Industry News | August 27, 2009

Mother Knows Best, According to McDonald’s

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As part of the company’s mission to make its supply chain more transparent to the public—and in time for the franchise to release its new Angus Third Pounder—McDonald’s sent a group of four moms from the greater Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas to tour a beef supplier in Ohio.

The Baltimore Washington McDonald’s Moms Quality Correspondents group, a regional offshoot of the national Correspondents group, had previously toured suppliers of McDonald’s baked goods, poultry, and coffee before touring the Keystone Foods beef facility.

“We understand that beef is what McDonald’s is known for, and [the way] we timed this, it worked out very nicely with what worked with Keystone, and their ability to conduct this tour timed nicely with the Angus burger,” says Becky Gallagher, marketing communication manager for the Baltimore Washington region of McDonald’s USA.

“Over the years the quality of beef at all [quick-serves] has been called into question, and the reality is that [McDonald’s has] a great story to tell,” she says. “We have 100 percent beef in our burgers and we really wanted to make sure that people understood the food quality and the food safety standards since our standards are among the highest in the industry.”

The Moms Quality Correspondents group is designed to give mothers an opportunity to see McDonald’s suppliers with their own eyes, and to post their reactions online in the form of videos and blog entries.

Gallagher says the program is not designed as a slight towards dads, but rather takes a realistic approach towards weighing the opinion of the family member who often matters most when choosing to dine out.

“There’s been a lot of research in understanding that women tend to often be the decision makers in the family,” she says. “They’re very influential about why the family eats where they eat.”

Lee Ann Crochunis, a married, stay-at-home mother of two from Hampstead, Maryland, has participated in each tour with the Baltimore Washington group of Correspondents. She says three things impressed her on the beef tour: the tight control over the procedures, the personnel, and the attention the supplier gave its product.

“The supplier’s role in the organization is not just, ‘Here. I’m selling you some hamburgers and off you go,’” Crochunis says. “They care about how their hamburgers end up being served in the restaurant. Even though they’re not held responsible for that since they’re not McDonald’s, they still care about that and they actually send folks into the field to check on that and work with McDonald’s. So the partnership stuff is really impressive to me.”

By Sam Oches