Friday, December 18, 2009

McDonald's Bottle Deposit

The McChronicles was perusing a McDonald's receipt while enjoying the new Mac Snack Wrap this week. In the process, we noticed we had paid a 5-cent deposit on our water bottle.

OK - that had slipped by us. We wondered WHEN it was instituted, how we had missed it, etc.

Then, when we were leaving, we wondered what to do with the bottle.

Habit had us simply dropping it into the trash. But, we knew that was the wrong maneuver (sidenote: our community has a very strong recycling program that sorts the stream in a recycling center). We didn't want to be throwing away money.

So, where to put the bottle? A quick scan revealed that there was no redemption center in the McDonald's. So, the only option was to bring the bottle home and put it in our redemption bin (to be brought to a redemption center at a later date).

We wondered how many people actually know they have paid a deposit, and how many people will overcome their habit of tossing the bottle into the trash, and how many people will eventually get the bottle where it belongs.

We mused that it would be very convenient if the McDonald's had an automated redemption machine (like the machines found at WalMart and other places) where we could deposit the bottle and collect a receipt for our 5 cents.

Of course, that creates headaches for the store - they don't exactly have tons of extra space available, nor were they designed for this.

Ultimately, we wonder if bottled water should even be offered. The McChronicles gets it when it comes to bottled water (we "get it" that it's not a clear and simple issue). Bottled water is convenient, trustworthy, portable, and safe (minimized spillage). We also know that tap water is a perfectly good alternative, assuming it is handled cleanly. But we wonder if a cup is any better than a bottle when it comes to recyclability, trash, sustainability, etc. There are pluses and minuses for both positions. We "get it" that there is no simple answer.

At a recent McDonald's "McGreen" event, "Water coolers were available as an alternative to bottled water, reducing bottled water consumption by 25 percent," according to a report by Nancy Mann Jackson. Maybe a water cooler-type of service is the answer?

It is extremely clear that McDonald's is one of the world's leading companies with regard to corporate responsibility and sustainability. As a customer, The McChronicles hopes that McDonald's can show us the way to a better place on this important and confusing issue.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

McDonald's Leaves Iceland

"REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - Thousands of Icelanders lined up at McDonald's restaurants to order their last Big Macs before the U.S. fast-food chain abandons the crisis-hit island at midnight Saturday due to soaring costs."

This report is from Reuters and appeared on their website. The site also has a video and a deeper story - in case you want to know more.

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

Monday, October 12, 2009

McDonald's Monopoly Game

It's that time of year again.

Tell us your wildest McDonald's Monopoly game story.

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

La Mesa, California McCafe Has A Minor Issue

McDonald's store #5252 in La Mesa, California had the McCafe retrofit, like most others in the USA. The McChronicles dropped in last week and noticed something slightly amiss - due to the McCafe.

We observed that, after our order was placed, the crew had to take an unusually long walk to get our food. We asked about it and were told that the counter was moved several feet forward during the retrofit, pushing the registers far from the food stations. The crew now has to really hustle to get back and forth.

Otherwise, the store is clean and the crew are quite warm and friendly. The store is in a great location (near a main road, within a shopping mall), easy to see and to get to/from, and offering ample parking.

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Follow McDonald's on Twitter

Be one of the first to follow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

None Of Us Is As Good As All Of Us

Quoting from a communique The McChronicles received from McDonald's:

There are many rich stories about diversity and inclusion of all cultures in the book None Of Us Is As Good As All Of Us - stories of overcoming challenges, breaking the glass ceiling, shattering cultural perceptions, achieving great success despite hardships. These stories have never been told publically - about McDonald's business or the author herself. The author, Patricia Harris, is an African-American "farm girl" who has risen in the McDonald's organization from a secretary 30 years ago to become the company's Global Chief Diversity Officer today.

We're very proud that McDonald's is donating all profits from this book directly to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), so millions of children around the world and their families will benefit from the sale of this book through RMHC.

None Of Us Is As Good As All Of Us is being sold by all major national booksellers and online. All of its stories are compelling, and showcase McDonald's ongoing commitment to our people, supported by our long-term business plan, The Plan to Win.

If you are interested, the book can be purchased here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

McDonald's Goes Social with Station M

Who has experience with McDonald's new social destination, Station M?

If you do, file a comment here, please.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Mini Mac Experiment: Searching for the Big Mac's little sister

McDonald's Big Mac is a signature sandwich. Wildly successful, and beloved by many, it is truly a classic. That said, The McChronicles has met numerous people who love the Big Mac but wish for something a little ... less.

So, with the goal of maintaining the Big Mac taste and quality experience, and with reducing the calories, volume, and messiness (face it, the sandwich is not the neatest - something The McChronicles has posted about previously), The McChronicles set out to construct The Mini Mac.

We typed up our ingredients and went to our "home" McDonald's, in New Hartford, NY for a custom creation. The crew handled the request quickly and accurately - barely blinking an eye. We asked for (in Big Mac style):
  • 2 hamburger patties

  • hamburger bun (using an extra bottom as the middle bread)

  • 1 cheeseburger cheese slice

  • Big Mac sauce

  • lettuce

  • pickles

  • onion

  • salt

  • pepper

The McChronicles requested to pay for the sandwiches as if they were regular Big Macs.

We eagerly opened the boxes, first exposing a Mini Mac, pictured on the left (we ordered two). We were a little surprised at how big it looked - we were expecting, and hoping for, something smaller. Next, we popped open the regular Big Mac, pictured on the right (we ordered one). We were again surprised, this time at how much larger the Big Mac was. OK, so the Mini Mac was smaller ... but, we were disappointed that it wasn't as small as we were hoping for.

Next, we ate the sandwiches. The Mini Mac was no neater than the Big Mac.

Bottom line:

No matter how large or small, the Big Mac tastes EXCELLENT!

However, we did not succeed in creating a version that satisfied our desire for notably smaller, less volume, fewer calories, and neater.

Do you have any ideas?

Monday, August 17, 2009


It had to happen - and it has. Someone bought TWO Angus Third Pounders and assembled a custom creation. Something The McChronicles calls the Frangus (Frankenstein + Angus).

Inspired by last week's Angus Third Pounder Test Experience, a friend of The McChronicles came back at it this week, went to McDonald's, ordered up TWO sandwiches, then built his creation.
Frangus creator, Jim, said it was his version of the perfect Angus burger. After assembling it, he ate it all, and was able to return to the office, and reported that he put in a productive afternoon.

McDonald's ANGUS THIRD POUNDER Burger Experience

The McChronicles was delighted with the prototype McDonald's Angus Third Pounder during our visit to the corporation's ultra-top secret "Innovation Center" in October of 2008. After two years of development, the product has been released (July 2nd) in the USA.

McDonald's advertising agency, GolinHarris, provided The McChronicles with several "Be Our Guest Cards" - each good for one free Angus Third Pounder. So, we invited a bevy of fast foodies to experience, "McDonald's first new burger launch since the Big 'N Tasty (debuted in 2001)", according to GolinHarris.

16 people assembled at the New Hartford, NY McDonald's. This is The McChronicles' "home store", so we felt very comfortable evaluating this new sandwich here. Then, the burgers were ordered. With three choices (Deluxe, Bacon & Cheese, and Mushroom & Swiss) there was a lot of discussion and decision making. The Deluxe seemed to be the top selection, with Bacon & Cheese a close second - but many people said they hoped to try the other versions. In other words, all versions sounded appealing to our team.

Peoples' first reaction was to the packaging. There were several comments regarding the professionalism of the packaging. This included observations on the neatness - and how well organized the ingredients were. It seemed that everyone had a story to share regarding burger elements being "tossed together" haphazardly, making for a poor presentation. The Angus Third Pounder simply looked perfect - in all 16 cases.

The McChronicles was most impressed with the inner liner - a sleeve of paper that helps hold the burger together and collects the juices or drippings. This is a topic The McChronicles has discussed in the past. Neatness and burger management are critical, especially when dining in the car (which we weren't).


One by one, people started digging in. Interestingly, the festive atmosphere turned distinctly quiet. Something was happening. Then, one by one, people began commenting. And here is what we heard (direct quotes):

  • A mouthful of flavor.

  • Makes me want another.

  • Presentation is phenomenal.

  • By far, my favorite burger of ALL our local restaurants, including the sit-downs.

  • The Deluxe is the tastiest burger that I have had. Vegetables are top quality and fresh. Crunchy lettuce, juicy tomato, and crisp onions.

  • The burger actually left juice in the container! I've never had such a juicy burger at McDonald’s.

  • I immediately noticed the size of the box. It is huge! From step 1, I knew this was going to be "bigger than lunch".

  • Wow this is a big box!

  • This is not like a McDonald's burger. If someone gave me one of these on the street, I wouldn't really know where it is from.

  • Everything is “right sized”; the meat, bun, and toppings were in EVERY bite! The bun was top notch, fresh and soft, and BIG.

  • Taste overall is an "A". I had a lot of bacon on my burger (which is a good thing), the right amount of cheese, and the pickles and onions were good too. The only thing I would change for the next time was to leave off the mustard.

  • Burger (meat) tastes like a handmade burger I’d get at a restaurant. And the paper wrapper in the box was a nice touch.

  • The meat is very well cooked and not dry.

  • Higher quality beef patty than expected from a fast-food restaurant.

  • The Angus Third Pounder with bacon and cheese is delicious. It competes with the Big Mac for my taste buds’ attention.

  • The sandwich is more filling than most other fast food sandwiches and doesn’t feel as unhealthy because the meat isn’t so greasy.

  • The Swiss cheese is very “creamy” giving the burger a rich flavor without tasting “fatty”.

  • Veggies taste fresh.

  • Lettuce, tomatoes, and bun seem fresher then most other McDonald's burgers.

  • For its size, the price is right.

  • The three options for the Angus Third Pounder are each unique enough to provide an attractive option to suit everyone’s preferences!

  • Mushroom & Swiss is good and BIG!

  • I was pleasantly surprised that the mushrooms and cheese did not squeeze out, but stayed with the burger, right to the last bite.

  • Practically perfect in every way – I just wish the calorie count was a little less.

  • Very tasty - I ate it slowly to enjoy every bite.

  • Comparable to my favorite burger.

  • It was not what I expected from a “fast food” burger. It was more like what I’d expect from a sit-down restaurant.

  • It was just like what is shown in the advertisements – not a disappointment.

  • The burger was cooked perfectly, bacon was just right, the bun was full, and both the Deluxe and Bacon & Cheese had distinctly different tastes.

  • I hope the Angus Burger retains this level of quality over time.

The McChronicles noted unanimous overwhelming satisfaction for the Angus Third Pounder. After the meal, most people were discussing which version they planned to try next. A couple people mentioned that they were considering trying a different version right then (but cooler heads prevailed). The McChronicles DID return the next day for another experience (the Deluxe was so good the first time that the same order was repeated).

In conclusion, there was unanimous delight in our sample group (admittedly, they are all fast-foodies and known to be McDonald's customers). The Angus Third Pounder received kudos for EVERYTHING, ranging from immaculate packaging, to burger construction/presentation, to options, to price, to ingredient freshness, and, most importantly, taste.

Learn more about McDonald's Angus Third Pounder here.

Let us know YOUR opinion.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Facebook Ad

The McChronicles was just bouncing around Facebook and encountered this McDonald's ad. We don't recall seeing one Facebook before, do you?

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

"Eat Less Red Meat"

According to a recent report on the findings of a research team led by Rashmi Sinha, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, (as reported by CNN - all quotes are from the CNN article):

"People who eat red meat every day have a higher risk of dying over a
10-year period -- mostly because of cardiovascular disease or cancer --than
their peers who eat less red or processed meat".
Of course, upon hearing this, any burger lover would be wise to take notice, to consider the facts of the report. Further details clear some things up:

Over a 10-year period, people who ate the most red meat every day (about
62.5 grams per 1,000 calories per day, equivalent to a quarter-pound burger or
small steak per day) had about a 30 percent greater risk of dying compared with
those who consumed the least amount of red meat (a median of 9.8 grams per 1,000 calories per day). The excess mortality was mostly the result of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
So, if we do NOT eat the equivalent of a quarter pounder EVERY DAY, and if we consume less red meat per day, or if we consume red meat only a few times per week, we're OK - is the way The McChronicles reads it (please comment if you feel this conclusion is incorrect).
The report adds:

In contrast, people who ate the most white meat seemed to have a
slightly lower mortality risk during the study than those who consumed the
least amount of white meat. White meat included chicken, turkey, and fish,
as well as some poultry products and canned tuna.

So, if we eat chicken and fish (mostly), we'll be OK - is the way The McChronicles reads this (again, please comment if ...).

In conclusion, The McChronicles LOVES hamburgers and McDoubles, but is certainly content with chicken and filet-o-fish sandwiches. In the future, we plan to mix it up to keep things in the recommended balance.

Everything in moderation!

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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

McDonald's French Fries

The McChronicles dropped by a McDonald's for a quick and simple lunch, including a small french fries. In short, it was everything it was supposed to be:
  • fresh
  • fast
  • warm
  • flavorful
  • perfectly salted
  • cooked just long enough
  • served with a smile
Add to that the fact that the rest of the meal arrived under the same conditions, and that the dining room was neat and clean, and we were delighted.

The perfect McDonald's experience!

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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Snack Wrap MAC

According to QSR Magazine:

Canadians can enjoy ... for a limited time only ... the launch of the Mac Snack Wrap. The latest menu item from McDonald's combines all of the delicious toppings of a Big Mac sandwich in a handy, snack-sized tortilla.

The Mac Snack Wrap will be available at participating McDonald's restaurants in Canada, from March 17 to May 18. This new menu item combines McDonald's delicious 100 percent pure beef, Big Mac special sauce, lettuce, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, pickles, and onions on a warm flour tortilla for $1.89 plus applicable taxes.


This sandwich was apparently tested in Wisconsin last year.

Does this sound tasty to you?

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

Image: The FastFood Maven

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

McCafe: Tap Into The Coffee House Trend?

It seems, to The McChronicles, that coffee houses, with their third-placers, laptoppers, and modern-day beatniks and troubadors, are all the rage - at least in North America. We are constantly seeing, hearing about, and experiencing, acoustic performers, laptop users, spoken word artists, latte sippers, and the like in these unique and very interesting shops.

To us it is not a stretch to see the McDonald's McCafe concept tap into this vibe. Here is our suggestion:

  • Create a temporary "stage" or performing area in an appropriate corner of a McDonald's reataurant.

  • Declare some night to be "McCafe Thursday Night" (whatever night works best locally) and promote it as such.

  • Feature a local acoustic artist to perform appropriate material for a one-, two-, or three-hour period (whatever suits the local flavor)

In The McChronicles' "home McDonald's", this would require either living with the permanent tables that are at one end of the dining room, or replacing them with moveable tables and chairs. It would only affect two small tables and the corner is perfect as it:

  • has power (for a small PA system)
  • is "secure", no one can get behind the performer
  • is near the rest rooms
  • is away from the order counter and front door - it will not interfere with people coming in or going out, order taking, etc.
To The McChronicles this seems like a low-risk, fun, low-cost way to:
  • feature the McCafe program and get more people to experience it
  • attract customers that wouldn't otherwise be there
  • appeal to a unique demographic
  • become a stronger part of the community

This isn't some revolutionary idea, mind you. In a previous McChronicles post, we shared the story of the band that, "... has been packing the house each week for nearly two years. The music starts at 7, but people start claiming their seats around 5. Anyone arriving after 6:30 will probably have to stand." Yes, it happens in a McDonald's.

There is NO WAY that we're suggesting that McDonald's is the brand to compete with local coffee houses. That's not the case, and that's not going to happen. The McChronicles is only saying that this concept IS appealing to a certain segment of people who ARE already McDonald's customers and who WILL go to McDonald's for something a little funky and offbeat.

Not a novel idea, but a cool idea for the times.

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

Image: Dave Snediker performs at THE TRAMONTANE CAFE, Utica, NY.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

McDonald's Soup

We're deep in the heart of winter (in the northern hemisphere) and McDonald's is serving up SOUP. What kinds of soup? According to the McDonald's website:
  • Vegetable Beef
  • Broccoli Cheese
  • Chicken Noodle
According to, the most popular soups are:
  • Chicken noodle
  • Tomato
  • Minestrone
  • Vegetable
Campbells tells the top soups are:
  • Chicken Noodle
  • Tomato
Wikipedia chimes in with:
  • Chicken Noodle
  • Tomato
  • Cream of Mushroom
So, why is it that the #2 most popular soup, tomato, is missing from McDonald's menu? There's probably a good reason - The McChronicles would like to know.

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