The alarm goes off, the sun is just peeking over the horizon, and you leap out of bed to face another lousy day in paradise. After you wash up for the day ahead, you tear open the closet door to find your manager’s uniform is gone. You know you brought it home from the cleaners and hung it there. Where is it? You look over at the nightstand, and your store keys are gone. What the heck is going on?
A discovery thousands of times smaller than a human hair could completely redefine how restaurants serve their food. But it might also usher in one of the biggest controversies in food safety the industry has seen in years.
McDonald’s announced today a major overhaul of its Happy Meals in an attempt to increase the nutritional profile of its kids-meal offering.
In a webcast featuring McDonald’s USA president Jan Fields and director of nutrition Cynthia Goody, the company announced that it will begin automatically including apples in every Happy Meal, and will reduce the size of the french fries included.
McDonald’s introduced a series of new TV spots in April featuring its signature mascot, Ronald McDonald, promoting the McDonald’s kid-oriented HappyMeal.com site. The site has games and videos relating to the company’s products.
The commercials show Ronald interacting with people in a park and on a street, or showing up at homes to give children a telegram from the Happy Meals website.
Restaurant brands participating in the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) recently announced “Kids LiveWell” initiative are confident that the health-infused measure will help boost their kids’ offerings, business, and profile. But most quick-service brands remain in wait-and-see mode.
When it announced its sponsorship today via webcast of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, McDonald’s revealed its plans to center much of its sponsorship on a healthy, active lifestyle for kids through its new Champions of Play for the Olympic Games initiative.
The initiative will be multifaceted, but will bring hundreds of kids from around the world to the Olympics to spend time with athletes and learn about healthy eating.
In the hands of the quick-service restaurant operator, price might be the ultimate weapon, the key ingredient to swing a customer and prompt a purchase in today’s dollar-conscious market.
And the quick-service industry knows it all too well, an awareness that has sparked a decades-long raging debate about what cheap food—a term used here to describe price rather than a judgment on food quality—does for a restaurant brand, its operators, and the consumer.
Pop culture has not been kind to the quick-service industry.
From the lovable-but-dumb employees in Good Burger to the drug-addled protagonists of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, the industry is seen as a haven for dimwits, losers, and the vaguely criminal. Thousands of high school teachers threaten low-performing students by asking them, “Do you want to flip burgers for the rest of your life?”