Fish sandwiches ever tasted! Both sandwiches were prepared to perfection - EVERYTHING was done right. Kudos to the crew that prepared them.

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

Images: The McChronicles.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

McDonald's: PLEASE Do Something About This

One of The McChronicles' pet peeves is when a restaurant, ANY restaurant, uses odiferous, industrial-smelling cleaning chemicals in the dining area. This is true for ANY restaurant.

We have suffered through countless table-top cleanups where the staff atomizes a chlorine-based spray onto the table and into the air. This seems to be required between customers at some places. And it really affects the customers' sense of taste, smell, and satisfaction.

We're all for hygiene and sanitary conditions, but something has to be done to protect the diner's experience.

Case in point. Over the weekend The McChronicles hosted a tasting at the North Utica, NY McDonald's. This restaurant, right on Utica's main drag, Genesee Street, and near the NYS Thruway (exit 31), is kind of cool as it is built in the retro style (complete with Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, juke boxes, and even a hot rod in the summer).

What wasn't cool was the fact that, right in the middle of our otherwise awesome lunch, a crew broke out a mop bucket and began swabbing the decks with the most pungent fluid we have ever experienced. Unfortunately, this diligent young man was not simply touching up a mere spill. No, he had his sights set on a total washing. The mop water simply reeked of who knows what. Everyone in our group was unable to continue eating. Note, in the picture, the woman across from us had to cover her nose while reading her paper.

Everyone wants things to be clean. But is there a way to keep the mop water from smelling incredibly disgusting?

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

Custom Creation Starting With a Big n' Tasty

After getting psyched by Adam Kuban's McNugget-enhanced Cheeseburger, The McChronicles set out to see what an infusion of McNugget would do to a Big n' Tasty.

You might ask, "Why begin with the BnT instead of the Cheeseburger, as Adam did?"

Good question. See, The McChronicles enjoys the sesame seed bun, the lettuce, and the larger chopped onions. It was felt that the greater contrast in textures and flavors might make this idea more interesting.

So, how did we like it? Well ... it wasn't that great. While it was fun thinking about it, the taste was
kind of blah. We could detect every element, but the overall result was kind of boring.

Better luck next time. Any recommendations from you?

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Custom Connoisseur Creation

The McChronicles recently posted about Custom CREW Creations. You know, the concoctions that inspired insiders make when they are working at McDonald's. We figured these people have the inside scoop on popular custom combos, ingredients, and the all-important permission to mess around.

We overlooked one of the world's most creative fast food lovers - the man behind SLICE and A HAMBURGER TODAY. . . Mr. Adam Kuban. Adam is a well-known food blogger and writer.

Adam recently posted a crazy image on Flickr (shown here) that really got The McChronicles crazy. The image is of a creation he calls a McNugget-Enhanced Cheeseburger.

Adam says he ordered the elements and hand-crafted this beauty (versus ordering it and having the McDonald's crew assemble it).

Well, we asked McDonald's crew to tell us some of THEIR favorite off-menu creations. And we reported on The Most Illest, Futuristic Sandwich Ever. Let's open up the lines to customers. Are you like Adam, as creative as can be? If so, what do you put together?

The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Image: McNugget-Enhanced Cheeseburger, from SLICE.

QSR Magazine Drive-Thru Study

  • 40% of Americans use a fast-food drive thru weekly??!??!? Wow!
  • McDonald's is experimenting with tandem Drive-Thru lanes to speed service. Cool!

The 2006 QSR Magazine Drive-Thru Study has just been released. They probed for answers to these questions:
  • What do customers value most?
  • How is the industry responding?
In this quick and interesting online slide show we learned that McDonald's ranks very high (in top 5) when it comes to Drive-Thru speed of service. And much more.

Check out the interesting slide show report that The McChronicles found on QSR Magazine's website

The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Image: QSR Magazine Screen Grab.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Custom Crew Creations

Interesting comments on a recent McDonald's Snack Wrap posting got The McChronicles wondering... Since McDonald's crew have access to all the ingredients, have training on how to make everything, and get to see the cool customer creations that are ordered, what are some of the custom CREW creations?

Hey crew! Since you are the most knowledgeable, and have the opportunities, share some of your favorite custom recipes with The McChronicles.

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

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

On The Go Packaging

According to a November 2006 posting on QSR Magazine Online:

In the Middle East, McDonald's serves a regional version of its chicken wrap. The McArabia features not only a flavored flatbread holder, but also the type of on-the-go packaging more quick-serves should be employing. It is possible to eat the flatbread sandwich without spilling, even when writing and dining.

The McChronicles is pretty sure they are talking about the same packaging that we enjoy when we consume the succulent FANtastic sandwich. And it sounds like what we see in the cool McShawarama ad. If so, we say - cool!

Harken back to the day The McChronicles invented the McPamper. Born of necessity, the McPamper was our way of minimizing the collateral damage done when trying to consume a Big Mac. Why did we invent this? Because many sandwiches are messy! That good and gooey sauce/condiment/juice has to go somewhere - and it usually manages to land on our clothes.

An alternative answer is because the existing packaging is inadequate for our needs. So, now we know that McDonald's knows the issue, and that they can do somethng about it.

We imagine that this packaging is a lot more expensive (both money- and time-wise) for McDonald's. And, admittedly, it may be a bit of overkill for some sandwiches. But ... watch what happens when you initiate a candid discussion (amongst people who are comfortable being honest) about eating a Big Mac. It always seems to go to the mess.

With increasing numbers of McDonald's customers using the drive thru, this packaging could be a real point if differentiation when a dining decision is considered. According to a 2006 article in
Drive-thru sales account for more than 60 percent of the overall revenue and more than 80 percent of the lunch revenue at a typical McDonald’s.

Think of the averted dry cleaning bills! Maybe this packaging should pop up everywhere the Big Mac is sold.

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

Snack Wrap Update

The McChronicles loves the McDonald's Snack Wrap. In fact we posted on it not once, but twice. Now here's an update.

According to a report on this week's QSR Magazine Online:

McDonald's today introduced a new snacking options for customer (sic), the new Honey Mustard Snack Wrap. In addition to the new flavor, McDonald's portable wraps are now available in both grilled and crispy choices.

The new Honey Mustard Snack Wrap, made with either grilled or crispy, chicken breast meat, cheddar jack cheese, crisp lettuce and a sweet and tangy Honey Mustard sauce, wrapped inside a soft flour tortilla, will be offered for a promotional period at $1.29 at participating McDonald's restaurants nationwide.

That makes for several options. Sounds good!

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

Thursday, February 01, 2007

McDonald's Super Bowl Ad?

What does the 2007 Super Bowl have in store for us? The McChronicles doesn't know.

But we do know that, according to MSNBC, the 6th-best EVER Super Bowl ad was from McDonald's. Their review of the legendary, previously-posted-on-The-McChronicles Super Bowl 27 spot goes like this:

#6. McDonald’s “The Showdown” (1993): Michael Jordan and Larry Bird engage in a physics-defying hoops-shooting contest for a Big Mac and fries.

What worked: Every basketball fan knows that Bird would win this contest 10 out of 10 times, but it was still a clever idea with a catchphrase that continues to pop up in “Horse” games. (“Over the second rafter, off the floor … nothing but net.”)

The results: This commercial seems to have blessed everyone involved. Jordan won three more championships and Bird transitioned into a solid career as a coach. And while salads and chicken products have been killing off the rest of the menu, the cholesterol-heavy Big Mac value meal remains an untouchable fast-food staple.

Honestly, we're still hankerin' to see Ronald bust the Burger King. Let's REEBOK BK! It would be so sweet.

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

Video: YouTube.