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McDonalds Grows Up: Coffee, Wi-Fi Supplant Junk Food Image

Well, it would appear that the New York Times magazine isn’t the only iconic American institution undergoing a makeover. McDonald’s is...

Well, it would appear that the New York Times magazine isn’t the only iconic American institution undergoing a makeover. McDonald’s is changing its menu and ambiance to project a more grown-up image.

Over the past few years, the fast-food chain has embraced a whole new look and feel. On the menu end of things, it has begun offering healthier fare like salads, Asian chicken sandwiches and fruit smoothies. And on the appearance end of things, McDonald’s has also upgraded its look, offering free Wi-Fi, comfortable seats, funky lighting fixtures and cool wall hangings.

Front and center in this up-market move is coffee. According to Business Week, the company’s McCafe drinks, which were rolled out nationally in 2009, have driven revenue growth at the company in six of the past seven quarters. The idea has been to offer a lower-cost alternative to Starbucks (although Starbucks — which has had its own image makeover — disputes that McDonald’s is making serious inroads into its business).

The goal behind Mickey D’s transformation is to reach new, more sophisticated customers. And while that doesn’t mean renouncing its signature “Happy Meals” for children, the net effect is that the fast-food chain now feels more, well . . . adult. Indeed, among other casualties of the image overhaul is Ronald McDonald himself, who will now play a much more muted role in the company’s marketing.

Read the rest of this post at www.PoliticsDaily.com

Image: Ronald McDonald! by jesman via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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  1. BigLittleWolf March 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    A little bit of adulthood for McDonalds is just fine by me. Can’t say I ever cared for that red wig on you-know-who, and the fact remains that in our harried lives and digitally connected culture, we need a little more self-care (better food) and those omnipresent wifi connections (so we can work anywhere, anytime?) – at least – some of the time I’m convinced we need them. The former, if not the latter.

  2. daryl boylan March 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Bye-bye, Ronald, and I would say good riddance, except that I’m sure the overwhelming majority of kids & not-so-kids who go there will continue to pig out on the super-sizers. As my late husband was wont to say: “Americans would eat s*** if it held enough fat & salt.”

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