About a week or so ago I was reading the Sunday Honolulu Star Advertiser, which serves also as really good toilet paper. My only purpose of this paper is that they publish a daily Jumble puzzle and I love vocabulary scrambles.
Anyway, I get to the financial section, which is second best to the obituary page, and I see this article written by Charles Passy, who I assume writes for The Wall Street Journal. What got me was the title, 10 Things McDonalds Won’t tell You. How could I resist giving him credit and giving you a laugh?
Before listing the 10 points, he states that the food may be getting better, but the business is getting worse for Mickey D’s (my choice of the name). Now, for his 10 revelations:
1. We may have lost the recipe to our secret sauce.
But these days, things don’t seem golden under the Golden Arches. McDonald’s recently reported that its net income in the fourth quarter of 2014 dropped by 21 percent from a year earlier. And in January, the company changed management, with CEO Don Thompson retiring.
What’s behind the company’s woes? Some restaurant experts cite the Chipolte factor: Fast-casual chains- widely seen as healthier, and more popular with millenials – are grabbing market share. Others fault the proliferation of new items on the menu, which has been linked to slower service.
McDonald’s spokeswoman Becca Hary says that 2014 was a difficult year and performance fell short of our expectations, but that our management team is focused on regaining momentum.
PayScale, a firm that tracks compensation data, puts McDonald’s median pay for restaurant workers at $7.74 an hour, slightly below that of such competitors as Burger King at $7.96 and Wendy’s at $7.87. The nationwide minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Ms. Hary says the company supports “fair wages” aligned with a competitive market-place, and adds that any increase in the minimum wage should be gradual, to minimize its impact on employers.
3. We may not be as charitable as we seem.
But some critics have questioned how generous McDonald’s is. A 2013 report by public-health lawyer Michele Simon found that McDonald’s provided only one-fifth of the funding for RMHC in 2012. Simon also reported that McDonald’s gave 0.32 percent of its pretax profits to charity (based on a six-year average), while other corporations of similar size gave an average of 1.01 percent.
McDonald’s declined to comment on Ms. Simon’s report.
4. For every Big Mac success, we have plenty of Hula Burger flops.
Wall Street analysts say McDonald’s recent paucity of breakthrough items has some investors concerned.
5. We’ve faced plenty of challenges overseas.
In China, its meat supplier was accused of selling goods beyond their shelf life (more about this at the end). And after McDonald’s closed restaurants in Crimea following Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian region, several of the chain’s restaurants in Moscow, Sochi and other cities, ostensibly because of sanitation issues.
In a conference call before his retirement was announced, Mr. Thompson said McDonald’s was in recovery mode in Russia and China with a focus on winning customers back.
6. We’re still blamed for the obesity epidemic.
Since then, McDonald’s had added more menu items that nutritionists approve of, and eliminated the supersize option. But, nutritionists still fault much of its menu items as high in calories and saturated fat. Ms. Hary says the chain is providing information to enable our guests to make informed choices.
7. Pink-slime wasn’t our only controversial ingredient.
But food-safety advocates continue to express concern about McDonald’s beef, which isn’t hormone-free (some critics believe the hormones pose a health risk), and its breads, which contain azodicarbonamide, a chemical that makes breads fluffier but is also found in yoga mats.
McDonald’s says it is committed to being transparent about the ingredients it uses, and that it will begin purchasing verifiable sustainable beef in 2016 (until then, screw um).
8. Our franchisees aren’t always happy campers.
Franchisees have also complained about new menu items that result in slower service. Our kitchen comes to a halt when we get an order for a McWrap, one franchisee told The Wall Street Journal last year.
9. There could be more than one Ronald.
But while Ronald’s schedule would seem to demand deployment of multiple clowns, McDonald’s doesn’t publicly acknowledge that it employs more than one Ronald.
10. We’ve got a secret menu.
The Poor Man’s Big Mac, for example, is a McDouble burger with extra lettuce and special sauce instead og ketchup and mustard. The Chicken McGriddle is a McChicken patty between two McGriddle cakes. And, the Land, Sea and Air Burger? It’s a gut-busting alalgam of a Big Mac, a Filet-O-Fish and a MCchicken sandwich.
And this is how a reporter that values his job writes about McDonald’s. For me, instead of Golden Arches, the logo should be a Toilet Bowl to emphasize the fact that McDonald’s craps on everyone and anyone with no prejudice to race, color, religion or sexual preference.
The fact that they will change to a “better” beef in a year means that first we use up what we’ve got and then we buy new stuff that resembles beef.
But they are loved. Imagine what the pharmaceutical industry would be like without “Crapola D’s” and how many customers (Oh, I mean patients) the medical profession would lose if the fast food restaurants closed.
Wanna have some fun with an experiment? Go buy a Big Mac, take it home and put it somewhere while it’s in its original, unopened package for at least a month. Then go find it and open it. Betcha it’s still like it was when you bought it. The horrors thrust upon us never end.
So much for the bad news. How about we get to really, really, bad news?
Recently, in China, health officials found that flesh foods that were imported illegally, were in some cases, 40 years old.
From rat meat masquerading as lamb to tainted milk to exploding watermelons, Chinese consumers have become exposed to stomach-aching food scandals.
In a New York Times article it was reveled that unscrupulous flesh traders in China had been peddling tons of beef, pork and chicken wings that in some cases had been frozen for 40 years
The Chinese news media announced that authorities had seized nearly a half-billion dollars worth of smuggled frozen flesh that dated back to the 1970s.
As a result, many Chinese consumers were forced to consider becoming strict vegetarians.
What was seized was worth roughly $483 million and the nationwide crackdown spanned 14 provinces and regions.
The procedure was that flesh foods were shipped from abroad to Hong Kong and then brought to Vietnam, where traders would smuggle it across the Chinese border without declaring it to customs officials or going through the required inspection and quarantine procedures.
From there, as if it couldn’t get any worse, the criminals would often transport the flesh in unrefrigerated trucks to save costs and then refreeze it several times again before it reached customers.
In Changsha, the capital of central Hunan province, officials seized 800 tons of frozen flesh and estimated that one-third of flesh products on sale at the largest wholesale market were illegally imported and to put it bluntly, rotted!
In the USA, the time from slaughter to consumption is usually a week to ten days. If the nature of a dead body is to rot, turn grey, and stink to high heaven, why is it rosy-red with no odor when you buy it? Think about it!
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