Industry News | February 11, 2010

McDonald's Kicks Off Vancouver Stay

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McDonald’s officially launched its global activities for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games at the McDonald’s restaurant in the Olympic Main Media Center. Olympic gold medalists Cassie Campbell, Shawn Johnson, Picabo Street, and Katarina Witt participated in a food competition as the company provided a first look at an upcoming McDonald’s menu item, Real Fruit Smoothies. As the official restaurant of the Olympic Games feeding the athletes, McDonald’s also shared details of sponsorship activities taking place in Vancouver and in markets around the world.

The Olympians, McDonald’s president and chief operating officer Don Thompson, McDonald’s Canada president John Betts, and McDonald’s director of culinary innovation Chef Dan Coudreaut were joined by representatives from the International Olympic Committee, Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and United States Olympic Committee to showcase McDonald’s commitment to serving the world’s best athletes quality food.

“McDonald’s has been feeding the Olympic athletes for nearly two decades—athletes tell us they love our food and we’ve earned their trust,” Thompson says. “We use the finest ingredients and insist on the highest standards from the farms of our trusted suppliers to our front counter—whether that counter is in a neighborhood McDonald’s or in the Olympic Village.”

Vancouver marks McDonald’s eighth consecutive Games as the official restaurant. Over the years, McDonald’s has served millions of meals to Olympic athletes, media, and fans as a worldwide partner of the Olympic Movement.

Coudreaut works with a global network of top chefs and suppliers to create new McDonald’s offerings for customers around the world. The latest product is McDonald’s Real Fruit Smoothies in two flavors: Strawberry Banana and Wild Berry. The new Smoothies are debuting at the Games in McDonald’s three Olympic restaurants and will be available in U.S. McDonald’s restaurants this summer as part of the McCafé lineup. “Mini versions” of McDonald’s customers’ favorites, including Big Mac sandwiches, Chicken McNuggets, and French Fries, were served at the event to give media and guests a look at McDonald’s food.

“I’ve served McDonald’s favorites to some outstanding people, from movie stars and famous musicians to my family, friends, and neighbors. Feeding Olympic athletes in Vancouver is one of my top career highlights,” Coudreaut says. “It’s incredibly rewarding to know how much athletes want our food, whether it’s basketball players making McDonald’s their first stop in the Olympic Village or the world’s fastest man enjoying our Chicken McNuggets before setting world records.”

Olympic gold medalists—Canadian ice hockey team captain Cassie Campbell, U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson, and U.S. alpine skier Picabo Street—were each teamed with a pair of McDonald’s Champion Kids (MCK) to create their own smoothie flavors and earn McDonald’s first “medals” of the Games. The McDonald’s Champion Kids program debuted at the Beijing Games in 2008. It provides children ages 6–14 with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Games first-hand.

The panel of competition judges included Olympic gold medalist and German figure skater Katarina Witt, McDonald’s Canada and Latin America Group president Jose Armario, and sportscaster for the CTV Olympic Broadcast Consortium Louis Jean.

“Since working with Ronald McDonald House Charities in Germany, I have admired and appreciated the unique opportunities McDonald’s provides,” Witt says. “I’m happy to be part of this latest Olympic experience with McDonald’s Champion Kids and plan to enjoy a McDonald’s Snack Wrap while at these Winter Games.”

McDonald’s two new restaurants in the Olympic Villages in Vancouver and Whistler are feeding more than 10,000 athletes, coaches, and officials, and the McDonald’s restaurant in the Main Media Center feeds the nearly 3,000 media expected. These restaurants are open 24 hours a day and offer McCafé beverages and snacks. Chicken McNuggets are featured on the McDonald’s Olympic menu, served with a choice of dipping sauces, including a new Spicy Szechwan option. McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich, Egg McMuffin, Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait, and many other options also are available. For the first time at the Games, McDonald’s is serving Snack Wraps created by Coudreaut and his culinary team, in addition to the new Real Fruit Smoothies.

McDonald’s Canada president John Betts was joined at the media event by members of McDonald’s Olympic Champion Crew, comprised of 300 top-performing restaurant employees from across Canada who are staffing the three McDonald’s Olympic restaurants.

“McDonald’s is proud to welcome the world to Vancouver and we’re proud to celebrate the Games,” Betts says. “We have our best serving the world’s best athletes. Imagine going from serving your friends and neighbors in Montreal, to providing a Big Mac to a hockey star from Russia or a cappuccino to a German ice skater. Our employees are proud to be part of this Olympic experience.”

At more than 1,400 restaurants across Canada, including more than 30 McDonald’s restaurants in Vancouver and Whistler, customers can order new limited-time menu offerings such as the S’mores Pie and the Crème Brulee Crunch McFlurry. For the youngest fans, Happy Meals feature interactive toy replicas of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games mascots.

Around the globe, McDonald’s created special campaigns to share the Olympic spirit and excitement of the Games.

Customers in the U.S. are seeing some of their favorite winter athletes on packaging in the 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants. Graham Watanabe (men’s snowboard), Jennifer Rodriguez (women’s speedskating), J.R. Celski (men’s speedskating), Dustin Byfuglien (men’s hockey), Patrick Deneen (men’s skiing), Kelly Clark (women’s snowboard), Angela Ruggiero (women’s ice hockey), and Paralympian Sean Halsted (alpine skiing) are currently featured on cups and bags. The latest McDonald’s USA promotion features Chicken McNuggets and a new, limited-time Sweet Chili dipping sauce, available starting February 12.

McDonald’s in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway are offering special Chicken McNuggets promotions under a “Share the Gold” theme, which include television and in-restaurant advertising. In Russia, the iconic Big Mac sandwich is being featured in print and television advertisements in honor of the Games. The new commercial celebrates athletes coming together at a McDonald's restaurant following Olympic Games events.