When I was a kid, McDonald's was the thing. If my parents had a little extra cash, we would stop at McDonald's, and my brother and I were in kid heaven. It was a big deal to get to go to McDonald's. I don't even know if there were any other fast food places open at the time, because McDonald's was IT for a kid. Sure, Ronald McDonald looked a bit creepy, and I'm still not sure what was up with that purple dude, but every kid I knew went to that place. And I remember that the food was actually good. Tasty. The cheeseburger that my parents usually split between my brother and I was hot and juicy, and the french fries were crispy, with just the right amount of salt on them.
Then we went to Germany, in 1973. No McDonald's in Germany, at least where we were. Glum doesn't begin to describe being a kid in a place with no McDonald's. We tried to fill the void with gummi bears, but it never worked. We remembered the deliciousness of a McDonald's cheeseburger, and the microwave cheeseburgers they sold at the military snack bar just didn't cut it.
Oh, it was a happy day when we came home from school and my mother informed us that a McDonald's was opening nearby. My dad was cajoled/coerced into bringing us home burgers that night, and instead of a cheeseburger, he brought us home a Big Mac. In fact, he brought home about 40 Big Macs, because every single neighbor in the building wanted McDonald's for supper, too. And I can remember biting into that Big Mac and falling in love with it right there on the spot. It was now my new Favorite Food, right up there with gummi bears and weinerschnitzel. And it wasn't just me and my uninformed palate; EVERYBODY liked McDonald's in the 70s.
But when we came back from Germany, something had changed about McDonald's. The meat in the burgers was dry, the slice of cheese on the cheeseburger was tinier. There were fewer onions and pickles, and less of the condiments. They had more competition. Kids had more places to choose from, and their parents as well. My family didn't go to McDonald's too much; it became rather blah.
But we all knew it was a shame. McDonald's seemed to become way more interested in the Next Big Thing, like the McRib, to beat out the competition. They've been chasing that prize ever since, and the result has been a huge mess. Just today they were advertising some Buttermilk Chicken-something. Now they are planning on serving breakfast all day. If McDonald's really wants to improve their business, I think that the best way is to focus on the sandwiches they already sell rather than trying to come up with new gimmicks. Chipotle made it big by bragging about how they use actual food in their meals, and if that make people buy their not so interesting fare, McDonald's can do it as well. Make those burgers hot and juicy again, and maybe use a real slice of cheese instead of a tiny square. Change up the fish sandwich, too, while you're at it, for all those Catholics that show up for Lent. The last fish sandwich I had was so dry I actually had to use half a bottle of ketchup to choke it down. That's no way to do business, I don't care what that Trump character hollers. If you sell food, it should be good food.
And for gosh sake, teach your employees to get the darn orders correct! Nothing upsets me more than getting home and finding half of my order is wrong. There's a reason that Joe Pesci line from the Lethal Weapon franchise resonated with so many people; it really DOES seem like they try to mess with you at the drive thru! It is time to stop that, it is not good customer service. I enunciate very clearly when I order, so the problem is not with me. Using that screen to make sure that the order is correct doesn't solve the problem, either, since what is on that screen and what goes in the bag don't always match. Do what you need to do to fix that, McDonald's.