Tag Archives: McDonald’s

McDonald’s To Test Delivering Via UberEats

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McDonald’s is planning to test deliveries via UberEats in three Florida markets starting in late January, The Chicago Tribune reported a few days ago.

Though a person close to plan said the deal linking McDonald’s and UberEats hadn’t been signed asa of last week, The Trib said McDolnald’s has said that it is intended to include some 200 restaurants in the Orlando, Tampa, and Miami markets.  The paper said UberEats lets customers order online or through its app, anda an Uber “Courier” deliveries the food.

In the case of McDonald’s – which already delivers through such third-party companies as DoorDash and Postmates – the Uber fee is said to be set at $5, lower than the delivery and service fees of the other delivery service McDonald’s is using.

McDonald’s also is planning to roll out a mobile order and pay service next  year, and it is spending considerable sums upgrading its restaurants and introducing kiosk ordering systems and bluetooth-enabled table service.

The Trib article noted that the world’s largest burger chain presently does two-thirds of its business via drive-thrus, and several tweeks have been introduced to them to speed up service to drivers.mcdonalds_sign

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Micky D is giving Canadians, but NOT Americans, waffle fries

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Product tests aren’t for everyone. They are, being tests, put out to small markets, or a small sector of a market, to gauge customer reactions.

Now while Canada is hardly a ‘small market’, McDonald’s sales there – and I’m guessing at this – are probably a tiny fraction of what that company moves through its thousands of U.S. locations. So, what better place than Canada, where people and their tastes are similar to Americans’, but they – the people and their tastes – are just a bit different, to test market something.

Recently, according to AndNowYouKnow.com, a website focused on trends and developments in the produce industry, Micky D has been testing its version of waffle fries in the country north of the U.S.

Chicago-area-based McDonald’s is offering a couple of other potato-based items: The hash brown potato with bacon pieces, and fries flavored with garlic from Gilroy, CA, the U.S.’s garlic growing/processing capital.

It took me years to get around to getting there, and I knew I’d made it from a mile or more out, when that wonderful just-pressed-garlic smell permeated our car, when the windows were just cracked!) Though I didn’t try more than one, lore says that all of the restaurants in this town feature garlic-enhanced dishes in every category, from starters to desserts. The one I was insure did! (Some places barely ask you if you want fresh garlic on your salad: It’s considered to be an ingredient!)

McD Fined $56.5K For Ignoring Deaf Applicant

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It’s been around since 1990, so there is no excuse for an employer not to be aware of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). McDonald’s was reminded of that recently when the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission – created under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – decreed McDonald’s Corp. and McDonald’s Restaurants would pay $56,500 to settle a discrimination suit after a Missouri restaurant manager refused to interview a deaf job applicant.

Hardly surprisingly, Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s chose not to comment to the media.

The EEOC says a young man who can’t hear or speak applied online in 2012 to work at the McDonald’s in Belton, Missouri. He had previous experience as a cook and cleanup team member at a McDonald’s restaurant in another state, The Associated Press reported.

A lawsuit filed by the EEOC says that when the restaurant manager learned the applicant needed a sign language interpreter for his interview, she canceled the interview, even though the applicant’s sister volunteered to interpret.

How weird is that? The guy had previously been hired by, and worked at, a McDonald’s, yet he was turned down at the one he applied to in Belton, Mo.

So now, with this settlement, if he continued to be unable to find suitable work – even without other possible discrimination suits he might file! – he’s getting a pretty hefty bit of ‘unemployment benefit’ from his former employer! ‘Way to go, kid!

Alleging Sexual Harassment, McD Workers Say They Are NOT Lovin’ It

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McDonald’s workers across the country have filed a series of federal complaints against the fast food giant, alleging an array of sexual harassment on the job.

Fifteen complaints, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at both corporate and franchise stores over the last month, claim workers alerted general managers and corporate staff after experiencing sexual harassment on the job, but their complaints went unnoticed or, in some cases, were met with retaliation.

According to the complaints, the harassment ranged from groping to lewd comments to offers of cash in exchange for sexual favors, often by managers.

“As the country’s second-largest employer, McDonald’s has a responsibility to set standards in both the fast-food industry and the economy overall,” Kendall Fells, organizing director of the Fight for $15, said in a statement. “Cooks and cashiers are going to keep on joining together, speaking out and taking every step possible to make sure McDonald’s follows its own policies and gets sexual harassment off of the menu.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said the fast food chain is reviewing the allegations and takes the concerns “seriously.”

“At McDonald’s, we and our independent owner-operators share a deep commitment to the respectful treatment of everyone,” spokesperson Terri Hickey said in a statement. “There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in McDonald’s restaurants or in any workplace.”

Workers said in a video posted Wednesday that they have planned a wave of lunchtime rush hour protests last Thursday at restaurants in three dozen cities.

In addition to demanding the company enforce its zero-tolerance police against sexual harassment, they plan to carry signs reading “McDonald’s, I’m Not on the Menu” and “McDonald’s, Put Some Respect in My Check.”

 

Robotized Restaurants Coming Soon To Somewhere Near You

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A McDonald’s grill station: Soon to be a thing of the past?

A soon-to-open restaurant in the San Francisco area will point the way to a future restaurant owners will love, but some of their workers – soon to be former workers – will hate.

Hinted at in an article in Business Insider, this already-hiring-staff-via-a-Craigslist-ad eatery (see the Business Insider article),is said to be introducing a machine that takes allALL – the labor out of burger production.

Well, almost all: Someone has to load the so-called Momentum Machine with ingredients for the burger (including the to-be-prepared-to-order add-ons) and the bun, which the machine also will shape, bake and deliver, filled, to a customer pick-up station. The original Momentum Machine, introduced several years ago, could produce burgers at the rate of 360 or so an hour. The new version is said to be able to turn out 400 an hour!

One can imagine that prep workers, those who chop the onions and other bits and pieces burgers might be garnished with, will, in the short term, retain their jobs. But, realistically, it’s only a matter of time before one person will be capable of, and empowered to, do all the necessary chopping (via a machine) and feeding of ingredients into a machine that will thoroughly mix and evenly distribute them into portioned salads.

For some fast food restaurants, the cost savings such a machine can mean could mean the difference between barely being profitable and being very comfortably profitable. For future restaurants, not needing space for burger-making and possibly even food-prepping personnel could mean more of a facility’s floor space could be devoted to customers’ use. Or, alternatively, using smaller stores, reducing rent and other costs, as well as the savings machines provide by replacing workers.

Business Insider says the best estimates find that up to 50% of jobs could be automated by the late 2030s, with restaurant workers among the most vulnerable to displacement.

Some locations have already started moving away from human labor in an effort to cut operating costs. In its place, they’ve started relying on machines that are getting more sophisticated every day. Within the next 20 years, experts say, nearly every restaurant job once held by humans could get passed on to robots.

“A lot of what’s done in restaurants is already automated,” Rebecca Chesney, research and partnerships manager at the Institute for the Future, told Business Insider. “Today’s robotics can actually mimic human gestures that you’d need for cooking, for instance, way more than they could years ago.”

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In addition to Momentum Machines and its burger-generating giant – it “essentially works like a printing press for hamburgers, pressing patties, chopping toppings and assembling the ingredients into a sumptuous-looking sandwich,” the magazine said – referred to Eatsa, which FoodTradeTrends.com reported on in March, shortly after Business Insider profiles the new, old automat-style restaurant, where, as our earlier article said:

It’s computer-based ordering system – for the sole specialty, a bowl of quinoa priced at $6.96 and topped with whatever the customer orders, from a wide range of choices – is recorded and stored so when a customer returns, his/her previous preferences are  displayed and alternates are suggested as part of the approach to encouraging repeat visits.

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Instead of talking to a cashier to order their quinoa bowls, Eatsa diners build their meals on touch screens and pick them up from windows. There are no chefs or servers in sight.

Chesney says places like Eatsa and companies like Momentum Machines are strong signals for where fast food is heading because people crave speed and low cost — two qualities that human-run restaurants can’t offer the way robot-powered restaurants can.

Because not all customers are likely to want that degree of automation as part of their dining-out experience, lesser, significantly different types of automation can be anticipated in restaurants. However that plays out, you can be sure that a lot of staff also will be ‘out’.

 

Critics Slam McD’s Ad, Say They’re NOT Loving It

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It’s one thing – a nice thing, in fact – for McDonald’s to have eliminated artificial preservatives from its Chicken McNuggets, but it’s quite something else, critics say, for the company to imply, as a current TV campaign does, that Mickey D focuses on serving, what “we all want – what’s best for our kids!”

Adding that line to a commercial selling McNuggets has some health advocates crying foul.

“That’s the defining line that sets up the whole ad,” says Emily Mardell, a registered dietitian in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. That and the whole concept of the ad, she says, “is incredibly misleading.”

Using even stronger language, the executive director of Ottawa (Canada)’s Centre for Health Science and Law calls that marketing approach “grossly misleading. Bill Jeffery argues preservatives or no preservatives, deep-fried and salted Chicken McNuggets “simply aren’t a healthy choice for children,” according to a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) report. “What they’re advocating is so far removed from good nutrition, it’s almost kind of laughable,” Jeffery declared.

Still, McDonald’s, says the company is very serious about its campaign to promote its preservative-free McNuggets, which already have no artificial flavors or colors.

The chain started offering its reformed finger food at U.S. and Canadian locations in August.

The move is part of a bigger mission to offer menu items that better “reflect the cares and concerns of the modern day guest,” McDonald’s Canada spokesman Adam Grachnik said in an email to CBC News.

“We are on a journey to be better.”

The journey includes dropping some reportedly questionable ingredients from McNuggets like TBHQ — a preservative used for vegetable oils.

Besides the line, “We all want what’s best for our kids,” the company also promotes the menu item online with the phrase, “Because your family matters.”

But health advocates say eliminating a preservative or two doesn’t change the overall health concerns with fast food.

“It’s not a categorical shift,” says Mardell.

“These are still foods that are high in fat, high in sodium. They’re not the types of foods that you want in the everyday or even in routine intake for children.”

According to McDonald’s own numbers, just four McNuggets contain nine grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium — one-quarter of the recommended daily sodium requirement for kids ages four to eight.

McDonald’s serves up its Chicken McNuggets with its own dipping sauces that contain preservatives. And the above-cited sodium numbers don’t include the accompanying dipping sauce, one of which, the barbecue, option has the highest sodium count at 300 milligrams — as much as four McNuggets.

And the fact the company’s commercials don’t mention that the dipping sauces still contain preservatives prompted the CEO of a major U.S. restaurant chain, Panera Bread, to also suggest McDonald’s is misleading customers.

“I was offended watching this commercial,” CEO Ron Shaich told Business Insider. “I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ Sure, you’ve got McNuggets that are preservative-free, but what are you dipping them in? Sauces that are filled with that stuff!”

McDonald’s Grachnik also listed an improvement the company made last spring: adding leafy green vegetables like kale to its salads. But in February, CBC News revealed McDonald’s crispy chicken caesar kale salad entree with dressing has more calories, fat and sodium than a Double Big Mac. At 1,400 milligrams, the sodium amount nearly meets an adult’s daily recommended intake.

“Putting kale into the menu doesn’t mean you’re getting a healthy choice,” Toronto registered dietitian Shauna Lindzon told CBC News at the time.

When you add the accompanying dressing to the crispy chicken caesar salad with kale, it has more calories, salt and fat than a Double Big Mac.

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When you add the accompanying dressing to the crispy chicken caesar salad with kale, it has more calories, salt and fat than a Double Big Mac.

Bill Jeffery of the Centre for Health Science and Law says it’s nice to see a big company moving towards antibiotic-free chicken. But he still finds himself underwhelmed by McDonald’s changes.

“This isn’t about improving the health of their customers,” he concludes. “They’re just going to try to appeal to people’s emotions about health.”

Despite all the criticisms, McDonald’s is standing by its message of making positive changes to its menu. “We are proud of these big changes, even as we seek to do more and make the food people truly love to eat at McDonald’s even better,” said Grachnik.

McD Attracts Breakfast-all-Day Lovers Everywhere, and a Drunken Horseman in Wales

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Photograph: Alan Diaz/AP

The deepening food crisis in Venezuela has forced McDonald’s largest franchisee, globally, to halt sales of Big Macs because the company is unable to obtain the flat, center bun that separates the two burger patties.

This is hardly the only crisis affecting McDonald’s recently. First, while the ‘all day breakfast’ concept initiated in the fourth quarter of last year remains popular, it seems to be doing so at the expense of other menu items. The company’s domestic sales in the U.S. grew a mere 1.8% in the last three months – half of what Wall Street was anticipating. That, CNNMoney reported recently, “represents a slowdown from the 5.4% growth in the first quarter of the year.”

The Guardian noted that the earnings disappointment was also reflected in a 4% revenue loss, to $6.26 billion, as the burger giant suffered, like many of its competitors, in the face of growing uncertainty among consumers.

But The Washington Post declared that, “Adding the anytime breakfast accomplished important things for McDonald’s: It showed customers that the company was listening to them. And it demonstrated to investors that new chief executive Steve Easterbrook is willing to take bold steps — not just make incremental tweaks — to try to pull the burger chain out of its rut. But, even though McDonald’s plans to make more items available on its all-day breakfast menu later this year, the offering appears to be bumping up against its limits in terms of its ability to drive long-term sales growth.”

With sales down, stock prices followed in the same direction, with share prices falling 4% on one recent day – this after the 30% share price gain the company enjoyed over the past year.

Meanwhile, one franchisee in Wales decided to let nothing stand (or stagger) in its way of boosting its share of the late night, post-pub crowd: It opened, initially at an outlet in the city of Llandudno, a walk-through lane for customers incapacitated by drink and sensibly not driving or, in one instance, out for a late-night horseback ride. (The latter man, who appeared to be and sounded intoxicated, actually used the drive-through lane, before the walk-through version was established.)