Armchair Quarterbacking: McDonald’s

The Big Mac Promise
The Big Mac Promise

McDonald’s is in a financial crisis and is bleeding money.  And another report has the CEO saying that they are needing to evolve.  I agree.  McDonalds has been one my least favorite Drive Through’s for about 30 years now.  In fact, the only time I stop in a Mickey D’s is when I’m road tripping… Not to eat though.  Well, maybe sometimes.  But mainly just for the clean restrooms.  They may have the cleanest Men’s Rooms going coast to coast.

But let’s talk about that brand.  Yeah.  It needs to change.  First off, Ronald McDonald is a Clown.  Everyone hates clowns.  Clowns need to go away forever.  Seriously.  Every time I see a clown, I think “Rule #2”.  When McDonalds started out – there was no Clowns.  McDonald’s started in the 50’s, but the clown didn’t show up until 1963.  There was no need for that other than an attempt to market to children… and really kids don’t need a clown to inspire them to chow down on fatty salty and sugary foods.    Kid’s don’t drive the car that pulls into parking lot and kids don’t have the Plastic to pay for an order.  Market to the folks that do.  The Child-Adults with cell phones that could do a space launch and an attention span of a Gold Fish and the life ambition of apathetic Person Of Walmart.  Or the guy with kids that doesn’t have time to cook.  Let’s look at that second guy.  Dude’s busy, has some kids in the car and want to get them some food because they are hungry and cranky and hey, he could use something to eat as well.

The Big Mac Reality
The Big Mac Reality

The Menu’s Flagship Burger – The Big Mac.  It’s pathetic.  It’s not big.  The meat patties are tiny and tasteless and if you are lucky you have a decent amount of shredded lettuce to at least keep the buns apart.  I generally like burgers that have something between the buns.  You have something called the Big Mac, it needs to be substantial.  The Quarter Pounder has a good patty… How about you use 2 Quarter Pounder patties in the Big Mac?  Forget everything else and think about that for a moment.  Look at what everyone else is doing… Big Thick Juicy Burgers.  McDonald’s, your burgers have not been thick or juicy for some time.   Forget your Specialty burgers that come and go – I’m talking about your core menu items.  The staples that have been around for as long as I can remember… Your patties suck.  They are too thin, and too small.  Seriously, I’ve had thicker patties from White Castle.    And when they get served they are generally cold and dry.    Get some meat in there.  The whole Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” series of commercials, they were talking about you, McDonald’s.  And you didn’t do anything about it.

Five Guys... Enough Said.
Five Guys… Enough Said.

The problem with McDonald’s is that you lost your Soul.  That clown stole it.  Go back to the source.  What you started out being.  Be that again.   You’re trying to be all things to all people and it’s just not working.  Outfits like In & Out Burger and Five Guys are smoking you.  Why?  Because they are giving their customers what they want… Something they want to eat.  They’ve embraced the fact that they are a fast food burger chain.   They decided they want to offer the best burgers that they can.   You guys?  Your gourmet specialty burgers are generally pretty dang sad… because they are made by the same non-engaged Min-Wager Clowns that don’t care about or even know about what a good burger is.

In & Out Burger.
In & Out Burger.

This is for the CEO of McDonald’s personally… Jump into a car with a friend that is truthful and honest with you.  And you guys go on a Road Trip.  Go to In & Out.  Go to Five Guys.  Go to the other top burger joints in the country and really look at and taste the food.  And then ask yourself why you can’t do that.  And all those reasons you come up with as to why you can’t make a damn good burger like that…. FIX THAT.  All those reasons should become your action points.   This isn’t Rocket Surgery… This is Burgers.

Your chicken sandwiches are not that bad… Not that great, but not bad.  I’m no judge of chicken though.  You’re fish sandwiches suck though.  Same reasons your burgers do now.  But that’s something else… You need to get back in touch with the burger.  Do that, everything else can fall into place.

Does this patch look familiar, McDonald's?
Does this patch look familiar, McDonald’s?

We’ve got a saying around here.  “No Clown Shoes”.   Get rid of the clowns… Relearn what a good burger is.  Get your soul back.   And while you are at it – get rid of the garish bright red and yellow.  Tone those colors down.   That will let people know you can be taken seriously.

Your fries are great.  Don’t touch them.


27 thoughts on “Armchair Quarterbacking: McDonald’s”

  1. McD’s breakfast sandwiches are pretty good. The McGriddles, I think they’re called? The ones that “have maple syrup baked into the biscuit” or whatever used to be a favorite of mine. And I still get them when I’m on a road trip outside of Wawa territory. Seriously, if you haven’t have a Wawa Breakfast Sizzli, especially the Sausage, Egg, & Cheese on French Toast, you haven’t truly lived… but I’m rambling. Sorry.

    Anywho, besides the breakfast sandwiches, McD’s sucks hard. Agree with everything you said about the burgers, and have something to add: order accuracy. Seriously, breakfast sandwiches aside, I can probably count the number of times the Min-Wage Workers have gotten our orders correct on my hands and have fingers left over. They want a $15/hour minimum wage? I’ll be open to discussing the matter when they can manage to hand me the same burger, side, and drink that I ordered and paid for at least three times in a row.

  2. Totally agreed on McD’s breakfast. There’s not much better than a sausage muffin/biscuit/burrito when you’re hitting the road. Sheetz is one of those better things but alas I no longer live in their territory…

    I think it’s a bit of an overstatement to say that McD’s is “bleeding money”. They made about 5.5 billion in profits last year. A 4% drop in that would be about 5.3 billion. It’s not a great trend for them but they’re hardly on the ropes.

  3. I’ve caught myself on a few occasions going to mickey D’s and just ordering fries then take a short jump to Hardies down the street (Carls Jr. for some of you) and getting one of their “Thick Burgers” and an ice tea. IMO the combination of those two is a great American combo for burger fast food, too bad that convenience doesn’t exist all over. While we’re on this subject its not just McDonalds that is faultering in terms of burger quality and marketing gimictry; Sonic is just as bad, Burger King good flavor but got cheap, Wendy’s is bland although I do dig their chicken sammichez, 5-Guys is meh…too over priced for what it is, White Castle…yuck.
    Finding my self “in the need” for such an unhealthy meal I can rely on the mom-n-pop joints to serve it justice. All hand made (not the robotic-premeasured-nuclear heated-chemical laced plastic) with the sloppy dripping goodness that God intended all while stimulating locally owned businesses, the way it should be. If McDonalds were to fold I wouldn’t miss it. Their philosiphy of marketing and shovel it out the door regardless of quality has come full circle, I hope they do close, not saying they will, but if they do….GOOD.

  4. Alas, the whole fast food thing is totally lost on me anymore since I realized that, no matter how tasty that burger ( or taco, or chicken, or pizza, etc) might be, the mcnugget making it probably didn’t wash his/her hands when he/she left the crapper.
    And cellophane gloves don’t equal clean.

  5. Breakfast menu. Yes. Fries, absolutely.

    Big Mac: joke.

    I patronize McDonald’s primarily because their Quarter Pounder does NOT have mayonnaise. I have a problem with it. That’s just me. But, have you ever tried to get any fast food joint to delete something that is not “standard.” Then when you open the bag – surprise! At least when I order a Quarter Pounder, I know they will not screw it up with mayonnaise.

    I know most people like mayonnaise, even love it. But for those of us with an aversion to it, or who just want to avoid the extra calories and fat, avoiding it can be a problem in fast food establishments.

  6. “And then ask yourself why you can’t do that. ” Because then you would be paying $20 for a Big Mac. And the fries have never tasted the same to me after they got rid of the beef fat tallow it was cooked in changing to pure vegie oil. This because some vegen threatened to sue cause of the beef in the frier, Sheesh!

  7. After reading this last night I was craving a good burger. So I went to Five Guys at lunch today and took care of that craving. Thanks Ogre!

  8. There’s some really great burgers to be had in my neck of the woods, I’d say I’m pretty spoiled, but I can’t say that I’ve got any problem with McDonalds. It’s almost like a comfort food for me. Your solutions are basically making different, more expensive burgers, which they’ve done and weren’t particularly successful at, sales-wise. The fancier burgers were actually pretty decent, too.

  9. The Big Mac stopped being big when I turned 12. Double-quarter pounder, cowboy.

    Considering McDs are part of my investment portfolio I should probably disagree on some level…but no. I eat their breakfast only since they’re about the only fast food joint using real eggs. Thats really about it.

    On the bright side, they’re the target of the $15 minimum wage campaign. If anyone can figure out a way to have a business model with a single manager, an engineering tech, and a legion of robots building me a DQP to my exact specs in real time for $5 with a side of fries, its McDs.

    1. Added bonus: our LEO friends would no longer need to worry about “it’s for a cop…” Robots can’t make it “good.”

    2. I expect that, once the initial investment was made, the operating costs would actually be lower.

      The burger components are actually made by robots, anyway – they are only assembled at the restaurant, and assembly is simpler than manufacturing.

      Anyone have a few million dollars they want to hand me so I can develop a burger-bot?

  10. Big Mac’s are suitably-sized for toddlers. My eight-year-old son will down a double Quarter Pounder and fries, and tell me he’s still hungry – and he’s well below average weight for his height, so it’s not just a matter of some fat kid stuffing himself. He’s active and needs the fuel, and their biggest offering is barely adequate.

    I can’t remember the last time I went there and was able to get away with ordering only a single burger for myself. I’m not the biggest fan of Wendy’s, but at least I can get a 3/4-pound burger there. Add fries and a couple chicken caesar wraps or something, and that’s something close to actually being a meal.

    And, as others have noted, get rid of the mayo. Mayo should not even be present within the walls of a burger joint. If you want that sort of goo dripping off your burger, I’m sure you can go find a glory hole somewhere and have the guys there fix it up for you…

  11. The last time I ate McD’s….was in Italy, on this deployment. I ONLY eat it when I am in a foreign country. They know what they are doing! Especially in Japan.

    But if this “restraunt” were to close, I wouldn’t care. Sonic, Steak N Shake, Cook Out (NC folks will know), and for chicken sammies I just go to Chik-Fil-A.

  12. Yes. Their food is toxic. I “has a cheezburger” from there once and awhile, but always feel crappy afterwards. My take.

  13. I agree, but at least in Alaska we can get a “McKinley Mac”. It is still a pitiful burger, but at least it is made with Quarter pounders.

    I used to go grab a Subway, and then McDonald’s fries for lunch. And then eat in the break room at McDonalds while working there in High School.

  14. One word: Whataburger. I don’t know what their range is, but they started out in Texas. We have them here in Oklahoma. Best fast food hamburger/fries combo there is…PERIOD.

  15. Culver’s does just about everything right, other than their unholy allegiance to Pepsi. There’s not a better fast food burger out there, if you ask me. I still turn to McD’s for breakfast, though.

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