McDonalds is the largest fast food chain in the world. It is indeed one of the 90 largest companies in the world.
Founded in 1940 in United States, McDonalds is now present in 118 countries and has nearly 40.000 stores worldwide, 15.000 of which as US.
For all its size, McDonalds it is advisable to avoid McDonalds, because:
1 – 75 burgers sold per second – 75 burgers sold per second corresponds to 5,5 million head of cattle consumed year at McDonalds. This amount of food is estimated to feed 1% of worlds population daily.
If you go to McDonalds, you will indeed see a lot of people. These people create a Social Proof effect to McDonalds, which is a bias that makes it seem as more acceptable behavior, just because other people are doing it. This is the same bias that leads people to smoke and therefore it should be avoided.
2 – Breakfast menu – To start a day, don’t go to McDonalds. For breakfast in McDonalds you can get: Coffee, scrambled eggs with bacon, different burgers or sandwiches, croissants, yogurts, fruits and even pancakes.
Good menu right? Wrong. Coffee, yogurt and fruit are only things we can marginally consider to be healthy and we can get them elsewhere.
Offering breakfast is just another way to get people to come to the store. Specially in the morning we have most will power to eat well, so lets make the most out of it.
3 – Salad menu – If you are going for a healthy option at McDonalds you are in for a surprise. McDonalds salads are much more unhealthy than people believe.
If we are to look at McDonalds calorie count, we will not see this deception. A McDonalds salad is said to contain 222 calories. What makes a salad fatty is the dressings, which contains another 202 calories. Even without the dressing, it seems to me that 222 is a lot for a single meal.
4 – Happy Meal – McDonalds is not in business of selling food, they are in business of selling happiness.
We never have enough of happiness. It is an epidemic. Our society teaches us to be happiness seeking junkies, with every product aiming at making us a bit more happy.
McDonalds is happy to provide us with happiness. All food served is full of sugar, salt and fats, everything that our body craves, which gives us happiness indeed, but only is a short-term.
McDonalds partner Coca-Cola Corp. is also there to help. After all, it is a “happiness in a bottle”.
5 – Your drink – New research into soft drink revels an unexpected damage of drinking sugary beverages. Essentially, calories from sugar drinks are not the same as calories from solid food.
Soft drinks have liquid sugar, which biologically means that it goes much faster through our bodies, giving less time for body to process this sugar. In response body produce more insulin, which transforms sugar into fat.
What it means is that soft drinks make you fat faster than food with the same amount of calories.
6 – Kids Menu – Children are our future. Children are also the most susceptible to advertising and influence. This is why virtually every company wants to get us since we are young. If they do, they know that we will comeback time and time again.
To catch the kids McDonalds offers games and toys with its meals. As it happens McDonalds is the largest distributor of toys in the world. 1 in ever 5 purchases are estimated to be sold with a toy.
Quality of toys to the side (since I personally think that McDonalds toys quality is not that great for the biggest distributer of toys in the world), parents have to come to the store as well. This means that they will end up buying food that they might not have wanted.
So make yourself a favor. Take your kids somewhere else for food than McDonalds.
7 – Dollar menus – fast food is cheaper right? Wrong. Even if you chose a dollar menu, the average amount of money paid will exceed all original estimations.
Now, McDonalds does not publically reveal average revenue per customer, but it is very reasonable to expect that it exceeds the average price of a menu. This is because when we go to McDonalds (or even supermarket) we are expected to buy more things than we set up to buy, because of cross selling.
Still, for 5-10 dollars that you leave in a McDonalds you could have head a better meal, even in some cheap restaurants.
8 – Extra Large Menu – Would we like to have a small or large portion of food? Large, of course. It is an ego thing. We want to feel important.
Providing two options, one small and one large automatically makes a larger one more attractive, even if we have to pay more for it. Large things are just viewed by our psychology as a status objects. It is the same reason why we want to have big cars, big houses, a lot of possessions, and so on.
9 – Ready to go menus – Take away menus are nothing new. They are great for people who don’t have time or have perception of not having enough time (because lets face it, majority people just make it as an excuse).
Still, for fast service people have to accept being served lower quality premade food.
10 – Deserts – From ice creams, to donuts, to cooking and muffins, McDonalds offers a great variety of unhealthy sugary deserts you can eat after you finished your main extra large food.
It is a nice way to spend extra money and to visit McDonalds one more time.
McDonalds also offers a fruit salad for desert that no one will ever buy, so people have an excuse to call this company “healthy” and not to feel bad about themselves for eating all the other unhealthy food.
11 – Red and yellow logo – McDonalds is considered to be one of the most recognized brands in the world with its red and yellow colors. Little do people know that these colors lead us to buy more.
From psychology of colors we know that red stimulates our heartbeat because it represents dangerous. This it turn increases our digestion and makes us hungry, or
Red = Feeling of Hungry
Yellow has the similar effect as red, although somewhat weaker, but if you look close enough McDonalds yellow is the same color as their chips. “Do you want to have some chips with that?” Yes you do.
12 – Playground – As it is the case of happy meals, playgrounds are there just to give McDonalds a Happy look. In many communities these play ground, unfortunately, will be the best place to take children.
Once in the playground we are at McDonalds. Our chances of buying something skyrockets. Even if we can avoid all the advertising, we are subject to another force that can leads to buy – Reciprocity. Reciprocity is a favor for a favor principle. Essentially, by using McDonalds facilities we feel like we need to reciprocate and buy something.
In addition, the mere fact that company gets you inside the store makes it more plausible that you will return there on other occasion. This means that we should avoid unhealthy places like McDonalds altogether.
13 – Wedding and birthdays – For extra-dedicated consumer and for parents that don’t have much imagination on what to do on child’s birthday or their wedding, you can go to McDonalds.
Wedding and Birthday party at McDonalds is indeed a great way to show how low your life standards are.
14 – Environment – Lastly, McDonalds operations are often criticized for leaving a negative footprint on our planet. Among many direct and indirect consequences is a large gas emission, destruction of environment due to need for mass production and cruelty to animals.
Overall, I would suggest other places to go for food than McDonalds.