Entries in McDonald's (39)


Burger King Challenges McDonald's McRib

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Burger King has thrown down the gauntlet in the fast-food wars, announcing a competitor to the McRib sandwich beloved by McDonald’s customers.

The 59-year-old Burger King chain’s 2013 summer menu, unveiled Wednesday, includes the new BBQ Rib sandwich, featuring a boneless rib patty, just like the McRib.

The BBQ Rib sandwich will also be topped with a ”sweet and tangy BBQ Sauce, crispy bread and butter pickles, all on a warm toasted artisan style bun,” according to information provided to ABC News by the company, which declined to comment further.

The McRib is a 500-calorie rib sandwich with barbecue sauce, pickles and onions.

Also like the McRib, whose return to the McDonald’s menu is a headline-making affair with its own Twitter handle, the BBQ Rib will be available only temporarily, in this case beginning May 21 and lasting through the summer.

“McDonald’s continues to focus on our business and on our customers,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman told ABC News. “At this time I do not have any information on the McRib.”

Burger King’s new BBQ Rib sandwich, priced at $3.49, is the latest attempt by the Miami-based fast food chain to revamp its menu to compete with longtime competitors, such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s, and new faces on the market, such as Panera and even Starbucks.

In March, Burger King added a limited-time turkey burger to its lineup, along with a veggie burger, bacon-stuffed cheddar beef burger, chipotle chicken sandwich and wrap, and a chipotle whopper.

“Our guests have grown to look for a variety of options,” Eric Hirschhorn, Burger King’s vice president of global innovation, told USA Today in announcing the BBQ Rib Sandwich. “It’s not just about beef anymore but other proteins like chicken and turkey and pork.”

Burger King’s new summer menu includes not just the BBQ Rib sandwich, but 12 other new menu items, including a Memphis Pulled Pork sandwich, Carolina BBQ Whopper, sweet potato fries, a new BBQ Chicken Salad and new desserts inspired by Oreo cookies.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Foreign Student Says He Paid $3,000 for McDonald’s Work Study

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A student from Argentina said he was “exploited” by a work-study program at a McDonald’s franchise in Pennsylvania.

Jorge Rios, 27, came to the United States in December 2012.  As part of a J-1 summer work travel program with a student work visa from the U.S. State Department, Rios said he was not paid overtime and had to be on call at all times of the day as an employee at a McDonald’s near Harrisburg, Pa.

He and about 17 other foreign students say they paid around $3,000 to $4,000 for visa costs, plane tickets and other expenses.

“We have been exploited by McDonald’s because we have been working for McDonald’s but we did not receive overtime or the fact that we have been put to be on call all day had to do with the way McDonald’s designed our schedules,” he said.

The State Department does not charge fees for people to participate in the summer work travel program, which requires jobs to be seasonal or temporary.  Instead, private companies charge fees to help bring students to the U.S. as in this case.

Rios, a student at the National University of Misiones, or the Universidad Nacional de Misiones, in Posadas, Argentina, came to the U.S. during his summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

He complained to the State Department about the private “host” company that brought him to the U.S.  

A spokeswoman for the State Department said they are “investigating the situation,” adding that they conduct site visits to ensure the health and safety of participants.  Last summer, the State Department conducted 650 site visits in 31 states.

In the U.S. last summer, there were 73,808 people who participated in the summer work travel program, which has the goal of providing an American cultural experience to foreign students.

During the winter months, there were 8,215 program participants like Rios.  In this cycle, the State Department conducted 226 site visits in 24 states so far.

Rios started a petition in partnership with the National Guestworker Alliance, asking Don Thompson, McDonald’s Corporation’s president and CEO, for overtime pay and to sign an agreement with the alliance to guarantee “basic labor standards” for guest workers like him.

Rios and 14 other visiting workers have staged protests at McDonald’s in Pennsylvania and plan to stage a protest in New York City this week.  The scheduled hours for the workers varied widely from week to week, from a few hours to 45 or 60 hours a week without overtime, they said.

“We expected to have 40 hours of work a week, but we were given as little as four hours a week at the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour,” Rios said in the petition.  “The employer knew we were desperate for more hours, and he kept us on call to come in with 30 minutes’ notice all day and night.  I didn’t even have time to visit the public library.”

A spokesman for McDonald’s Corporation provided this statement: “We take the well-being of the employees working in McDonald’s restaurants seriously.  We are working closely with the franchisee to investigate the claims surrounding his program.”

The franchise owner did not return a request for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Burger King Twitter Account Hacked to Look Like McDonald’s

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- You could call it the Big Mac of Twitter hacks. Burger King’s Twitter (@burgerking) account was hacked today. The account, which had more than 89,000 followers and was verified by Twitter, was made to look like McDonald’s with a McDonald’s logo.

The hacker posted tweets that Burger King had been sold to McDonald’s and the account had been taken over by McDonald’s employees. “We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you @DFNCTSC,” the hacker tweeted at 12:01 p.m. ET. @DFNCTSC is likely an account set up by the hacker. Several of the posts used obscenities or racial epithets.

For over 30 minutes the feed was filled with photos and videos making fun of Burger King. “We caught one of our employees in the bathroom doing this….” one of the tweets said. Along with it was a photo of a man injecting a syringe into his arm.

ABC News has not heard back from Twitter or Burger King regarding the account.

Earlier this month, Twitter reported 250,000 account passwords had been compromised by hackers.

The Burger King hack was the most prominent since last year when several Major League Baseball accounts were taken over by a hacker. The New York Yankees’ Twitter account reported at the time that shortstop Derek Jeter would be undergoing a sex change.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


McDonald’s Canada Reveals How They Make Famous Fries

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- McDonald’s Canada is at it again, demystifying its French fry recipe “from the farm all the way to the fryer.”

In its new behind-the-scenes video, Scott Gibson, manager of the company’s supply chain, takes customer questions on McDonald's world-famous fries.

Gibson addresses the first question asking whether or not the potatoes used by the fast food restaurant are real.  Standing in the middle of the Levesque farm with farmer Angelo Levesque, the two discuss how the potatoes are harvested and sorted at the farm.  They are then brought to McCain, the company’s fries supplier, to be prepped before heading to stores.

Mario Dupuis, production manager at McCain, describes how they prepare the fries by washing the potatoes to remove the rocks and the dirt and put them through a “peeling system.”

Afterwards, they are cut and blanched “to remove the natural sugars from the strips, this will prevent some variation in the color once we cook the product,” said McCain.

Next, they are washed in a textural solution to give it the “nice even coat we see in the restaurants,” said McCain, adding that they also use an ingredient on the strips to prevent the fries from greying or oxidizing.  Afterwards, they are dried and fried for 45 to 60 seconds.  Finally, they are frozen, packaged and shipped to stores.

Once in stores, the fries are deep-fried in 100 percent vegetable oil.  They are salted with about 1 tablespoon of salt per four orders of medium fries. 

For those concerned about salt intake, Gibson suggests that customers can order their fries without the salt.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Which Fast Food Joint Is Fastest?

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Which fast-food joint is the fastest of them all?

Wendy's takes the crown with an average 129.75 seconds, according to Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Magazine's annual Drive-Thru Performance Study of six national fast-food chains and one rotating brand. This year, that brand was Del Taco. Burger King came in seventh, barely hanging onto its crown with 201.33 seconds.

A call to Burger King for comment wasn't immediately returned.

By averaging the times during 318 visits to Wendy's, QSR Magazine found that Wendy's was 20 seconds faster than second-place Taco Bell.

However, speed may not be everything. One commenter on the QSR Magazine website stated, "I will take freshness and quality over speed every time!"

The magazine and Insula Research conducted the survey by visiting each restaurant between 203 to 362 times.

The fast-food industry doesn't exactly have an equivalent to the computer chip industry's Moore's law, which predicted in the 1970s that processing power would double every two years. Complex menus have contributed to a plateau in drive-thru speed for the last seven or eight years, the magazine states.

A statement from Burger King noted that it "prides itself on providing excellent products and great service to all of our guests."

"As part of our HAVE IT YOUR WAY promise, we offer great-tasting products that are fresh and made-to-order for each guest; from flame-grilled hamburgers to smoothies and frappés," Burger King said. "The level of customization may delay the drive-thru experience."

QSR's other ratings included order accuracy, favorable exterior, condition of landscaping, speaker clarity and customer service. Here is its ranking of restaurants by average service times:

1) Wendy's
2) Taco Bell
3) Bojangles'
4) Krystal
5) McDonald's
6) Chick-fil-A
7) Burger King

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


McDonald’s McRib Back for Christmas

PRNewsFoto/McDonald's(CHICAGO) -- Fans of the popular McDonald’s McRib can stock up on their favorite seasonal sandwich in time for Christmas. 

According to a memo obtained by Advertising Age, McDonald’s plans to bring back the McRib starting at the second half of December.  McDonald’s planned to unveil the sandwich in mid-October, but the date was pushed back in an effort to boost year-end sales.

The McRib is a 500-calorie rib sandwich with barbecue sauce, pickles and onions. It hasn’t been available in the United States since last October.  In March, restaurants in Austria unveiled the McRibster, a jazzed-up version of the original.

Two new menu items will be unveiled this fall: a cheddar bacon onion angus burger and a chicken sandwich. Fish McBites are scheduled to appear on the menu in February, after the McRib is taken off.

A representative from McDonald’s could not be reached for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


McDonald's Will Start Showing Calorie Content Next Week

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Next week, McDonald's will become the largest fast-food chain in America to start displaying the calorie contents of its food items.

The company may be doing consumers' diet a favor, but there's another motive: the restaurant simply wants to get a jump start on federal menu-labeling requirements.

In any case, the chain's loyal fans may be interested to learn when they start seeing this information in front of their faces that the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese boasts 750 calories, while the favorite Big Mac is a mere 550.

But both have a ways to go to top McDonald's biggest calorie food item.  It's one that people often start their day with: the Big breakfast with hotcakes and large biscuit, a whopping 1,150 calories.

Eat two of those in one sitting and you've come close to the maximum calorie recommendation for the average U.S. male per day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vegetarian-Only McDonald's Opening in India

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- McDonald's is planning to open a vegetarian-only restaurant in India, the first ever in the fast food chain's history.

Since Hindus eschew beef and Muslims are non-pork eaters, McDonald's will debut its premiere no-meat outlet in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar next year.

It's location near the sacred Golden Temple shrine is another reason why this Golden Arches will skip meat products on its menu.

If all goes well, a second vegetarian-only McDonald's will open in Indian Kashmir, near a shrine that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

With a population of 1.24 billion, McDonald's figures it can add nicely to its "Billions and Billions Served" boast if the vegetarian-only outlets become a hit.

The company already has 271 restaurants in India with a menu that's 50 percent vegetarian.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


McDonald’s Mangles Attempt to Reach Ethnic Community in Minnesota

Keller Grayson Communications(ST. PAUL, Minnesota) -- McDonald’s likes to boast that “Nothing can do it like McDonald’s,” but that sentiment apparently failed to get through to the fast-food giant’s ad agency, which reportedly botched a billboard aimed at an Asian community in Minnesota.

The billboard is posted in an area of St. Paul, Minn., populated by members of the Hmong community, an Asian ethnic group originally from the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia.

The billboard is supposed to translate as: “Coffee gets you up, breakfast gets you going.”

Members of the local community say, however, that the sign’s Hmong “Yuavtxhawbpabraukojsawv yuavntxivzograukoj mus” wording is not how they speak.

“It sounds weird in Hmong because we don’t really talk like that,” Bruce Thao, 28, a St. Paul resident and doctoral candidate in social work, told the Pioneer Press newspaper.  “Either way, there should definitely be spaces in between those words.”

The ad also features a coffee cup with the Hmong words for “$1, large or small,” a local promo by McDonald’s to sell all drinks for $1.  Despite the bargain, the locals remain unimpressed by the targeted pitch.

“The text is also wrong, missing key breaks in the language,” Thai Lee, a local doctor, told the paper.  “As it stands right now, it doesn’t make sense at all.”

The Twin Cities of St. Paul and neighboring Minneapolis are home to the largest concentration of Hmong people in the United States, with more 64,000 residents, according to the Hmong American Partnership.

The Partnership, a Twin Cities-based social service and community development organization for the Hmong community, has not responded to a request for comment.

The billboard is the first time the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company has advertised in the Hmong language, a representative for Arnold Advertising, the global advertising firm that worked on the ad with McDonald’s, told the Pioneer Press.  Last week, the firm posted another McDonald’s Hmong-language ad on the other side of the city.

The fast-food giant has not commented on the controversy.  Both McDonald’s and Arnold Advertising did not return requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


McDonald's Suspends Purchases from Meat Plant Shut by USDA

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- McDonald's Wednesday became the second major U.S. fast food chain to stop buying beef from a California meat supplier after federal inspectors temporarily shut down the plant, citing evidence of "egregious, inhumane handling and treatment of livestock."

"Central Valley Meat (CVM) provided raw beef to several of our suppliers," said a McDonald's spokesperson. "However, upon learning about USDA's decision to suspend CVM, we took immediate action and suspended supply from this facility, pending further investigation."

The USDA took action after inspectors viewed an undercover video made at CVM's Hanford, Calif. facility over two weeks last month by an investigator for the animal rights group, Compassion Over Killing.

The video, which first aired publicly Tuesday on World News with Diane Sawyer, shows workers using electric prods on cattle that can barely walk. Compassion Over Killing also alleged that the company used potentially diseased "downer cows" and treated them in an inhumane manner.

On Tuesday, prior to the ABC News report, In-N-Out Burger announced that it would suspend purchases from CVM, which had provided 20 to 30 percent of the chain's beef.

In a statement to ABC News, the chain's chief operating officer, Mark Taylor, said, "In-N-Out Burger would never condone the inhumane treatment of animals, and, in fact, all of our suppliers must agree to abide by our strict standards for the humane treatment of cattle."

CVM is also a supplier of beef to U.S. schoolchildren. The USDA purchased 21 million pounds of meat from CVM last year for federal feeding programs, which includes the National School Lunch Program.  CVM provided 15.7 percent of the total beef purchased by the USDA in 2011.

Both McDonald's and the USDA stress that there were no food safety issues that prompted the shutdown at CVM and that beef purchased there was not compromised.

"McDonald's cares about how our food is sourced and we have a long history of action and commitment to improve the welfare of animals in our supply chain," said McDonald's in a statement. "There are behaviors in the video which appear to be unacceptable and would not adhere to the standards we demand of our suppliers."

McDonald's also characterized CVM as an "extremely small supplier" of beef to the chain, accounting for a "low single digit" percentage of its beef supply.

In a statement, the USDA said, "The Department works to ensure that product purchased for the Federal feeding programs meets stringent food safety standards and that processors comply with humane handling regulations. While some of the footage provided from this facility shows unacceptable treatment of cattle, it does not show anything that would compromise food safety."

The president of Central Valley Meat, Brian Coelho, said Tuesday that his company "[takes] these allegations [of abuse] seriously and we are committed to correcting any problems identified on the video as quickly as we possibly can." Coelho said the allegations "are both disturbing and surprising" because the plant is "under continuous inspection by USDA Food Safety and Inspection personnel who are empowered to take immediate action when they observe a problem."

Erica Meier, the executive director of Compassion Over Killing, said the failure of on-site federal inspectors was its own red flag.

"These abuses inside slaughter houses across the country are often happening right under the nose of government inspectors," said Meier.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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