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.


Andy said...

I'm about to embark on a McDonald's diet for a week or so. Honestly, I think McDonald's does more than enough to provide nutritional information online and in their restaurants. But I agree with you that there's no reason for them not to do more.


Anonymous said...

I am a frequent McDonalds customer, all over and recently became employed by one even. Every McDonalds i have been in within the last year at least, has had complete nutrition packets avaliable. They arent always the MOST obvious, but they aren't hidden either. I think people should leave McDonalds alone already, we dont require dine in resturants to provide their nutrition info but we do McDonalds? why?

McChronicles said...

The McChronicles couldn't agree with you more. If the accusations are fair and proper, then they should be leveled at ALL food purveyors.

By the way, we can buy Hostess Twinkies at grocery stores, so that means that THEY are bad, right?

Stop singling McDonald's out and be fair!

McChronicles said...

Right on! You nailed it.

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