Friday, September 26, 2008

Will McDonald's Adopt Coca Cola's "Beverage Dispeners of the Future"?

Coca Cola has introduced what some are calling the "beverage dispenser of the future".

According to an article on

“We believe this will do for beverages what mp3 did for music,” says Ray Crockett, director of communications for Coca-Cola North America.

"Customers can choose their beverages—among more than 100 varieties—via a touch screen located on the front of the machine"

"Second-generation versions of the dispensers will begin testing in the first half of 2009"

Wow! Imagine choosing from a selection of over 100 beverages! No more need to mix Coke & orange.

Will we see these in McDonald's soon? It sure sounds like it. If you spot one in action, check it out and report to us via COMMENT. Thanks!

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

Monday, September 15, 2008

McDonald's Gold Card (Revisited)

The McChronicles has mused about the McDonald's Gold Card previously. At the time it was called The McDonald's McGold Card. A recent comment on the posting has us reopening the topic.

The McChronicles has to admit that we are intrigued by this item, and that we have no personal experience with it. So, we did what any responsible netizen would do and Googled McDonald's Gold Card. We were quickly delivered to the McD Gold Card home page - there is a complete program!

We attempted to register, only to find that, "Only McDonald's employees are authorized to use this site. " So, it is an employee-only thing.

Apparently the card is a way to help employees get discounts at various retail stores. One page that you CAN access on the site offers a depiction of how the card can save the user over $500. According to the example, the McDonald's Gold Card can be used at places like: Apple, Foot Locker, Jiffy Lube, LensCrafters, T-Mobile, and more.

This seems great for the employees.

The McChronicles wonders if McDonald's has ever considered offering an affinity, discount, membership card for customers to use. We think that this could be kind of cool, if done properly. What do you think?

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

Monday, September 08, 2008

Taipei's Yong An Market Metro Station McDonald's

Taipei has a pretty good Metro (subway) system. Most times, when you get off a train, there is a McDonald's nearby. The Yong An Metro Station is the perfect example. As you emerge, the McDonald's is right across the street - perfect.

This store is a four-story facility with steep, daunting stairs. The McChronicles expected the top level to be pretty empty (assuming that few would dare to tackle all three sets of stairs). Wrong. Every floor was filled to near capacity.

During our visit, the energy was subdued on all levels. There is little of note to report on this particular store. It covered all the bases fairly well (good order area, good service, etc.) but it could stand to be a bit cleaner.

The McChronicles (sadly) noted the presence of the dreaded straw dispenser. We have railed against this germ bomb in many postings and will take this opportunity to encourage the elimination of this feature again. It is totally disgusting to watch kids touch whatever, then play with the straw dispenser. Yuk!

The McChronicles really enjoys these city McDonald's that offer bird's eye views of the streetscape.

PS: We have noted these cool "i'm lovin' it" uniform shirts and hats throughout the Taipei area.

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

Taiwan's Chung Ho City (Sheng Nan Rd.) McDonald's

The McChronicles dropped in to Taiwan's Chung Ho City (near Taipei) and headed for Sheng Nan Road. That's where this McDonald's is located.

This store is interesting since it combines several funky features all into one restaurant. First, it is a McCafe and a regular store all in one. Next, instead of a drive-thru it offers a walk-up. But it's not an ordinary walk-up, it's sort of a "scooter-up" (you don't actually drive thru in your scooter, you drive up , get off, order, then drive off or eat on the sidewalk). It's a big, urban-type store (small ground floor presence with a multi-(3)story dining area). Add it all up and the experience is pretty cool. Interestingly, this store offers no deivery and no bottled water.

The first-floor order area feels very small and tight. No problem when the crowd is small (it could be a mess if a ton of people show up). The stairs are steep as they lead to the second and third floors. Since the building occupies a corner space there are windows (and tons of natural light) everywhere. This, and the Taipei suburb's teeming masses, make for some extremely interesting people watching while dining.

It's a relief to ascend to the dining area and relax since the street is throbbing with energy. Cars, trucks, scooters, people, smells, sounds, and more add up to almost numb the senses. Behind the glass, and one or more stories above the fray, is a bit of solitude, providing time to unwind and relax - even if it just for a few minutes.

If you're in the neighborhood and in need of a break - consider this option.

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

Friday, September 05, 2008

McDonald's Girl Delivers

It may be news to some (not to regular readers of The McChronicles) that McDonald's delivers. Maybe not in your town, but there are places in this world where your meal can be brought right to your home, office, party, event, or ... ?

We've explored the concept of McDelivery before. But, today, while sitting in a Shanghai, China McDonald's, after observing several delivery people returning to the roost, grabbing their next order, and heading out into the streets, it hit us. Who are these people? Why do they do it? What's it like McDelivering? Sadly, we didn't get to ask the questions, yet.

The McChronicles did build up a healthy dose of curiosity and interest. We also snapped these shots of "McDonald's Girl" as she prepared to battle the dangerous streets of Shanghai. 

As she disappeared into the drizzling summer haze we found ourselves saying out loud, "Go, McDonald's girl, go."

We'll try for an interview and report back if we get one.

Comment if you've got a cool McDelivery or McDonald's Girl story.

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

McDonald's Changning Road, Shanghai, China

The McDonald's on Shanghai's Changning Road (corner with Dingxi Lu) is interesting to the McChronicles.

Is it huge? No.
Beautiful? No.
Super clean? No
Does it provide awesome service? No.

So, what is it that piques our interest? Surprisingly, it is the total
"averageness" (if there is such a word).

The Changning Road store is a place that hosts international business travelers, tourists, school children, families, and even the occasional gaggle of retired women (the EXACT group that people say will reject McDonald's in China).

Walk in the door and the counter is right in your face. Quick looks right and left reveal the first-floor dining areas. The stairs to the 2nd-floor dining area and rest rooms is immediately to your left.

The seating is typical, the counter area is typical, the floor is the same faux-wood ceramic that is experienced so often worldwide.

This store can get busy, and it can be slow. The McChronicles dropped in at
11:30AM, dodging the noon rush by a bit, and experiencing a crew that had a little breathing room.
We were greeted with smiles, a routine welcome, and proactive help as our meal was selected. We were "processed" as if there were 100 people in line behind us (told to move to the side and wait for our order - The McShuffle), even though we were the only customer - habit we guess.

We chose to sit beside a table of four retired women to see how they enjoyed their McDonald's experience. They seemed to have one mode: everyone talk and laugh at the same time!

OK, so this McDonald's is "average". We had expectations, they were met, we received what we wanted - and it was good. Sometimes it's not so bad being average.

For those interested in McDonald's prices in China, The McChronicles paid 5.5 Chinese RMB (renminbe: the peoples' money) for a hamburger and RMB4.0 for bottled water. Today 1 US dollar is approximately equal to 6.8 RMB.

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

Monday, September 01, 2008

Suzhou China's Wei Ting McDonald's

McDonald's rolled into China years ago by landing in the big cities. Eventually, McDonald's was known to exist only in large urban centers. Sensible after all since this is where the people are and the money is.

Fast-forward to today, where we now encounter McDonald's OUTSIDE of major cities. The McChronicles just visited one such restaurant in the townwhip of Wei Ting, outside of Suzhou, in China. Located in the Qing Jian Hu Commercial Plaza, this store caters primarily to people on the go, in cars, on business, or on their way to somewhere else.

Managed by HU Xin Kun, this McDonald's is simply excellent. The exterior is neat and inviting. It has great curb appeal and can be seen easily from the road. Once inside it hits you, this place is really clean (critical for weary travelers and those looking for a relaxing place to grab a quick bite to eat). The atmosphere is quite different from city McDonald's as it is notably quieter and more relaxed. Even the crew have a more dignified demeanor (when compared to the harried city McDonald's staff).

The McChronicles asked some business people who were lunching here to describe this McDonald's and to compare it to other types of McDonald's found in China. The customers quickly categorized this store as "more for business people", "more professional", and "quieter".

This store offers up a spartan, crisp ambiance, complete with tons of windows, natural light, and great views of the area. The seating is ecclectic with benches, stools, chairs, private areas, open tables, and more. You can even surf the internet or check your emails on the three cyber-stations provided free of charge.

The McChronicles shuddered at the sight of the ultra-old-style straw dispenser/germ spreader that is found frequently in China McDonald's. A repeat request: McDonald's, please ban these (for motivation, sit down and watch the straw-dispensing action when a bunch of children show up for a Saturday lunch party).

The Wei Ting McDonald's is a real gem, and highly recommended by The McChronicles. Do check it out.

The McChronicles: a blog about, npot affiliated with, McDonald's.
Images: The McChronicles.

McDonald's Drive-Thru: First-Time Experience in China

Remember your very FIRST McDonald's drive-thru moment? Of course you don't ... that is unless it just happened. This exact experience is occurring for thousands of people every day in China.

As reported by The McChronicles
, McDonald’s has been opening drive-thrus in China as the population moves up to car ownership.

The McChronicles was fortunate to accompany a college-educated, business professional on her very first drive-thru (McDonald's or otherwise) experience today. We noticed that, as we were leaving a McDonald's dine-in lunch, our friend, let's call her "Daisy", expressed some confusion as to just what the strange driveway was doing in the parking lot. As the "drive-thru" concept was explained it became clear that the idea was totally unknown to her. The more it was explained, the more confused Daisy became. So, we wheeled the vehicle around and drove thru.

Coming from the perspective where this moment is beyond taken for granted, it was exhilarating to "experience" it for the first time through Daisy's eyes.

When we dropped Daisy back at her office and described the experience to her colleagues, most were totally unfamiliar with the concept. More work to do!

PS: It was a thrill and an honor to capture Daisy's first-ever McDonald's drive-thru experience. The McChronicles considers this a very special once-in-a lifetime moment.

PPS: Daisy's first-ever drive-thru order? Orange juice.

Please comment and share YOUR first McDonald's drive-thru experience.

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