NEW YORK (AP) -- McDonald's wants to explain why its burgers may not rot and that there are no worms in its beef.
The world's biggest hamburger chain is confronting unappetizing questions as part of a U.S. campaign to beat back perceptions that it serves Frankenfood. The company has run similar campaigns in Canada and Australia and said Monday it's bringing the effort to its flagship market.
The push comes as McDonald's fights to boost its performance in the U.S., where sales slid 1.5 percent at established locations in the most recent quarter, following a 0.2 percent dip for last year. In addition to increased competition, McDonald's is trying to keep up with changing tastes, with places such as Chipotle marketing their food as more wholesome alternatives.
To improve the image of its food, McDonald's recently rolled out chicken wraps with sliced cucumbers and the option to substitute egg whites in breakfast sandwiches. It also plans to eventually let people swap out the french fries in value meals with options like salad or vegetables.
For its latest campaign, among the first issues McDonald's addresses are widely circulated online images and videos that show its burgers staying in tact after several weeks or even years. On its webpage, McDonald's says that's likely because the food has dehydrated, and that food needs moisture to form mold.
The company's responses to other questions such as "Does McDonald's beef contain worms?" are more direct: "No. Gross! End of story."
A video posted on the company's home page also showed Grant Imahara, a former host of the TV show "Mythbusters," touring a Cargill beef plant where McDonald's patties are made.
"Are there lips and eyeballs in there, Jimmy?" Imahara asks a plant supervisor, who explains that the patties only have beef trimmings. Another guide says the patties do not contain lean finely textured beef, an ingredient widely referred to as "pink slime" that became the subject of controversy a few years ago. McDonald's stopped using the ingredient about three years ago.
Ben Stringfellow, vice president of communications for McDonald's USA, said in a phone interview that the campaign is a new way of engaging with customers more directly. He noted people are demanding for more information about products across the board, not just from McDonald's.
"In many ways, it's the way the world is going," he said.
National TV ads will begin airing Monday letting people know about the push. McDonald's says people can submit questions via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The company plans to respond to the most common questions with videos or other posts, as well as responding one-on-one to questions, Stringfellow said.
Laura Ries, a marketing consultant based in Atlanta, noted McDonald's risks bringing up unappetizing thoughts some people may never have heard about.
"I didn't know people thought there were worms in its beef, or that they didn't use real chicken," Ries said.
Still, she agreed that companies have to be more responsive to questions from customers, especially at a time when people can amplify their concerns and criticisms to bigger audiences on social media.
We used to have a worker who came from an entitled family. Everyone knows at least one person from these kinds of families. They think they have money (they don't) and that they're better than everyone else (they are not).
Well, this worker of ours always came into work late, played with his phone, wore the wrong kind of uniform. Every now and then, for certain promotions, we get shirts that promote the new product we're selling. A few months before the incident I am about to tell, we had gotten a long sleeved blue shirt advertising our new popcorn chicken. We had since stopped selling them, so we no longer allowed the crew to wear them.
This worker, who we will call Arnold for the sake of this story, knew that he was not allowed to wear it and was told on multiple occasions of this fact.
One day Arnold came into work, and started working on some detail cleaning tasks we needed done. I noticed that he was wearing the wrong shirt (the popcorn chicken shirt instead of the normal work shirt) and commented on it.
He claimed that his regular shirt was in the wash. I informed him that he was being written up, as he is not in proper uniform, and he shrugged and said, "Okay, whatever."
I also told him I wanted the shirt at the end of his shift, so there would be no further issues with him wearing the wrong shirt. He came in with a different shirt on, so this was possible. I wrote him up, and he asked for a copy of his write up.
A bit odd, as people usually don't ask for them, but I obliged, as nothing I did on my end was wrong, and hey, why not?
Ten minutes later, Arnold is in the back, "working" on dishes. Another worker is pulled aside by a random customer, and then comes up to me to tell me that the random customer is Arnold's father, and that he would like to see him.
Sure, it's not too busy. I call Arnold up and to my surprise, Arnold is in his street clothes and sandals, carrying his work uniform and silently walks past me and out the store.
The father watches Arnold walk out, turns to me and starts absolutely screaming at me about how could I treat his son like that. Bellowing how we are low life people who pay shit for money, $1 an hour or something like that.
For ten minutes this guy flipped out on us. Screaming, hollering on about how Arnold was told that he could wear that shirt for as long as he wanted by the Store Manager and how bad we treat him. Yelling at him and how I was a low life who pays him shit for money, and I was a low life, and low life, and we would be hearing from his lawyer in the morning. And how DARE WE TREAT HIS SON LIKE THAT!!! LOW LIFE!!
After this all happened and the guy left, I just turned to everyone and laughed.
My guess is Poor Old Arnold, after a day of constantly being told "get off your phone" to the point where we take the phone away (He cried that it's HIS phone and HE PAYS FOR IT! Yeah, suck it up, it's being taken away from you temporarily and you can get it back at the end of your shift. That's what happens when you don't follow rules.) and coming in late, and not doing his job, he would go home to cry to Daddy Dearest about how we were horrible to him and treat him like the scum of the Earth, but we were really just getting him to work his job.
He had signed a sheet of paper at the beginning of his employment with us that he understood that he could not work without a proper full uniform on. He was not allowed on his phone, and any emergencies would have to be through the work phone (or just ask a Manager, we usually don't care) and that he had to be on time every day.
So even if we did hear from his lawyer, which we didn't of course, his lawyer couldn't do anything because we had documentation that he signed. If the lawyer had called, I would have told him right off the bat: "The day Arnold walked out, he was wearing the wrong uniform, and used his phone to contact his father without any permission from management," and the lawyer would have thanked me for our time and nothing would have happened.
He was the laughing stock of the store for the next six months, how he had Daddy Dearest quit for him.
Oh, and the Store Manager never said he could wear that shirt.
McDonald's is handing out free apple-themed snacks (pies and apple slices) to those waiting in line for the newest Apple product this morning, the iPhone 6. According to BurgerBusiness, McDonald's employees are handing out the snacks — along with shirts, sunglasses, and accessories for the new phones — to iPhone fanatics that have been in line since last night in front of Apple stores in New York City and Chicago.
Besides the fun pun aspect of the stunt, it makes good business sense too: The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are equipped with Apple Pay, a technology that allows people to use their devices to pay for meals. McDonald's is one of the first restaurants to adopt the technology, and diners will be able to use Apple Pay at the walk-in counter and at the drive thru. As for Android users — who apparently out number iPhone users two to one - McDonald's SVP-global chief digital officer Atif Rafiq tells Mashable that McDonald's systems "will be able to handle Google Wallet" and other payment systems that utilize the NFC technology. Now, who will be the first person to pay for a McDonald's apple pie with Apple Pay? The queue starts now.
From Yahoo News:
Police handcuffed several protesters in New York and Detroit on Thursday as they blocked traffic in the latest attempt to escalate their efforts to get McDonald's, Burger King and other fast-food companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour.
The protests, which are planned by labor organizers for about 150 cities nationwide throughout Thursday, are part of the "Fight for $15" campaign. Since the protests began in late 2012, organizers have switched up their tactics every few months. (AP)
From Huff Po:
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- About two dozen of this city's fast-food workers marched Thursday afternoon to a street corner that's home to a McDonald's, a Wendy's and a KFC. Calling for a living wage of $15, they seated themselves in the middle of a freeway entrance, backing up traffic as far as the eye could see.
Charleston police were eventually forced to pull them out of the street one by one, citing them for disorderly conduct in what were deemed "non-custodial" arrests. All told, 18 people -- most of them earning right around minimum wage -- were arrested next to the McDonald's parking lot.
"I'm just tired of seeing my family struggle," Robert Brown, a 20-year-old with short dreadlocks sprouting from his McDonald's visor, said right after a cop handed him a citation ordering him to appear in court. "I can't help them at all with what I make."
The Charleston arrests were part of Thursday's nationwide protest coordinated by Fight for $15, a union-backed campaign in which workers are demanding a $15 wage and union recognition. With the support of local labor and community groups, workers have been taking part in a series of intermittent one-day strikes in various cities over the past two years, shaming big fast-food companies like McDonald's over low pay and irregular hours.
Organizers billed Thursday's strikes and protests as an escalation of the campaign through civil disobedience. Notably, the demonstrations have spread well beyond big cities like New York and Chicago, where they were originally based. On Thursday, workers took to the streets in places like Durham, North Carolina; Tucson, Arizona; and Rochester, New York, according to news reports.
A Fight for $15 spokesperson said that roughly 500 people had been arrested in the demonstrations as of Thursday afternoon, though a portion of those appeared to be citations without arrest.
In instances that HuffPost could confirm, police arrested 47 people in Kansas City, Missouri; 27 in West Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 19 in New York City's Times Square; 30 in Detroit; 11 in San Diego; 8 in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania; seven in Miami; and three in Denver. Police also confirmed 19 citations in Chicago; 10 in Indianapolis; 13 in Hartford, Connecticut; and 10 in Las Vegas. In most cases, the arrests and citations came after protesters were blocking traffic.
The high-profile strikes -- which tend to draw national news coverage when they happen -- have helped progressive legislators push through minimum wage hikes on the state and local level in recent months, including a $15 wage floor that will slowly go into effect in Seattle. Even President Barack Obama has held up the protests as evidence that Congress needs to hike the federal minimum wage, which hasn't been raised since 2009. The current level of $7.25 is less than half of what the Fight for $15 campaign is calling for.
"You know what? If I were looking for a job that lets me build some security for my family, I’d join a union," Obama said Monday in a Labor Day speech. "If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union."
While the fast-food companies themselves have generally remained quiet, critics of the campaign who sympathize with the industry have tried to dismiss the protests as stunts orchestrated by the Service Employees International Union. The union has devoted millions of dollars to the campaign in an effort to bring unionism to what's generally a union-free industry.
With some exceptions, the fast-food strikes generally haven't been large enough to shut down restaurants. In fact, it isn't always clear how many of the people participating in a protest are striking workers. In Charleston on Thursday, several workers said they had the day off and wanted to take part in the protest; others told HuffPost they were missing a scheduled shift and were formally notifying their bosses they were taking part in a protected one-day strike.
Jonathan Bennett said he was supposed to be working at Arby's on Thursday.
"If we don't do this, I don't know who will," Bennett said. "$15 could change everything."
South Carolina does not mandate a minimum wage higher than the federal level. All of the workers interviewed by HuffPost on Thursday said they made less than $8 per hour at their restaurants. That works out to a full-time salary of about $16,000 per year, which is well below the poverty level for a family of three. Most workers said they don't get a full 40 hours each week, either.
As in other towns, the Charleston protest drew in just a small fraction of the city's actual fast-food workforce. But the fact that it was happening at all in South Carolina took onlookers by surprise. The state has the third-lowest union density in the nation, with little of the organized labor infrastructure that often helps lead a wage protest.
Dave Crossley, a local who came out in support of the protest, marveled at the line of workers bottling up traffic for blocks on Spring Street, chanting for "$15 and a union."
"This sort of thing doesn't happen in Charleston," he said.