Friday, 8 May 2015



Can I Get Kale with That?


McDonald’s Corporation recently announced plans for a global reset because, you know, $27-billion (US) in annual planetary revenue just ain’t enough to satisfy stakeholders and Wall Street analysts. In terms of market expectations that figure equates to some two billion $1 hamburgers less served; fortunately Mickey D’s was able to eke out a slim profit in excess of $5-billion. The latest solution to the burger chain’s current stock ticker malaise, direct from Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL, seared onto high-quality meat patties, is to jettison 3000 company-run stores and reposition the existing facilities as franchise opportunities. The Hamburglar has been sprung from the old mascots’ home. Like a good ally McDonald’s Canada has joined the effort, they will begin adding kale to their salads. Yum.


Since its founding in1940 McDonald’s has purveyed reasonably good food at a reasonable price. Its destination sandwich, the Big Mac, tastes good. Those salty, skinny fries are delicious. The Egg McMuffin, a fistful of breakfast, was inspired genius. Even the fountain Coke at McDonald’s seems to taste better there than elsewhere. The company’s charitable initiatives and various sponsorships are admirable endeavors. Mickey D’s has exhibited uncommon corporate courage in this age of social media and the increased, often absurd, interaction between consumers and their brands by addressing urban myths about its food preparation practices straight on.


McDonald’s pioneered the quick service restaurant industry. The cost of this innovation and its imitating ilk hit close to home, our intimate neighbourhood lunch counters paid the price in full. The phantom requisite of expansion led to the disheartening sight of the golden arches overseas. The tired and hungry tourist didn’t experience the comfort of familiarity so much as a feeling of ‘Oh no, not you again.’ In creating an entirely new category of food service, McDonald’s effectively birthed its competition. At first the model was copied, soon it was improved upon and that’s when things began to get confused at head office.

If McDonald’s board and brain-trust was sort of akin to a Star Trek Borg hive, you might imagine the buzzing inside its collective head: ‘Burger King, not a problem, they sell the same stuff except with Pepsi. Yuk. Anyway, Ronald is less creepy than that weird king thing. Hasn't Wendy transformed into a fetching little moppet since Dave bit the big Baconator? Come to think of it, the Burger King looks like those white masks anti-globalization anarchists wear; loved it when they attacked a Starbucks. But those Starbuckers are selling coffee, fucking coffee, for five bucks a cup or whatever. The margins must be sweeter than sugar. Maybe we can get into that? Might increase same store traffic and bump the brand’s top of mind? Maybe we give coffee away? Call them McCafes? First taste is free, hee-hee. Subway’s been a burr up our ass, what, 44,000 stores? Eat fresh, indeed, the bread dough’s frozen. Deli sandwiches, who cares? We tried them for three months. They weren’t exactly in our wheelhouse. Still Subway’s customers can customize their orders, choose their toppings. There might be something to that even though it goes against the way we’ve conducted business for 75 years. We kicked Harland Sanders’ ass, rammed up 11 herbs and spices with Chicken McNuggets. Granted McRibs and the Arch Deluxe didn’t quite fit into the old Colonel, nor did McPizza come to think of it, but we can change. We can. Fuck! What if we actually offered customers a choice!? Hmm, we don’t know, the kitchen line would grind to a halt. Fuck it, you get what you get from Taco Bell, right? Bastards. They don’t fuck around with salads, granola and yogurt. They don’t make burgers even as we’ve experimented with burritos. No, they seem to stick to what they’re best at. And their core customers tend to return more frequently because they know what to expect and they’re not confused by an overly elaborate menu. Well, fuck us, there’s an idea… Nah. Get the Hamburglar on speaker phone and patch in Canada! We’ve got a solution!’

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