Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bashing McDonald's 101 - BUSINESS

I mentioned in my very first posting that I was interested in the business and marketing aspect of the food industry just as much as I am in actual cooking. I don't try to reconcile the two, I just accept my fascination and go with it.

I realize though that many who read this blog may not care about this portion, so from now on, when I have a blog dedicated to the business of food, the last word of the title and the first line of the blog will have in full caps BUSINESS. That way, those of you here for the recipes can skip that particular posting, but be warned, you might miss a fun personal story or two, maybe even a rant. So let's get down to it.

BUSINESS:
It's trendy to bash McDonald's. It's politically correct to bash McDonald's. In fact, it's required for acceptance within the cool "change the world" crowd to throw derision at McDonalds.

Let's face facts, folks. It's mentally lazy and just plain silly.

Seems like once every few months, somebody somewhere makes a big deal out of reperforming that same experiment. "Oh, I put some McDonald's Chicken Nuggets on a shelf in my classroom/lab/kitchen five years ago and they still haven't decayed/rotted, etc. etc blah blah blah"

Yawn.

The book Fast Food Nation (2001) by Eric Schlosser and the documentary Super Size Me (2004) by Morgan Spurlock fueled the trend. Schlosser at least took the steps to fully research and investigate the topic. Spurlock, on the other hand, was chastised by scientist and even a few nutritionists for purposely creating a biased film intended to solely capitalize on the "bash McDonald's" trend, and then using that momentum to promote his wife's (now divorced) book detailing the detox diet she had developed. Translation: Spurlock's movie was nothing more than a promotional stunt and told us nothing we didn't already know -- eating at McDonald's for 30 days straight isn't good for you. (The documentary Fat Head by Tom Naughton shows that it's actually possible to lose weight eating only fast food and that Spurlock had to purposely over eat to obtain his predetermined results).

The catch is: McDonald's never claimed or advertised that they offer healthy food. They offer fast food cheap. That's it. That's their business model. And keep that in mind --- McDonald's is a business. They have no responsibility to make sure you eat well balanced healthy meals. That's your job.


McDonald's has fired back with a number of videos posted to their website, they included "healthier" choices to their menu, and have made efforts to debunk many of the claims that have been leveled at them.
Don't get me wrong. I understand the marketing aspect of any business. I know McDonald's isn't innocent. But they aren't the Great Satan either. Propaganda runs both ways with both sides painting themselves as a "good guy." I find marketing fascinating, and enjoy watching the trends and videos, etc. that businesses employ to entice customers to buy their food products. And I find McDonald's particularly fascinating because of their successful business model and how they've continued to thrive over the years when so many other fast food restaurants have failed. (In the spirit of full disclosure, when I was 16 I worked for McDonald's for three weeks, but quit after I was offered another job for more hours and money. That has been my only professional contact with the franchise. All other contact has been as a customer.)

I'll be tweeting a couple of McDonald's marketing videos I discovered on their website, but I thought I'd post them here as well for convenience.


Until Next Time...
You can watch this trailer for the film Fat Head so you make up you own mind about the claims made by Schlosser and Spurlock. 
Nuggettly Yours,
Michael