McDonald’s has “Pester Power”

For a third time McD0nald’s takes the top honor at the Food Marketing Fame and Shame Awards. Apparently McDonalds is the best when it comes understanding and cashing in on the psychology of youngsters.

A panel of 200 parents voted on these awards. McDonald’s won the pester power award for their animated happy meal television ad’s. The also got the distinction of being the most irresponsible creator of food promotions for sponsoring a high school math website.


Burger King Make Over

Burger King will be rolling out a new design across all 12,000+ locations. They hope that the new design will boost sales. They say the new design has boosted sales already where it has been implemented. The new look is supposed to be more inviting in hopes of attracting more than a drive thru crowd.
Burger King also has plans to introduce an extra thick Steakhouse XT burger in February. It will be garnished with mayonnaise, fried onions, lettuce, steak sauce, cheese and tomatoes.

Whopper Wednesday 7 days a week!!

I just got back from Burger King. Yup, its Wednesday again. If you have been a member of my site for a while you know that I like to hit BK every week for Whopper Wednesday. Every Wednesday the King Deal is the Whopper. You get the meal for $3.99 or the burger for $1.99. I typically just get 2 burgers… why waste time with fries… 

Anyway, today when I received my order I got 2 coupons that will allow me to get the King Deal of my choice any day of the week. So, I am not restricted to Whopper Wednesday! Since there is a different King Deal every day regardless you are not really saving any money but you do get to enjoy the meal of your choice 7 days a week. I think it’s a great little promotion. I am sure this is their attempt to keep people visiting BK as opposed to running over to McDonald’s for the Monopoly promotion.

So… go get your king deal and enjoy.

Stephen Richardson

Canada Food Critic, Read, Dine, Review

McDonalds Monopoly falls short…

I was out running errand today around noon and so I decided I would have some fast food on my way home. I was driving up the street and I saw McDonald’s and they had their MONOPOLY IS BACK signs out front. Now, any other year this was a sure fire way to get me through the door. I love the monopoly promotion. However, today I almost made the turn but steered clear. I went to Burger King on the next block. This is the first time that the monopoly promo failed to get me through the door and I even surprised myself with the move.

I know why the promo has failed to grab my loyalty this year. I have been disappointed by McDonalds time and time again over the past year or two. The new products always disappoint and the Angus burger is my case and point. It’s a bland patty on tasteless bread requiring unusually large amounts of ketchup to add flavour. The Big Mac was never a choice that I liked. The Big Extra or Mc Extra was a favourite of mine but it shrank considerably in size. I could complain all day about McDonalds and their new menu but i will stop there.

The bottom line is that the highly effective Monopoly promo failed to work on me this year. Has it failed to work on you? Have it ever worked on you? Let us know.

Stephen Richardson

Pizza with what did you say… garlic??

My usual pizza place changed their crust and sauce and the pizza is just not same so I am now in the market for a new pizza joint to frequent.  This happens all too often. You find something you really like and for some reason there are changes made… who in their right mind messes with a winning product?

Anyway, in my search for a new pizza I decided to try Gabriel’s. Gabriel’s is a Ottawa pizza chain that seems to be on every street. Naturally the assumption has to be that these guys are great… wrong…they are not great they are just every where. I ordered a 4 topping pizza, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. MMMMM garlic. But wait they do not offer garlic. I asked the lady if garlic was an unusual request and she said well no, its fairly common. My next reply was, “well, if its common why are you not offering it?”. Turns out that the corporate big wigs making the choices have not yet chosen garlic as a topping. So, I ordered my pizza and it came to 23 and change for a large. When I got to the store to pick it up I was only charged $21. I am not sure if the discount was an error or a bribe to come back regardless of the garlic choice for a topping being absent.

Now for the important thing… was the pizza any good? Well, it was average. The crust was thick and doughy and I like thin crusts. The sauce was very nice and in my opinion the sauce counts for about 50% of a pizza’s quality. These guys are great for cheese lovers. My pizza had the amount of cheese that you would get for ordering it as an extra topping. Myself, I do not like my pizza buried under a think layer of  bland mozzarella cheese. I find that it distracts from all of the other flavours. The other thing that I notices was that the pepperoni were thrown on in a hurry because they were actually folded and bunched up. The mushrooms where almost non existant and the onions where not diced but strown on in long strings.

The pizza was just average… nothing special. I think I could make a better one here at home. I will continue my search for the perfect pizza over the next few months. The next one better have garlic as a topping or I will be moving to the next one without even ordering. Once you have tried garlic on your pizza you will never go without it.

So… 2 rules for pizza joints.

1. Don’t mess with a good thing.

2. Offer garlic as a topping.

 Stephen Richardson

What Happened To Fast Food?

Do you remember when fast food was “fast food”. There was a time long ago when fast food was coined “fast food” because it was fast. These days it seems like fast food is more hype, myth or possible folklore than a reality. If you show up to a fast food joint and there is a line with more than 10 people in it, good luck getting your food in less than 20 minutes.

 So what is the problem? I would like to say poor management but the managers are at the mercy of corporate headquarters. There was a time when you could walk into a fast food joint, place your order, pay for your order, and walk away with your order almost instantly. That’s because everything was made in advance. That burger I ordered came from a hot table with about 50 other burgers ready to go. Back then, nothing was made to order unless it was not a standard order. Back then, menu’s were simple; burgers and fries with a soda. A manager could predict the noon hour rush and start prepping the food early and have the proper staff on hand. The manager would likely know with a close degree of accuracy how many of each burger would sell. Now menus are larger. There are 10 different type of burgers, 6 different salads, a bunch of sandwiches and the list goes on. There are too many options and no chance of predicting what to have prepared early. If you want fast food keep it simple!!

There was also a time when fast food was cheap. Right now if I go to get a meal and I upsize the fries and drink I will pay between $8-$10 for my meal. A friend of mine pays $10-$12. I am not getting any more food than I did before but I am losing service. There was a time, like 2 years ago, when I would go to Burger King for 99 cent Jr. Whopper. Now they are about $2.50 regular price. That’s insanity. As far as McDonalds goes, they seem to have wandered down a devastating path in my opinion. I just boycott them now. I was hooked in the Big Extra which is now just an over priced crumb that fell off the side of a Whopper. I swear the Big Extra has shrank 50% in size and gained 50% in price. I thought the Big Extra was McDonald’s version of the Whopper when they launched it. Now it not even as big as a Jr. Whopper.

So this begs the question, why pay $8-$12 for food that has been shown to be extremely bad for your health and takes too long to receive considering the name “fast food”. Well, I pay it for the same reason as anyone else, I like fast food. That being said I rarely pay full price for fast food. I know what days to hit what joints for the daily specials on the meals. For example, I go to Burger King for what I call Whopper Wednesday’s. It’s a $2 whopper!! That’s a great deal. The meal is about $4.50 which is close to 50% off regular price.

So, what alternatives are there to over priced, slow fast food with no nutritional value? I guess you could stand in line at subway for a week or two for something healthier. I could be like Jarrod and lose a few hundred pounds. But lets be honest, the only way I would ever lose weight by eating subway is getting exercise dancing around from having to pee because of trying to hold my place in line when its already been 30 minutes and the Joe Blow 10 people in front of can not decide between the Meatball Marinara and the Chicken Pizziola which he is ordering for the health benefits and not realizing that the nutritional value is no better than the Whopper at Burger King next door.

Well, where does all of this leave you. If fast food is slow, expensive, and void of nutritional value, why not just go sit down at a chain restaurant and have a real meal. Most places have a lunch menu where your food is guaranteed fast. I believe Montana’s guarantees your food in 15 minutes or its free. Wouldn’t you rather be sitting for 15 minutes as opposed to standing in a line? Another option is Swiss Chalet. Right now they have an all you can eat lunch for $7.95. You get soup, salad, and bread sticks. If your going to spend around $10 why not get some service with that meal and I am sure there is more nutrition from a restaurant meal versus the fast food joint.

So, lets stop standing in line for over priced slow fast food and take a load off while waiting to be served from well… anything not fast food. Just cross your fingers and hope the server does a good job or otherwise your 15 minutes or its free turns into a 45 minute wait for the check. And its still not free because the food it self got there in 14 minutes and 59 seconds.

Stephen Richardson

McDonalds brings back Monopoly!

The Monopoly promo will begin October 6th 2009 here in Canada. However, right now if you visit you can get a free roll online and a chance to win $1,000,000. So, if you are monopoly fan or not just visit and go for the free roll. You have nothing to lose. You have to click Menu and then click $1,000,000 daily roll to get your first free code. The online game ends November 16th 2009.

 The unfortunate thing is that while McDonald’s claim to fame is Fast Food (Fast being debatable) their website is far from fast. I am running high speed internet (8 mbps) and the game board took forever to load. Something like 4-5 minutes wait time. That’s pathetic. You would think that if they plan to run an online promo and pay for web design they would at least spring for some super fast hosting.

 Good Luck,

 Stephen Richardson