Tuesday, November 22, 2005

McDonald's: This Site's Rankin' It

Most people don't know about this next fast food chain, but that's okay. This blog has got you covered.

McDonald's is a fairly large chain of restaurants based in Oak Brook, IL. The first McDonald's restaurant was in Des Plaines, IL. Apparently there are 20 McDonald's establishments within 16 miles of this blog's home base, so it's possible there's one near you. It would seem that McDonald's is in 61 different countries, so it's also possible there's one near you if you're in, say, Oman.

Pros: Quite a few here. First, McDonald's is somewhat of a measuring stick for other fast food companies. Besides this, locations are everywhere, making it convenient to grab some McDonald's whenever you want (especially since many now offer 24-hour drive thrus). McDonald's burger menu is pretty solid, and their restaurants are usually pretty clean. Even though their burgers have a lot of extra condiments on them, it's a good combination and it's pretty palateable. This blog's chicken correspondent aptly describes McNuggets as "a classic fast food staple." A double cheeseburger is only 1 cent more than a regular cheeseburger, so that's a nice upgrade. McDonald's offers USA Today for sale if you want to read the paper while you eat, and many locations will have couches or other comfortable seating. For this site's money, not much is going to beat the Shamrock Shake when they offer it. An advantage that is unfortunate to even have to list is this: because McDonald's offers a lot of salad and fruit options, it's at least conceivable to drag your dieting friends there. Also a place that everyone wanted to go as a kid, so it's a good spot to bring kids. Playlands are definitely the best set up in fast food. McDonald's is the only fast food burger spot to offer Orange Hi-C, so that's a plus.

Cons: Also quite a few here. Because they have so many locations, service is erratic. You really have to feel out a particular location's service for yourself. Variations exist on friendliness, efficiency, product offerings, happy meal toys, and fry saltiness. This blog even knows of a location whose burgers are extremely prone to having grease drip off of the burger (not an altogether negative thing, but annoying when eating in a car). A very obnoxious con for McDonald's is their reactiveness. Because they're so huge and try to appeal to everyone at all times, bad ideas happen a lot. Among these include the decision to stop offering "super sizing," and starting up all of their health food garbage, like salad, fruit, and some parfait junk. This while very good items like the Big N' Tasty and the McRib fall by the wayside. Other than this, their apple and cherry pies are now baked instead of the delicious fried options they used to have. In order to standardize and save money, McDonald's stopped offering chocolate ice cream. The chocolate chip cookies McDonald's used to have were fantastic, but for some reason they are gone. Because of all the new healthy options, the extra value meal lineup was revamped, dropping this blog's favorite "2 Cheeseburgers" option. Single cheeseburger is overpriced if it's only 1 cent cheaper than a double. McDonald's always is searching for new good offerings, and may not give some ideas a fair shake. If someone likes a new McDonald's offering, there's half a chance that it won't be around next time they go there. A disadvantage is the afforementioned Playlands. Because of these, lots of kids are around, which isn't the greatest thing to have while you're eating. Lots of germs are present, and occasionally the kids are crying or in the way. Beverage options are not good at all. Regular Coca-Cola is the only non-diet dark soda offered. Thankfully Mello Yello and Orange Hi-C are there, but Coke is not the soda to have as your only non-diet dark cola. Especially when Powerade seems to be occupying a dark cola dispenser. Bad news.

Overall Ranking: 6.5 Fryers. It's a good spot, can't beat the convenience, thankfully they haven't wiped out the cheeseburger yet. Hard to maintain service consistency across so many locations, so this blog almost gives a pass to that. Bringing back chocolate ice cream and offering another dark soda would really help out their ranking. If McDonald's reversed their health initiative (this blog realizes the chances of this are low, but who'd have thought they'd go healthy 20 years ago?), brought back fried pies, backed off on the exercising stuff, and promoted super sizing once again, they could have a huge boost in ranking. The upside is so great, because after all, this is the place that everyone wanted to go to when they were a kid.

Burger-only Ranking: 7.0 fryers. Any time a burger has mustard and onions on it, and this blog doesn't deem it necessary to special order, it is a good thing. This blog thinks that the reason people go to McDonald's initially is because of the burgers, so it's hard to knock them. That said, they could take off the onions and mustard, or at least take less than 5 minutes to handle such a request, and be in better shape. They could also lower the price of the single cheeseburgers since there's likely some room for doing so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are 71 McDonald's establishments within 16 miles of this reader's home base, so your blog was very accurate in assessing the possibility of a restaurant being near me.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on your recommendation, I thought I'd check out one of these restaurants on my lunch hour today. I eagerly checked the website to see if there were any near my office, and sure enough, luckily I can have my choice of 69 restaurants within a 17.5 mile radius of me right now.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another excellent post, well done. My impression of cleanliness is that it is erratic. There are some very clean and well-maintained McDonalds, and also some dives. On behalf of my Dad, you could put coffee in the "pro" category.

- Dank

5:46 PM  
Blogger Cooler Brian said...

Everyone's coming out of the woodwork. Here we go:

1. Sweet, that's positive reinforcement, baby.

2. Whoa! 69!!

3. A fair point on the cleanliness. I guess I haven't been to too many unclean ones in the last 3 years, so I was giving them credit. Coffee will not be acknowledged in this blog.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to praise McDonald's for giving me the opportunity to order my usual - 3 Double Cheeseburgers and a Glass of Water - for less than $3.50. It makes a bright spot in any Mi-Wi road trip.

- Moike

11:31 AM  

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