Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Nutritional Information: McDonald's Be A Leader

So, the whole nutrition thing was heavy on our mind as we entered a McDonald's this week.

We were thinking about how packaged grocery foods display nutritional info on the package, so we can make informed decisions BEFORE we purchase. Then, we recalled the requests for McDonald's (and all other fast food purveyors) to provide nutritional information on their products' packaging. But some people say that it would be too late to affect a purchasing decision if it was on the burger wrapper, for instance.

And, we also know that people want nutritional information regarding fast food in-store, prior to the purchasing decision. McDonald's already offers that. In fact, in addition to the occasional wall poster we have encountered, we frequently find nutritional info on tray liners.

Well, we walked up to a McDonald's counter and asked for nutritional information (pre-order, in time for a good decision) and wondered what would happen. Within three seconds we had a tray liner laid out in front of us, with a smile. Shockingly fast, easy, and friendly.

So there you have it. McDonald's is doing exactly what people are asking for, and it still isn't good enough (according to some people). Here's a suggestion to rise above the noise, to be a leader, to set the bar to a new height, and to really help the customers.

Put a nutrition kiosk in every store. Hook it up to the internet (or some othe centralized database). Make it a touch-screen device and dedicate it exclusively to nutrition.

This device would allow people to search for nutritional information on every single menu item (similar to the tray liner), but it would do much more. It would also:

  • provide the ability to sort by nutritional criteria, such as sodium, carb, or fat level for examples

  • provide nutritional info on value meal packages

  • provide nutritional info on customized meals

  • recommend the most nutritional meal (after the user defines the key criteria) for meals based on (you pick: chicken, beef, salad, etc.)

  • provide nutrition tips

  • list the full range of condiments, bevergaes, meats, dairy, and produce offered at McDonald's

  • offer tools for health professionals

  • heck, let's even throw in advice from a noted personal trainer and from a famous nutrition MD.

All the data could be managed from one central database back at HQ. The customers would receive info and service, in-store, prior to purchase, in a manner unheard of in the industry. And the industry would have a new level of customer service to point to.

Sound wild? Heck no, many of you already know that The McChronicles is simply describing something that already exists. Most all of this is readily available on the McDonald's website - in the food, nutrition, and wellness section of the USA version.

The question is, why doesn't McDonald's get out in front of this issue? They already do something similar with music videos.

The McChronicles suggests that McDonald's test market this nutrition kisok and see how it goes. We bet it would be highly-valued, and that it would serve as an example to the rest of the industry.

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

Image: McDonald's website screen grab.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Atlanta Airport McDonald's

In October 2005 The McChronicles rattled about within the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International airport, looking for a McDonald's. Problem was, there wasn't one. So we filed a complaint.

Step two: we received a form letter in reply.

Step three: A McDonald's appeared! Coincidence? Definitely.

Anyway, we are glad to see that travellers can now eat at McDonald's while traipsing through the Atlanta airport.

The Atlanta airport McDonald's sits within a food court way out at the end, Terminal E. But don't let that put you off. The terminal shuttle train is fast and efficient. So, no matter which terminal you are arriving or departing from, it is only a few minutes away.

The food court features a handful of dining alternatives as well as a piano. Many times you can catch a real person (in a tuxedo) playing for people as they grab a quick bite between flights.

As you can sort of see in the image, this McDonald's employs a serious McShuffle policy. Customers enter from either side of the counter. Once the order is taken, customers are McShuffled into the center area. While there, you wait until your order number is called. Your order number appears on your receipt. This technique is used at many high volume McDonald's. If the order takes too long, customers end up feeling like they are living on The Island of Misfit Toys while they wait.

The food court is well-lit, bright, and clean. There are many places to sit, and napkins, etc. are readily available.

This McDonald's was opened this past Spring. We noted it during a trip through the airport, but absent-mindedly deleted the photo we took. So, we waited until we grabbed this image before updating.

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

Saturday, March 10, 2007

McDonald's PlayPlace Delivers Value

The McChronicles recently received a message that contained this intriguing observation:
"We lived in New York City for four years with our young kids. It's very hard to find places to play in the winter for kids because everyone's apartments are very, very small, and there are great indoor playgrounds, but they cost about $15 per person, so taking one kid is $30 (yes, you have to pay for parents).
There's a great indoor playground at the 92nd St. Y (surely the most upscale Y in the country -- more competitive to get into preschool there than to get into Harvard for college. Really.) Okay. So, anyway, the indoor playground is great.

We just moved to Madison, WI. And since people don't have nearly the amount of money in Madison as in NYC, there are not nearly the amenities. One thing that has shocked us, though, is that McDonald's has basically the same playground that the 92nd St Y does but in Madison it's free. When we tell our NYC friends that we hang out at McDonald's all the time, they think we've lost our minds."
We have often mused on the total value package that a McDonald's brings to a community - we think it is pretty high, and frequently undervalued. Do you have any observations on this topic? If so, please comment.

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

Friday, March 09, 2007

McChronicles Included in AP Blogging Article

The AP's Stephanie Hoo (business writer) contacted The McChronicles and requested an interview. Flattered, we accepted.

Stephanie had a tight deadline, so we got right down to business. She seems to be a no-nonsense, quick talking person who is working both hard and in a hurry. She asked a series of rapid-fire questions and sounded like she was multitasking. There was a feeling of professionalism during the telephone interview.

We covered a wide variety of topics and, in the end, we were included in her article, albeit barely. Hey, we got a paragraph - not bad. We are truly thankful for the consideration and inclusion.

Please check out the AP's McChronicles Interview results. Then, let us know what you think.

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

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The McChronicles: GRILLED

A Hamburger Today recently spoke with The McChronicles for their GRILLED interview series.

The McChronicles has enjoyed AHT, and has followed their work studiously. And why not? Adam Kuban is an accomplished professional writer and an avid food blogger. We've learned a lot from him.

The interview is not embellished and altered like so many other experiences we've had with the media. It appears true to the actual experience. What a refreshing treat.

It truly is an honor to be included in Adam's work. Enjoy as The McChronicles is GRILLED.

Please do let us know your opinion of the interview.

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

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Seasonal McDonald's

Old Forge, NY is the home of an unusual McDonald's. "Why?" you ask. "Design? Service? Menu?"

No, no, and no. It is unusual because it is open seasonally. We hear that it could be due to the fact that the resort community shrinks in the winter, or even that they can't find help at that time of the year.

We posted on the Old Forge McDonald's previously, but now we are able to offer up two distinctly different images of the same store. As you can see, this place is socked in until the next Spring thaw.

Do you know of any other seasonal McDonald's? If so, let us know.

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


According to a recent report at MSNBC.com:

Starbucks may be the world’s largest coffee shop chain in the world, but what they serve isn’t as good as what McDonald’s brews, Consumer Reports says.

In the March issue, the magazine called the fast food giant’s Premium Roast “cheapest and best.” The coffee also beat out new offerings from Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts.

What's your opinion of McDonald's coffee?

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

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pay By Phone

From mediabuyerplanner:

Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo is teaming up with McDonald's to offer electronic payments and special promotions for mobile users, reports BBC News (via MarketingVox).

The deal could also provide invaluable information about customer behavior, Jupiter Research's Julie Ask said.

"It gives both McDonald's and DoCoMo the opportunity to track consumers and their eating habits. Cash is more likely to be used in small transactions. Electronic payments will allow user behaviour to be tracked and used for marketing purposes," Ask said in her blog.

McDonald's is just another retailer that is offering mobile phone payment in Japan. DoCoMo has set up service which allows around 3 million customers to use their handsets as credit cards.


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

Image: ufl website.