Thursday, April 7, 2011


Got to get this off of my chest. I have a bit of a fascination with McDonald's, and while I haven't eaten at the golden arches for some time, and very rarely do, I still find their business model to be absolutely fascinating. A while back I received and email from an acquaintance explaining that I should boycott McDonald's as they were beginning to purchase beef from South American countries that didn't have the equivalent inspection process that we have here in the USA. Nothing will get me more fired up then an uninformed person sending out bulk chain emails. As consumers we have demanded certain things from McDonald's for years- eg- dollar menu, burger promotions, super sizing, etc. and these things make it tough for them to spin a profit. McDonald's is a business, and like all business they are in it to make a profit. As consumers we have forced them to do this sort of purchasing, because if we went through the drive through on a road trip and the dollar menu didn't exist there would be an uproar. They aren't at fault for buying beef from other countries, we are at fault as consumers for not opening our wallets wide enough to pay for better beef or chicken or whatever. As a corporation they found a niche, and have done extremely well in promoting it. Now whether you eat there often, or you don't is up to you. I personally have decided that it shouldn't happen in our family as it is pretty far from what I think food should be, but that doesn't make me want to trash their business ethics in the least bit. I think they are a fantastic company, and while I struggle daily to execute a menu in a relatively small restaurant every day, they execute menus in over 100 countries, at the rate of 62 million people a day. The logistics of buying, shipping, storing, prepping, and selling that much food is one of the greatest feats in the culinary world.

Some other cool facts-
     McDonald's is the largest toy distributor in the world, thanks to the Happy Meal
     When they decided to sell apples with the Happy Meal they overnight became the worlds number one consumer of apples
     They will open a restaurant in China everyday for the next three years
    They sell an estimated 75 hamburgers every second
    According to their own industry stats they have employed one out of every eight people in the American workforce
    There is a McDonald's within 100 miles of every person in the USA, except in a small part of South Dakota

I have often wondered if I should just go get a job there. It would be amazing to me to see how things work, how the fries taste the same everywhere, and the cheese is always melted just so, on every burger anywhere in the world. Not to mention, while I couldn't find it published they must have some sort of agreement with Coke, because the fountain Coke that you buy there tastes better than it will taste anywhere else. Is it a mixing thing, or a special McDonald's formula syrup? Whatever it is I crave it every so often. I wonder how fast you could be up for a promotion, or how high up the ladder a person could get in 3 or 5 or 10 years. Personally I know a few people that have worked there for many years and seem happy doing it (they higher over 1 million people in the USA every year) and are rather notorious for promoting with-in. And while I run food costing sheets to the nearest penny, think of how many digits on the right of the decimal point they have to run to ensure their profitability.  So while you are driving by one of them feel free to drive on by, cause food can be better and better for you. But that doesn't mean that they deserve any less respect then any other restaurant chain. A meal at McDonald's is the consistency Gold standard, as well as the consumer service Gold Standard, all of those customers everyday, and I guarantee they wont hesitate to make that burger again if you were disappointed with the first one, or refund your money, when really we all know it wouldn't hurt them in the least bit if you never walked in to one again. So many people, in so many countries working under the arches, maybe just for a few months, or a year depending on that job to feed their families. For the bosses it must be one of the most stressful jobs ever, the training alone for every employee has to be one of the most rigorous system in play anywhere, and the marketing effort is an example of what to do when you try to market a business. So while I strive to feed people new things, better for them, cooked as well as possible, they strive to feed people the same things they have been eating for years, at the same price they have been paying for years. Food costs and labor costs more everyday, and they somehow have built a system to where they can hide those costs better then anyone else. If you don't want them to buy South American beef that is great, but educate yourself and your family as to why that is important. Don't blame them, because they feed more people everyday then we can fathom, and are hell-bent on doing it in a consistent and inexpensive manner. Somewhere there are people that are sustained on mostly fast food, and while that is horrible, eating there is a much better option then starving. If anything, we need to look at the way we feed people in general. If we all demanded higher product quality from McDonald's they would change their purchasing, and price structure to match. That would mean that some would go hungry, and that is not a solution.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmmmm.... I need to chew on that idea for a bit. (No pun intended.) I think I like it.