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Category Archives: mcdonald’s

Review: McDonald’s wings aren’t so mighty

mighty-wingsOne of the high points for me, if I can call it that, of heading down to the U.S. fairly frequently is getting to try new fast-food concoctions, which are inevitably released there before being exported internationally, if at all. This time around: McDonald’s Mighty Wings.

Chicken wings are an odd duck, so to speak, for McDonald’s. Sure, the chain has been a pioneer among burger peddlers in chicken, first with sandwiches and then with nuggets. But wings almost seems like a step too far, since they are a relatively difficult thing to get right. It’s easy to make them too dry, too bland, too small, too big or too greasy. It was accordingly with a good deal of trepidation that I tried them on a recent trip to New York.

The first off-putting thing: the portion sizes. Mighty Wings come in packs of three, five or ten, which is odd. Like McNuggets, a grouping of six just seems more natural – or 10, which is how they come in most bars. Yet 10 wings costs almost $10 and that seems like a bit of an obscene price to pay for anything at McDonald’s. At the other end, I can’t figure who might want just three wings. It reminds of that scene in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, where Chris Rock goes into a restaurant and tries to order just one rib. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in chicken, food, mcdonald's

 

McDonald’s new health focus could be bad news

mcsaladMcDonald’s made waves late last week with a big announcement that it will soon offer salads or fruit as side choices instead of fries.

Aside from the new, healthier sides, which won’t incur any additional charges over what fries would normally cost, the chain is also going to push low-fat milk, juice and water in its kids’ Happy Meals. It’s going to take some time to roll out all these healthier options, with the company’s 20 biggest markets all due to get them by 2020.

The move comes as part of former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative, a think-tank-y charity-type thing designed to “create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” as per its website. Obesity would be one of those.

McDonald’s effort is a noble one to be sure, but I’m wondering if anyone has stopped to think through the long-term effects of what it might mean. For one thing, it’s entirely possible the chain’s pushing of fruits and veggies could actually have the inverse desired effect, causing kids to eat even less of them. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in food, mcdonald's

 

McDonald’s finally gets vegetarian-friendly

veggie-wrapNever mind the question of how they get the caramel inside the Caramilk bar, the real mystery that has plagued mankind for years is why doesn’t McDonald’s cater to vegetarians? Sure, the chain is known for burgers and yes, it has experimented with veggie versions of them, but why the borderline disdain for non-meat eaters?

Other fast-food restaurants, such as chief rival Burger King, have veggie burgers or other options for the five per cent or so of North Americans who don’t eat meat. The only choice at McDonald’s has typically been… well, fries. And those haven’t always been vegetarian either.

Lo and behold, the chain has finally added two main vegetarian entrees, at least here in Canada, with the Sante Fe and Mediterranean veggie wraps. Neither have any sort of meat in them – just vegetables – which means I can finally venture into a McDonald’s with the wife in tow. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in food, mcdonald's

 

Robot fast-food workers an inevitability

robot-foodI recently wrote about how fast-food workers in the United States need to be careful about what they wish for – that their demands for raises up to $15 an hour could result in their having no jobs at all. Chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King might find it more in their interests to replace their human robot-like labour forces with real robot labour forces, leaving human workers with zero income.

The debate continues, but there is some strong logic forming as to why this robotic replacement isn’t just fanciful science-fiction, but rather a very likely thing to happen in the next few years.

The fast-food wage battle is quickly turning into the nexus point of the festering American inequality problem; if the chains aren’t careful, this could turn into Occupy Wall Street: The Sequel. Occupy McDonald’s, anyone?

As we well know by now, the income gap between the wealthiest and poorest Americans has been growing for decades and shows no signs of stopping. That’s bad for all sorts of social reasons, with inequality driving unrest, crime, violence and even revolution in the extreme cases. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in food, mcdonald's, robots

 

It’s not food that makes us fat, it’s the laziness too

McDonaldsPoor McDonald’s. The fast-food megalith gets its share of warranted criticism – as is the case for low employee wages – but it also gets unfairly picked on for many social ills, with obesity being the big one (no pun intended). It’s at the point where, at least in the Western psyche, the chain is synonymous with poor health and being overweight.

Case in point: The Guardian had some fun-with-numbers last month in regards to how many McDonald’s restaurants are in each country. Some of the findings were pretty cool, such as the measure of outlets per capita. Monaco and Andorra are actually first and second, respectively, in terms of how many Mickey D’s they have per person. But, if such small countries aren’t counted, the results look more like what we’d expect: the United States and Canada are respectively first and second.

The authors of the report also instinctively attempted to prove that the prevalence of McDonald’s could be tied to different countries’ obesity rates, as reported by the World Health Organization, but they weren’t as successful as they expected to be. “There is a correlation, but it’s not as strong as we first thought,” they wrote. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in food, mcdonald's, obesity

 

McDonald’s must simplify menu for society’s sake

The site of the original McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

The site of the original McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

Dick and Mac McDonald must be rolling in their graves. The two brothers, sons of a New Hampshire shoe factory foreman, would probably turn apoplectic if they walked into a McDonald’s today and took one look at the menu. The 145 choices on offer are the exact opposite of the business phenomenon they built 65 years ago.

The brothers originally opened a hot dog stand in Pasadena in 1937. It was a hit, but they were looking for a bigger volume of business, so they moved to the nearby boom town of San Bernardino on busy Route 66 and opened the first McDonald’s drive-in restaurant in 1940. It quickly became popular with teenagers, who came for the burgers and stayed to hit on the attractive car-hops that served them.

Like many California drive-in restaurants, McDonald’s was raking it in. Yet the brothers thought they could do more, so in 1948 they closed the place down to refit it for speed and volume. They designed new equipment to speed up cooking, fired the car-hops to discourage the sort of lazy hanging out teens are known for, and they pared the menu down from dozens of items to just 11. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2013 in food, mcdonald's

 

McBurgers don’t go bad; neither does a lot of food

McDonald's_HamburgerIt seems like every couple of weeks, the internet generates a new meme designed to make fast food look bad. Don’t get me wrong, fast food does indeed come up with a lot of that itself, but the unfortunate part of many of these viral things is that they’re either outright wrong or based on bad science.

The latest is the McDonald’s hamburger that didn’t go bad, even after 14 years. David Whipple, a Utah man, made news this week after going public with his relatively ancient burger, which showed no signs of mold or rot even after being placed in a coat pocket – where it was forgotten about – for a few years.

“My wife didn’t discover it until at least a year or two after that. And we pulled it out and said, ‘Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it looks the same way,'” according to the UK’s Daily Mail. “It’s great for my grand-kids to see. To see what happens with fast food.”

The Daily Mail, being the bastion of correctness that it is, breathlessly reported about how the burger had no discernible change in colour or odor, and that the only noticeable difference – shock of shocks! – was that its pickle had disintegrated. A bunch of other news outlets followed the lead, with the general implication always being that such McBurgers don’t go bad because they’re full of chemicals, so of course they’re not good for you. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in burgers, mcdonald's