Remember that classic Seinfeld episode in which Java World offers Kramer free coffee for life to settle a lawsuit? Poor Cosmo had no idea they were also prepared to give him $50,000.
And eventually the effects of all that caffeine forced Kramer to swear off the java juice, netting him a fairly valueless settlement.
Which brings us to the story of George Ramsey the Cleveland hero.
Unlike the Seinfeld sidekick whose settlement allowed him free coffee at any location around the world, George Ramsey can only check in at a dozen locations in Ohio and one in Pennsylvania. And he can only get a free McDonalds burger “whenever he wants one.” No word on the fries or drinks or the ability to super-size.
Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, because the gesture is a nice one, but considering what George Ramsey did, it just feels like he deserves something more substantial than a beef patty on a bun.
And though I am certain he is grateful to the participating eateries, for my part, I am not “lovin’ it.”
Fact: We Americans love our fast food.
Fact: The medical community and the Federal government are doing everything in their power to lead us onto a healthier path.
Fact: We Americans love our fast food.
A recent survey by Harris Interactive looked into consumer quick-service restaurant (aka fast food) preferences. And for the first time, the top slot went to the world’s foremost sub-sandwich chain: Subway – the “eat fresh” and “lose weight” QSR! Subway is the top QSR chain on the Harris list, with an approval ranking of 73.07 (out of a possible 100.00). And it continues to win nutritional kudos as well. In a recent Consumer Reports ranking of breakfast sandwiches (of 106 sandwiches tested) only 6 ranked as “very good” nutritionally, and all 6 of those were from Subway.
That’s promising, right? Until you see that Dairy Queen ranks second in preference behind Subway. And DQ is followed by Wendy’s, Five Guys, Chick-Fil-A, McDonalds and Burger King.
So in the grand scheme of things, burgers and ice cream and french fries and chicken sandwiches and all sorts of other good mood foods, including pizza and hot dogs and anything coated with barbecue sauce and cheese continue to rule.
Fact: We Americans love our fast food. But we are making progress, one baby step at a time.
While enjoying my dinner last night, my wife asked me if I saw the new circular from McDonald’s that came in the mail. A freestanding insert that boasted not one, not two, not three, but 12 “buy one, get one FREE” coupons. Free McMuffins, free Big Macs, free large fries, free shakes, free, free, free.
“That’s interesting,” I thought to myself. “I wonder what its objective is? Is McDonald’s trying to help the little guy during these tough economic times; you know, help him make is dollar go a little further? Or is the company doing its best to make you fatter and unhealthier by giving you twice as much food as you want for half the price?”
Okay, so maybe I let my imagination get the best of me. Then I see an Arby’s TV commercial later in the evening. You know, the Good Mood Food people. “For a limited time, buy one fish sandwich and get another for free.” And we aren’t even close to the Lenten season. That’s peculiar.
I am probably making a mountain out of a mole hill. But then, just before I turn in for the night, I decide to watch the Jimmy Kimmel Live monologue. And Jimmy (yeah, we are on a first name basis) reports that Burger King is testing home delivery service in target markets. Home delivery of fast food for that segment of the marketplace that’s either too busy or too lazy to use drive-thru? Great; now you can get massive calories from flame-broiled cows, deep fried potatoes and chocolate pies delivered right to your doorstep.
This is war. These fat food companies, sorry, fast food companies, need to learn the hard way that their billions of marketing dollars will not allow them to lure poor unsuspecting consumers (aka, baitfish) into the treacherous shark tank.
If the likes of Google and Wikipedia can successfully black out content and service in protest over anti-pirating legislation, American consumers can effectively turn off the faucet of fast food companies by refusing to buy their unhealthy offers. Yeah, I said it, “they made us an offer that we can refuse.”
We need to unite and galvanize. I am calling on all weight-challenged Americans to rally around the date of Thursday, February 2, 2012, and cast a giant shadow over the fast food industry by refusing – for one day – to patronize these bloated establishments and their insidious offers.
“Don’t go, just say no.”
“Don’t go, just say no.”
“Don’t go, just say no.”
I’ll bet you never thought you’d see the day when I defended McDonald’s, but here it is and here I go.
Did you know… San Francisco has banned the inclusion of toys in children’s meals unless certain nutritional requirements are met?
Did you know… A New York City councilman is proposing a similar law?
Did you know… Jack in the Box announced the end of toys in its children’s meals in June of this year?
And now, Mickey D’s – king of the Happy Meal – is dropping to its knees, agreeing to revamp its Fatty McFattersteen food box with a healthier alternative.
Long believed to be a gateway drug to Big Macs and Quarter Pounders, the new Happy Meal will eliminate half of the fries and replace them with fruit. According to the New York Times, “McDonald’s made it clear that it was changing the composition of Happy Meals in response to parental and consumer pressure. It also pledged to reduce the sodium content in all of its foods by 15 percent, with the exceptions of soda and desserts.”
I am not sure whether to celebrate or cry. On the one hand, McDonald’s offering healthier foods is a good thing, right? But on the other hand, McDonald’s just publicly confirmed that parents and consumers are totally incapable of handling their own lives… they can’t even feed their children properly.
So rather than wait for the government to step in and force their hand, McDonald’s has buckled. And so begins the end. Mark your calenders and warn your children.
And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. “Reality control,” they called it: in Newspeak, “doublethink.”
I’d like a Big Mac, Mc BLT, A Quarter-Pounder with some cheese, Filet-O-Fish, A Hamburger, A Cheeseburger, A Happy Meal. Hot chocolate, iced mocha, latte, cappuccino ?!
Today I gave in and headed to the golden arches for a Coke and some fries. As I pulled into the double drive through, a fairly new addition to the Gordon Road McDonald’s, the employee asked me over the loud speaker “Would you like to try our hot chocolate today?”
I contemplated trying it for a moment because I was so perplexed that McDonald’s was promoting its hot chocolate. Their premium roast coffee maybe… but hot chocolate? I politely declined and drove away with my Coke and fries.
Intrigued, I did some reach and discovered McDonald’s is actually installing McCafes into their locations. McCafes serve mochas, hot or iced; lattes, hot or iced; cappuccinos; and hot chocolates. McDonald’s premium roast coffee and iced coffees are still available as well. According to an article in the New York Times (http://tinyurl.com/a5arkx), McCafes have been installed in 6,500 of McDonald’s more than 14,000 stores nationwide.
In fact, you can visit http://www.mymccafe.com/ and see if a McCafe has been installed at your local McDonald’s and download free coupons for a mocha, latte and cappuccino.
Will the McCafes be successful? Even though Starbucks has been closing numerous locations, I think the McCafes have an excellent opportunity to expand McDonald’s and further establish its presence in the beverage category. After all, look at the popularity of the McDonald’s shakes and orange drink. And according to the New York Times, in the two years since McDonald’s introduced premium coffee, sales of drip coffee are up 70 percent. It is so easy to run through the drive through (especially since they have expanded many) and get your cup of joe for the day.
McDonald’s has certainly been making some smart decisions throughout the recent years and McCafes will likely be added to the list of successful business decisions. According to the New York Times, “as of November, the latest data available, the company had delivered 55 consecutive months of increases in global same-store sales. During a year when the stock market lost a third of its value — its worst performance since the Great Depression — shares of McDonald’s gained nearly 6 percent, making the company one of only two in the Dow Jones industrial average whose share price rose in 2008. (The other was Wal-Mart.)”