Fries over rings: McDonald’s ends 41-year Olympic sponsorship

McDonald's at the OlympicsMcDonald’s Corp ended its 41-year-old sponsorship of the Olympic Games three years early, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday, reflecting the U.S. fast-food giant’s focus on its core business as well as rising Olympics sponsorship costs and declining TV ratings. McDonald’s deal would have run through the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and bowing out will likely to save it hundreds of million of dollars. McDonald’s has been trying to hold down costs as it invests in improving food quality, restaurant service and online ordering to woo back U.S. diners. While terms of Olympic sponsorship are not disclosed, a source who negotiated previous IOC sponsorship deals said that top global sponsors like McDonald’s spend about $100 million for a four-year period that includes a summer and winter games. Reuters previously reported that the IOC had wanted to roughly double fees to $200 million per four year period starting in 2021. More  Translate

McDonald’s lays out plan it hopes can reverse drop in visits

This Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, photo, shows the golden arches at sunset at a McDonald's restaurant in Robinson Township, Pa. McDonald’s Corp. says it will launch mobile order-and-pay and curbside pickup in the U.S. toward the end of 2017.McDonald’s acknowledged that it lost 500 million customer transactions in the U.S. since 2012, and said it plans to use tempting value deals to help win people back. The world’s biggest burger chain said Wednesday during its investor day in Chicago that much of that business was lost after it did away with its Dollar Menu. McDonald’s outlined its plans after having recorded its fourth straight year of declining guest counts at established U.S. locations in 2016. The company also trimmed its domestic store base for the second year in a row. To get more customers in the door, McDonald’s said it will also more aggressively market coffee and pastries and offer mobile order-and-pay by the end of the year. CEO Steve Easterbrook noted the huge potential of delivery, and that 75 percent of the population in the company’s top five markets — including the U.S. — living within three miles of a McDonald’s. More

Fast-food potato fries come with ecological impacts

Skinny, white friesThe popularity of Russet Burbank potatoes in North America, grown to meet demand for fast-food french fries, is said to have an ecological impact because their long growing season requires lots of fertilizer and fungicides. To grow these “bulked-up” tubers, farmers are encouraged to apply excessive applications of nitrogen fertilizer – recommendations have been designed to provide easy nitrogen access to the tubers. However, the extra nitrogen fertilizer not taken up by plants in wet, late season soils can transform to nitrious oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Nitrogen fertilizer remaining in the soil also transforms to nitrate, leaching into ground water. In order to make long, skinny, white French fries, processors are paying a premium to farmers for large Russet Burbank potatoes. Farmers grow what is profitable. The white colour of Russet Burbanks and the efficiency of excising optimal numbers of lengthy fries from these tubers are just the ticket for processors seeking to meet this peculiar market. The Little Potato Company ( is specializing in growing and processing small creamer potatoes. The ecological footprint of this product is much smaller than hefty potatoes for fries. More

The “Truth” about McDonald’s burger and fries

The "Truth" About McDonald's Burger and FriesPeople may deny it, but there are times when you really crave a McDonald’s burger, fries, or at least a Shamrock Shake. We all know that fast food isn’t really good for you, even if you just order a salad, but how bad is it really? People all over the world eat McDonald’s, and it looks really different depending where you go. It is true, to a point, that the locations in the United States don’t always have the healthiest options. It is also true that you have to balance what you eat with exercise. Making smart choices, like swapping out apple slices for french fries, can also make your meal healthier. Still, what if you don’t want to sacrifice for your trip? Let’s delve into what you’re putting into your body… More

McDonald’s adding new french fry flavor just for Japan based on nostalgic student snack

di-1Fast food giant is looking to school its rivals with new “college potato” fries. To succeed in the Japanese fast food industry, you’ve got to continually present people with new reasons to come through your doors. Just rolling out new main dishes isn’t enough, either. If you really want to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to regularly shake up your side order menu too. In pursuit of such innovation, we’ve seen McDonald’s Japan offer french fries with chocolate and pumpkin sauces. Now, the chain is getting ready to start selling a brand-new French fry creation, although it’s one that draws inspiration from Japanese comfort food. Going on sale next week are McDonald’s Japan’s daigaku imo french fries. Daigaku imo, literally meaning “college potato,” is a popular sweet potato snack with a sweet sauce, and allegedly gets its unusual name from being a hit with cash-strapped students looking for a cheap yet tasty way to quell their hunger between regular meals. More

McDonald’s are selling curly fries for a limited time only in Japan

Now, McDonald’s has delighted fast food fans by adding curly fries, which are coated in a special spicy seasoning, to its menu. Twister Fries were unveiled in 2015 and they proved so popular the burger joint has decided to bring them back for a limited time only. But there is one pretty expensive catch – the potato treat is only on sale in Japan. Twister Fries arrived back on the McDonald’s Japan menu this month, after previously popping up in 2015 for one month. This time around they’ll only be available in Japan from now until early February. More

Europe: McDonald’s used a quip about eating disorders from the SKAM hit series to market french fries

McDonald’s has joined the SKAM fad in what Resumé calls a ‘jackpot’ blitz ad campign. The social media ad quotes the Norwegian hit series, which has reached such popularity outside Norway that the music rights holders complained and forced the Norwegian broadcasting company to withdraw SKAM’s international online streaming availability. In Sweden, SKAM is the most streamed show ever on the public braodcasting network SVT, according to Sveriges Radio. As of January 16, over 20 million streaming sessions had been started. The ad read, ‘Kroppen din trenger potet,’ which translates to ‘Your body needs potatoes.’ While McDonald’s uses it as an incentive to buy French fries the original quote references the eating disorder of the character Noora. More

Consumers need not fear acrylamide levels in fries: McDonald’s

A McDonald’s spokesperson said consumers had nothing to fear from indulging in their favourite meal from the fast food store in view of the FSA’s warning earlier this week about the high levels of acrylamide present in fries, toast and other carbs. According to the spokesman, when the warning was released, fast-food chain McDonald’s meals already contained lower levels of acrylamide as compared with other food chains. It had been reported that McDonald’s had been taking steps to cut acrylamide in its food. Over the past decade McDonald’s had changed the variety and type of potatoes they used that had lower starch content and had also introduced new storage methods and processing conditions to limit the risk of acrylamide formation. Acrylamide is formed when sugars and proteins in starchy foods are roasted, fried, baked or toasted. More

McDonalds’ crackdown on ‘cancer-causing’ chemical – as nanny state warns of link between fries and killer disease

McDonald's it has been taking measures to reduce acrylamide, which health officials warned this week could increase a person's risk of cancerMcDonald’s said today it has been taking steps to reduce levels of acrylamide in its food for ten years. Earlier this week the Food Standards Agency warned high levels of the toxic chemical in fries, toast and other carbs could increase the risk of developing cancer. Animal studies have shown a link, but critics erupted with anger at the “nanny state” campaign, pointing out no study has found any such link in humans. A chemical reaction causes acrylamide to form when sugars and proteins in starchy foods are cooked at temperatures in excess of 120°C. The FSA said people should not keep potatoes in the fridge, because cold temperatures increase the risk of acrylamide formation – and the longer potatoes are kept the greater the risk too, their experts said. They said people should follow cooking instructions and aim for chips and toast to be a golden brown, but to avoid crispy, burned food. More

UK: Fast food chains introduce new controls on storage and cooking of potatoes after acrylamide warning

McDonald's have announced they will change the way their fries are prepared Fast food companies including McDonald’s are taking steps to reduce levels of a cancer-risk chemical in their fries. All the major chains, including KFC and Burger King, have been told by the Food Standards Agency of the dangers of acrylamide. The agency has this week issued warnings about levels of the chemical in fried and toasted food, as well as crisps, biscuits and baby food. Acrylamide forms on starchy food such as potatoes and bread when they are roasted, fried, baked or toasted at high temperatures. Skinny fries are likely to have more acrylamide than chunky chips because they have a greater surface area. McDonald’s has responded by introducing controls on the storage and cooking of the potatoes and fries it sells. At the same time, the British Hospitality Association has issued guidelines to restaurants, pubs and hotels on how to curtail levels of acrylamide. Bosses at McDonald’s in the UK have reduced acrylamide to low levels by using varieties of potato that have less starch and so are less likely to generate the chemical. They are making sure they are not stored in cold conditions and they are capping the temperature used to cook fries. More

‘The Founder’: Burgers, fries and a couple of wiseguys

Whether or not you eat what McDonald’s serves, let’s at least agree the fast-food giant has a knack for putting together unexpected ingredients in a way that no one had seen before. The same could be said about “The Founder,” the biographical film about Ray A. Kroc (played by Michael Keaton), the onetime milkshake-machine salesman who helped transform McDonald’s from a roadside stand in San Bernardino, Calif., to an empire of golden arches. The movie (in wide release Jan. 20) also stars Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as Richard and Maurice McDonald, the brothers (known as Dick and Mac) who created the namesake restaurants and invented the rapid-service system, then entered into an uneasy partnership with Kroc, who took over the company. If Kroc is the go-go-go engine of “The Founder,” then the McDonald brothers are its heart — the loyal siblings whose ingenuity and traditional values are eventually overwhelmed by their new partner’s relentless hustle. More

Film Review: In ‘The Founder’ backstabbing at McDonald’s with fries on the side

In John Lee Hancock’s “The Founder,” about Ray Kroc and the making of McDonald’s, the ingredients for success are ruthlessly simple. When Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling traveling salesmen selling milkshake mixers, first beelines to San Bernardino, California, in 1954 to get a look at Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch) McDonald’s burger joint, he stands agog at the counter. Moments after he orders, Kroc is handed his burger and fries in a bag, but he might as well have been flame-grilled by lightning. “But I just ordered,” he stutters. Kroc quickly recognizes the revolutionary power of the McDonalds’ restaurant and becomes its franchise-driver. “The Founder” is a quintessentially post-war American story about a self-made man largely made by others. Kroc, who died in 1984, fashioned himself as the “big picture” visionary to the McDonald brothers’ enterprise. As a gathering place for families, it will be “the new American church, open seven days a week,” he says. More

Curly fries now on the menu at McDonald’s Japan

Japan has almost 3,000 McDonald's locations.The classic french fry may be deliciously addictive, but let’s face it– there’s something pretty special about those perfectly twisted, slightly crispy, delicately seasoned and of course, bended and curled curly fries. For fast food lovers in Japan, the new year is already off to a spicy start as McDonald’s locations in the country have announced the return of its take on curly fries. According to Rocket News 24, curly fries are now available throughout the country, but they won’t be around for long. The McDonald’s Japan website explains  that the fries have a “spicy chili flavor blended with five kinds of spices, finished in seasoning which makes it a habit which everyone can enjoy.” The curly fries, which were a hit in 2015, are only available until early February. More

Pringles gets ‘loud’ with line of potato-free chips

Pringles' new line of potato-free chips called LOUD hit stores in January, 2017.Pringles is once again experimenting beyond the potato. The iconic snacks brand is rolling out a new chip line made of corn, grain and vegetables. (Don’t worry. Its classic line is staying put). Called “Loud,” the new line’s name emphasizes its five bold flavors: Fiery Chili Lime, Mighty Margherita Pizza, Salsa Fiesta, Spicy Queso and Super Cheesy Italian. Although ingredients such as grain and vegetables may suggest a healthier alternative, its caloric content is the same as its standard potato-based chips. “We’re not trying to convey that the new crisps are better for you,” Kurt Simon, senior director of marketing with Pringles’ parent company Kellogg, told CNNMoney. More

McDonald’s gives up control of its China business in $2 billion deal

[FILE] An exterior photograph of a new style McDonald's Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia.McDonald’s is selling off most of its China business in a deal worth as much as $2.1 billion. Citic, a massive Chinese financial firm, is taking the majority stake in McDonald’s operations in mainland China and Hong Kong. U.S. private equity giant The Carlyle Group, is also buying into the investment combo, taking a 28% stake. McDonald’s will hold the remaining 20% of the business. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said the fast food company’s new partners would bring a better understanding of the Chinese market. Customers in China could also see changes soon. McDonald’s says “menu innovation” and using digital technology are priorities for the new Chinese business. More

People must need coffee more than fries: Starbucks set to top McDonald’s as No. 1 chain

Starbuck's new upscale Reserve brand also could eventually generate $3 billion in sales, helped by pricier drinks.Starbucks is poised to overtake McDonald’s as the world’s most valuable restaurant chain, and the coffee giant could ultimately have a staggering 50,000 locations. That’s the prediction of Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski, who named Starbucks his top restaurant stock for 2017 in a report on Tuesday. He estimates that the company will increase its worldwide restaurant count by 8.4 percent this year and boost same-store sales by more than 5 percent. “It is only a matter of time before Starbucks overtakes McDonald’s as the largest market cap restaurant stock, although likely not in 2017,” said Kalinowski, an influential restaurant analyst. Though Starbucks has set a goal of having 37,000 cafes open by 2021, up from about 25,000 last year, Kalinowski sees potential for a much larger operation. “Well beyond 2021, we would not be surprised to see Starbucks exceed the 50,000-store level,” he said. More

McDonald’s Canada still fighting to change junk food reputation

The first Canadian McDonald's restaurant opened in Richmond, B.C. in 1967.The head of McDonald’s Canada wants you to know one thing as the Golden Arches prepares to mark their golden anniversary. “I will tell you straight out that the reputation we have for food is absolutely unfair, unrealistic and a total . . . fill in the blank,” president and CEO John Betts says, slamming his hand on a table during a recent interview. “It’s baloney.” Next year, McDonald’s will mark 50 years in Canada, an important milestone for a company that continues to fight a reputation for unhealthy eating. Since taking the helm of the Canadian operations eight years ago, Betts still finds himself trying to stop critics from using McDonald’s as an example of where not to eat. It’s an effort he sees as critical if the fast-food giant is to thrive at a time when Canadians are more nutrition-conscious. Known for its signature Big Macs and shoestring french fries, McDonald’s seems to be constantly overhauling its menu in an effort to satisfy customers’ preferences for healthier and more local choices. More

Proof McDonald’s is dominating the world as it opens at controversial new location

A portion of fries from McDonald'sA McDonald’s has opened in the Vatican. It’s open seven days a week, 6.30am to 11pm. The restaurant is just metres away from St Peter’s Square in a Vatican-owned building, 100 yards from the holy state, home of the Pope. McDonald’s openings are a common thing – but this one has caused a bit of fuss. The branch, which went unannounced by the company, and which has seen opposition from locals and members of the Catholic church, has been aptly dubbed “McVatican”. It was first reported by the Catholic Press Agency, but went unreported in the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. According to Rome’s La Repubblica newspaper, the Vatican will receive a monthly rent of 30,000 euros, and is situated on the ground floor of the building. Some cardinals – who say they weren’t consulted on the McDonald’s – live directly above the restaurant. More

PepsiCo wants to sell healthy food, consumers want chips

PepsiCo’s Lay’s, advertised above in New York, is the world’s largest food brand.An array of new products at a trade show in Atlanta this fall told the story of two PepsiCos. Anchoring one part of the display was a fiber-filled nut and fruit bar called Init and a sparkling lemonade with real lemon juice called Lemon Lemon. Nearby sat an assemblage of bright bags of Mac N’ Cheetos, new frozen cheese sticks resembling Cheetos, and Top N Go Doritos, a portable meal designed to be eaten with a fork and high in salt and fat. Here is a company pulled in two different directions. Chief executive Indra Nooyi has vowed to turn the maker of Fritos, Cheetos, Lay’s and Pepsi into a health juggernaut. But while consumers say they want to eat healthy, often what they really want is chips. Despite an expanding stable of “good for you’’ brands like Quaker oatmeal, Naked juice and Sabra hummus, PepsiCo Inc. fell behind the goal it made in 2010 to triple revenue from nutritious products to $30 billion this decade. Its new 2025 goal, announced in October, is that sales growth of its nutritious products “will outpace’’ the rest of its portfolio. More

US: WSU researchers celebrate after McDonald’s chooses their potatoes

potatoesIn the search to find the perfect potato for its iconic french fries, McDonald’s sets the gold standard among researchers and growers, and officials have recently selected two potato varieties developed in part by Washington State University researchers. The Clearwater and Blazer russets will join the Ranger and Umatilla russets, which were selected in 2000, as the four potato varieties WSU researchers helped to develop out of the seven total used by McDonald’s to produce its french fries. The multinational fast-food chain selects its potatoes on the basis of traits such as taste, texture, crop yield and storage quality. WSU researchers worked with breeders, physiologists, plant pathologists and agronomists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Idaho (UI) as a part of the Potato Variety Development & Improvement in the Northwest program. Continue reading

New McDonald’s french-fry video stars Idaho potato farmer, a Simplot supplier

McDonald’s chefs Jessica Foust and Dan Coudreaut toured Noble Farms in Glenns Ferry.In 1967, Idaho potato magnate J.R. Simplot shook hands with McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc, sealing a deal that made Simplot the first frozen french-fry supplier to the fast-food chain. That deal brought billions of dollars to the Idaho economy. Until then, McDonald’s had purchased only fresh potatoes. The J.R. Simplot Co. had supplied about 20 percent of the spuds that became McDonald’s fries. By convincing Kroc that frozen fries would deliver consistency and overcome a shortage of Russet Burbank potatoes in the summer, Simplot instantly became McDonald’s largest spud supplier. A McDonald’s marketing video released Nov. 11 offers a glimpse into the Boise company’s role without mentioning Simplot. The video features a Glenns Ferry potato farmer, Mark Noble, discussing potatoes with two McDonald’s chefs. Noble sells those potatoes to Simplot for processing into frozen fries. Since the legendary handshake, Simplot has diversified and grown into an international agribusiness that grossed $5.8 billion in sales last year. McDonald’s remains its largest customer. More

US: New potato varieties chosen for McDonald’s fries

pavek-and-tri-state-researchers-select-new-potato-varieties-webWhen it comes to potatoes, french fries are the big outlet for Columbia Basin farmers. And when it comes to selling french fries, McDonald’s is the holy grail. So for Washington State University potato researchers Rick Knowles and Mark Pavek, having a new variety chosen by McDonald’s is a big deal. In September, the worldwide fast-food chain chose two relatively new varieties developed in part by WSU researchers. “McDonald’s has expert tasters, kind of like with fine wine,” said horticulture professor Knowles. “Their gold standard potato for french fries is a Russet Burbank, which makes a great fry but is really inefficient from a production standpoint.” “We need something to replace it that still makes fries McDonald’s will accept,” Pavek said. A new variety can take 10-15 years to come to market from the time plants are first cross-pollinated, making it difficult to quickly replace a reliable yet inefficient potato. So when McDonald’s officially accepted the Clearwater Russet and Blazer Russet, everyone in the Tri-State Program rejoiced. More

Table service, touch-screen order kiosks coming to all U.S. McDonald’s

'McDonald's of the Future'McDonald’s on Thursday announced a bold plan to roll out its “experience of the future” concept, including kiosk ordering and table service, to restaurants in Chicago and other big U.S. cities in an effort to better compete with “better burger” rivals. The Oak Brook-based burger chain has nearly 500 redesigned restaurants around the country so far. The world’s largest burger chain will first focus the rollout in Chicago and a handful of other big U.S. cities, including Boston and Washington, D.C. But the company says it will eventually unveil the concept, which has already shown significant success in other countries like the U.K. and Australia, in all of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants. It didn’t offer a timeline or overall cost for the rollout. The plan to eventually redesign and upgrade all U.S. restaurants signals a significant change in the look and feel of eating at McDonald’s, and it also brings a great deal of risk More

Will McDonald’s do ‘something incredible’ with french fries?

McDonald’s turned its ship around last year on the strength of all-day breakfast. It’s a lesson to keep in mind, perhaps: whenever you run into trouble, think pancakes. But McDonald’s egg momentum is slowing down, according to one restaurant analyst who talked to franchisees. Many agree that McDonald’s discounts — or “discounting addiction” as Business Insider reports — are hurting business. BI quotes one owner imploring corporate to “do something incredible with our fires.” Ketchup isn’t enough these days. What about some sauce, cheese, spices? More

McDonald’s cooks up Digital Document Infrastructure

Jack Sylvester, director of learning technologies at McDonald's
(Image: McDonald's)McDonald’s worldwide has to onboard more than 700,000 people a year. A new cloud-based document infrastructure lets the company save money and time while keeping consistency high. McDonald’s french fries don’t make themselves. In a restaurant kitchen, every detail of their preparation has to be specified and repeated at high precision. The same detail goes into the recipe and execution of every item on the restaurant’s menu. When new people join the kitchen staff, training them on the recipes and procedures is critical to their becoming productive members of a restaurant team. Jack Sylvester has a hand in training more than 700,000 new team members every year. As director of learning technologies for McDonald’s Corporation, Sylvester is responsible for the platform used to train new employees for both McDonald’s corporate staff and its thousands of franchisees around the world. McDonald’s formed a partnership with Inkling for a platform to create electronic, rather than print, training and operations manuals. More