Could 58 Million Customers Be Wrong?

Bucking the downward trend we see, hear and read about with mind-numbing frequency, McDonald's Corporation announced Tuesday it will open 650 more outlets in 2009! The fast-food chain also reported it currently serves 58 million customers a day – that's two million more than in 2007.

A McDonald's spokesman attributed the countercyclical success to "…smartMcdonalds
strategies." I'd suggest it has more to do with horrific dietary habits and the need for "comfort food" in hard times.

It pains me to see a company that is capitalizing on the ills of society profit in such an obscene way. The big oil companies are the same way: raking in record profits (until lately) while depleting natural resources and wreaking havoc on the environment.

So, who's the real villain? The smart, strategic McDonald's marketer or the gluttonous consumer who continues to inhale Mickey D's calorie-laden, artery-clogging meals in record numbers?

I'm sure McDonald's feels they're merely serving a market need and would argue that consumers are responsible for their own health (in much the same way the NRA argues that guns don't kill people. People kill people.).

Still, there's something fundamentally wrong with a landscape that sports decades-old, family-owned businesses going belly up while yet another greasy fast food restaurant puts up its golden arches.

My mind (and stomach) tells me that 58 million people are wrong. Dead wrong.

8 thoughts on “Could 58 Million Customers Be Wrong?

  1. My friends always go to mickey d’s…A) because you can get a college student discount so everything from the dollar menu drops to 69 cents and B) the food is ready in about five seconds so it’s perfect to eat on your way to class
    I still refuse to eat the food but many people at my school do!

  2. I disagree, med guy. People go to mickey d’s for the burgers and fries. Why do you think America’s obesity epidemic rose in direct proportion to McDonald’s growth and success?

  3. rep- you are wrong on this one. there was just a story the other day on GMA that talked about the entire new menu that McD’s offers including salads and healthy options. this post reminds me of a comic i saw a few weeks ago- angry, funny, but angry.

  4. I think we should applaud Ronald and his clan for knowing what their customers want, changing with the times (intorducing some healthier foods) and showing strong growth. Check out their stock price compared to the S&P over a 1, 5 and 10 year span. Not only are they providing cheap comfort foods (granted, they aren’t healthy and this guy doesn’t eat it), but they are beating thier compitition and making shareholders happy.

  5. You’re 100 percent, Greg. Consumers do have choices. But, McDonald’s is just like Disney in its marketing: absolutely relentless. It gets kids hooked at an early age, makes the restaurant seem more like a fun theme park and has turned our nation into junk food junkies.

  6. Lunch, Mickey D’s may have some low-cal alternatives on the menu, but that’s a pure image move. They know why the vast majority of their 58 million daily visitors frequent their eateries every day: to gorge on the cholesterol-laden Big Macs, fries and shakes. But, hey, point made. If people want to eat themselves to death, so be it.

  7. RepMan,
    While McDonald’s may be an “arch” enemy when it comes to quality food, the corporation is meeting a need and that’s providing a meal that is affordable to consumers who cannot afford $6-7 lunches every day. And with the economy on a downward spiral, there is even more belt-tightening when it comes to expenditures.
    But consumers have choices.

  8. Another topic I can bite into.
    Rep, you’ve got your growth story and you’re still ranting…
    I haven’t lunched at McDonald’s in years, but I have come to learn via the media/word-of-mouth that it does offer better choices on its menu. It’s cheese has moved since the relase of “Supersize Me,” and it is following the cheese. Also, I think the Big Mac has a diet friendly 500 or less calories (per reading “Eat This, Not That.”). It is also friendly on the wallet, no?
    If Ma and Pa lunch shops can’t compete on price or don’t have something to lure repeat customers, you can’t fault the Arches for that, can you?