Vlog: Fast food fades
: Here’s a vlog on the decline of fast food from a guy who was raised on the stuff; at last 6′ of my 6’4″ was built on fat, sugar, starch (and protein) from McDonald’s.
You can see the blog here: www.screenblast.com/buzzmachine; click on the Big Mac.
The script (click on “more” for the rest):
I am a child of many parents: a child of the sixties… of TV… of the Cold War… of Sputnik… of rock ‘n’ roll… and also of fast food.
Ronald McDonald was a father figure to me. I was raised on burgers ‘n’ fries.
But now I fear that fast food — the true American cuisine — is in decline.
> McDonald’s just posted its first loss in 47 years and its CEO is slinking away.
> Meanwhile, Burger King is being sold for a mere $1.5 billion dollars. That’s less than 1 buck for each of the 2.4 billion burgers BK sells annually.
Starbucks is worth five times more — and it doesn’t feed people, it only caffeinates them.
> McDonald’s is being sued for making Americans fat, as if we are a people force-fed like French geese.
> At the same time, the two burger behemoths are fighting it out with dollar-menus that discount their core products into unprofitability.
> Finally, desperately, McDonald’s now plans to monkey with the formula for its basic burger.
(No, they’re not going to introduce meat.) They’re going to spice up the taste and buff up the bun.
> You have to worry about a company that both discounts and changes it core product.
You also have to worry about a company that can’t decide what its core products are. McDonald’s spent a fortune to market a new flatbread chicken sandwich — only to pull it off the market (just as I was getting addicted to it)… and now they’re spending another fortune to REintroduce it.
I smell trouble.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I love American fast food.
Sure, be snotty about it: Be French.
But the truth is that even the French crave consistency as we do: Walk into any French boit and order a croque monsieur and it will be like every one other croque monsieur; it is the Gaellic Big Mac.
For the price, speed, and quality, nothing beats American fast food. I just wasted an hour in Friendly’s — thanks to my kids — only to have a gawdawful, overpriced, lukewarm, chewy/soggy chicken sandwich — and I had to leave a tip for the privilege.
I’ll take Mickey D’s or BK any day.
Fast food is a great invention of American economic ingenuity.
But it is failing.
And I’m not sure why.
It could be that these companies simply jumped the culinary shark, changing their products too often, or not paying attention to Ray Kroc’s god: quality control.
Or it could be that something fundamental is changing in America and the world: our taste is changing — or even more basic, our loyalty to brands is changing.
Look at the brands having trouble these days:
> McDonald’s… Burger King… Coke… Campbell’s Soup… even The Gap…
What ties these brands together?
My generation of Baby Boomers grew up with them.
Now we’re growing old … and so are these brands.
So the problem may not be that the burger culture is fading… It may be that the Boomer culture is fading.
Somebody, please pass me the Tums.