Wednesday, August 22, 2007

McDonald's Angus Third Pounder

Well, the name certainly doesn't roll off the tongue, now does it? But the concept is intriguing. The McChronicles just read this on the QSR Magazine website:

"McDonald's customers have shown strong support for the new Angus Third Pounders that debuted in Southern California last March. Positive customer feedback has prompted McDonald's marketing co-ops in New York and Central Ohio to introduce the newest line of hamburgers to its customers. "

"Angus Third Pounders are made with 100-percent USDA-inspected Angus Beef, with red onions, sauteed mushrooms, iceberg lettuce and sliced red tomatoes, served on a bakery-style sesame seed roll. The hamburgers come in three varieties: Angus Deluxe, Angus Mushroom and Swiss, and Angus Bacon and Cheese, for a suggested retail price of $3.99 each."

If you have had any experience with this new product, comment and share your thoughts.

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

McDonald's Moon Man Rises (again)

McDonald's Moon Man spearheaded the company's "Mac Tonight" promtional campaign years ago in the USA when they were introducing the concept of late- and all-night McDonald's service.

Fast forward to today, and to China, where Moon Man has been called up for more duty.

There are ads on TV, on the video screens in-store, on the doors, and even on flyers. Here's one such flyer that depicts 30 of the many stores here in Shanhgai that offer 24-hour service. This makes tons of sense as this city seems to never sleep.

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

McDonald's Personalized Word of Mouth Project

According to information The McChronicles recently received from the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association:

McDonald's is currently working with Oddcast to create an avatar-based viral email campaign. At, users enter basic information about a friend or co-worker who they want to tell about the Chipotle BBQ snack wrap.

This generates an email, which leads recipients to a personalized,
snack-wrap-evangelizing avatar that knows just a little too much about them.
According to Oddcast, people who receive emails from friends are 60-65% more
likely to open them and are 30-35% more likely to pass the email along to yet
another person, making this effort one that is full of viral potential.Learn

Sounds like fun. The McChronicles just fired off a customized message to a buddy in Singapore. Can't wait for the reaction. We plan to try it out on a few other unsuspecting friends and see what happens. Let us know about your experience with this.

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

Sunday, August 19, 2007

McDonald's: In-Store Hygiene

Here is an example of a long-outdated practice that is (sadly) still in effect today in some locations.

The McChronicles dropped into a McDonald's in Shanghai, China yesterday and saw something that it has reported on before. We remain dismayed to see unprotected (no paper wrapper) straws being dispensed from a box.

While waiting for our order, The McChronicles observed customers dispensing bare straws, getting too many, rolling them out onto the counter, putting some back, etc. We pity the next customer in line.

The McChronicles hopes that McDonald's can invest in hygiene and institute wrapped straws throughout China.

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

McDonald's: China Olympics

McDonald's is a proud partner of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. With a year to go until the big event, McDonald's (in China) is really promoting the event.

The McChronicles reports that the Suzhou, China McDonald's is curently sporting an abundance of Olympic rings throughout their restaurant. They're hanging from the ceiling everywhere.

This is in addition to the flat screen video ads of the Olympics that are playing in the store. Interestingly, the McDonald's Olympics ads often depict winter sports, like Ronald ski jumping, freestyle skiing, skating, etc.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More On The Mega Mac

It's true, The McChronicles is a bit dazzled by the McDonald's Mega Mac. So here's a bit more:

  • I like this guy's style (succinct):

  • But this dude takes things too far (Go Matt!):

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

Mexican Commentary on US McDonald's

Typically it is The McChronicles visiting various locales, commenting on this and that, but today the tables were turned. The McChronicles hosted a lunch in Upstate New York with two visitors from Mexico.

As the food was enjoyed, and as we watched people coming and going, we had time for a quick interview. Interestingly, one visitor frequents McDonald's almost weekly (he has a young son) while the other visits about twice per year (shocking!).

  • store #996
  • North Utica, New York, USA
  • theme: '50s rock 'n roll
  • lunch
The McChronicles: Have you ever experienced a "theme" McDonald's before?
2/year: No. In Mexico they are all the same.

The McChronicles: Please explain why you visit McDonald's so infrequently.
2/year: I prefer a local fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken sandwiches.

The McChronicles: Do you know that McDonald's offers several chicken sandwiches?
2/year: I do, but the Mexican restaurant serves very fresh chicken. I also think that McDonald's doesn't offer enough (sandwich) choices.

The McChronicles: What is your opinion of this McDonald's experience?
2/year: This store is untidy and needs to be picked up. It is messy. As for the design, I like their use of colors, the decorations. the theme.
1/week: I'd like to see some Mexican McDonald's adopt local themes. Some good ideas would be the ocean, the forest, Mariachi,
ParĂ­cutin with sandwiches in molcajete packaging. Many people have children's parties in Mexico. These themes would help make the parties more special.

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

Double Filet-O-Fish: Just What Is Up???

As you know, The McChronicles first discovered the double filet-o-fish in Singapore. Then fell in love with it back home. Since then we've been ordering it with abandon.

As reported, the first time we ordered it, the front line person was confused. The manager stepped in, made it look simple, and all was well. After several visits to the same McDonald's, things were going quite smoothly. Until today.

Today The McChronicles ventured crosstown, to store #996 in North Utica New York. This store, as previously reported, is a rockin' old school design. Anyway, the order was placed, the front line person locked up, and a confusing consultation occurred. Ultimately, the word was given to charge for a regular FOF, and add in something else. After the dust settled, The McChronicles was charged for a regular FOF ($2.59) plus a crispy chicken patty ($1.50) for a total of $4.09. This contrasts with the $3.59 we are charged in New Hartford, NY (where they have a cash register button for the sandwich).

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chinese Toy Recall

One big global story is the massive recall of lead paint-tainted toys from China. According to Ian Williams (on NBC Nightly News, tonight) 80% of the world's toys are made in China. Mattel, alone, is recalling over 10,000,000 toys.

McDonald's sources toys from China. In a recent Wall Street Journal article we heard this about McDonald's:

McDonald's Corp., one of the world's largest toy buyers, says the problem of lead paint is so widespread in China that the company has developed a system to monitor paint all the way through the supply chain back to the paint suppliers. The company requires its Chinese toy makers to agree to use only those suppliers.

"We never go on the open market, so we know exactly who we're dealing with," said Walt Riker, vice president of corporate communications.

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

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The McChronicles: Interviewed By The Orange County Register

As previously posted, the OC Register has an excellent fast food blog. "The Fast Food Maven" is written by Nancy Luna - and it covers all aspects the the industry in Orange County, California.

Nancy interviewed The McChronicles and her report was released today.

Read the OC Register interview with The McChronicles

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

Image: Fast Food Maven website.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

McDonald's CHAMPION KIDS Program

From PR Newswire:

McDonald's will launch its newest Olympic Games program, McDonald's Champion Kids, on Aug. 9, 2007 in Beijing.

The program will enable up to 300 kids from around the world to travel to the 2008 Olympic Games to share their stories and experiences with their local communities and hometown news outlets. Through this once-in-a-lifetime journey, the children will have the chance to see the Games, meet Olympic athletes, visit cultural sights, and interact with kids from across the globe.

The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Image: PR Newswire website (press release).

McDonald's vs. McDonald's: Winner? McDonald's!

According to a story in this week's QSR Magazine:
"Kids don't just ask for food from McDonald's," said Thomas Robinson, MD, director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Packard Children's and associate professor of pediatrics and of medicine at the School of Medicine. "They actually believe that the chicken nugget they think is from McDonald's tastes better than an identical, unbranded nugget."


... researchers studied the taste preferences of 63 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who were enrolled in six Head Start centers in San Mateo County, Calif. The children sampled five foods: chicken nuggets, a hamburger, french fries, baby carrots and milk. The chicken nuggets, hamburger and french fries were all from McDonald's; the carrots and milk were purchased from a grocery store. Robinson and his colleagues chose to specifically study McDonald's because the company is the largest fast-food advertiser in the United States and most study subjects would likely be familiar with the brand.

Each food sample was divided into two identical portions, one wrapped in a McDonald's wrapper or placed in a McDonald's bag, and the other in similar wrapping without the McDonald's logo. The children were randomly asked to taste first one and then the other of the five identical, differently packaged, pairs of food samples and indicate whether they tasted the same or which they thought tasted better. With four out of the five foods — chicken nuggets, fries, carrots and milk — significantly more children pegged the McDonald's product as tastier, despite the fact that the foods were exactly the same.

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

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fast Food Maven

The Orange County (California) Register has a really cool feature online. It is a blog about fast food, fast food culture, and fast food trends. It is called FAST FOOD MAVEN and it is written by Nancy Luna.

We were e-introduced by a mutual friend (Jan-Willem, the prolific fast food blogger over at Fast Food Weblog - highly recommended) - THANKS, JW.

The McChronicles recently interviewed Nancy and this is how it went:

Q: How long have you been a fast food aficionado?
Maven: From the first moment I got my hands on a Taco Bell Taco Supreme in my teen years. Boy, I just loved the sour cream in those things. These days, I've definitely upgraded my tastes. I go for Fresh-Mex whenever I can.

Q: What is your first fast food memory?
Maven: Not sure if this is a "first" memory. But, this one has stuck with me forever. I remember hurling profusely after eating a 99-cent Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Jack in the Box -- forcing me to swear off that chain for years. I later asked my friend, Brian, a former Jack in the Box cook: "What happened to me?" He replied: "Nance, it was the mayo."

Q: What comments do you dread most when people become aware that you are a FAST FOOD MAVEN?
Maven: Aren't you worried you're going to get fat? (That's mostly from women, though.)

Q: "Maven" is a Yiddish term. Is there Jewish fast food?
Maven: Sorry. This Hispanic gal from sunny Southern California is unaware of most Yiddish lexicon. Interesting, though. I picked the "Maven" because I want people to know that I'm a trusted expert on this topic.

Q: As a FAST FOODIE, where do you fit in the OC Register pecking order?
Maven: I love fast food because it's convenient. And, it's not as bad to eat as some might think. My 7-year-old daughter loves Del Taco bean and cheese burritos, and McDonald's Happy Meals. I have no problem giving her those in moderation.

I love getting a load of El Pollo Loco chicken at the drive through that will feed my family over the course of three days.

Fast food is unavoidable in our fast paced world. I get paid to cover the industry. How sweet is that?

Q: You go to restaurant conferences. Is that purely for your blogging or do you have another connection?
Maven: I hit conferences because it helps me meet sources on my beat. I cover the Southern California food industry, which includes writing about fast food, as well as sit-down restaurants, food manufacturing and grocery stores.

Q: Any plans to expand your blog's scope beyond the OC?
Maven: Of course.

Southern California is the birthplace of America’s most enterprising
industry: Fast food. Yet, fast food -- culture, news, trends -- goes
beyond this region. Obviously I have to cover my bases here in Southern
California. That's my job. But don't be surprised if you see me writing
about Five Guys when I go to Virginia next month. (FYI: I'm told this
burger joint rivals my Irvine-based In-N-Out Burger. So bring it on.)

McChronicles note: Our In-N-Out Burger t-shirt is one of our most prized possessions - and a reminder of an awesome fast food road trip on the US west coast.
I hope to engage people in conversation about trends. Just because I write about Angus burgers coming to McDonald's in Orange and Los Angeles counties, doesn't mean someone from Upstate New York wouldn't be interested in that. It could mean, one day, you get Angus burgers, right?

Q: Any advice for The McChronicles?
Maven: I love it. Keep up the good hustle. And, keep McDonald's on its toes.
The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Image: Fast Food Maven blog.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Double Filet-O-Fish TESTED

The McChronicles recently posted on something intriguing going down in Singapore, the DOUBLE FILET-O-FISH. Turns out it isn't all that unusual.

Today we walked into our home McDonald's, flashed them a live view of The McChronicles website on our Treo and asked them if they could whip us up a DFOF. The register person had to ask, but the manager glanced at the image, smiled, and said, "Double filet-o-fish. Sure!" They even have a button for it on the register. It was simple.

One minute, and $5 later (also ordered a small Coke - the sandwich was $3.59) came the big test. The expectation was that it would have an imbalanced taste (too much fish). Wrong! To our taste, this sandwich was surprisingly fantastic. You can bet that The McChronicles will be ordering another double filet-o-fish in the near future.

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