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McDonalds: You had me at 'Would you like Fries with that?'
Member Name: ljackson24
Advantages: Tastes delicious
Disadvantages: Unfeasably unhealthy
I am sure McDonalds doesn't really need an introduction, if you don't know what it is then chances are you live in a cave and therefore probably don't have internet access anyway.
However, I will give a brief outline of the company. McDonalds is the world's largest chain of burger fast food outlets, and was formed in California over 60 years ago by the McDonald brothers. Mcdonalds adopted the principle of speedy service, and the fast food concept was born. There are now more than 33,000 branches worldwide.
The McDonalds menu offers a fair choice of food, however pretty much all of it comes under the umbrella of 'greasy fast food.' Over the last few years the chain has tried to offer a few healthier options too although I'm not sure how many people take advantage of these...personally if I fancy something healthy I don't find that 'McDonalds' is the first word that springs to mind so I go elsewhere.
Burgers are the most common item to be found on a McDonalds menu, these include several variations such as the double cheese burger, plain hamburger, chicken burger, ¼ lb cheese burger, and many other varieties that have been given special McDonalds names. Most famous of all has to be the 'Big Mac' which is a double burger that includes salad, cheese, and a strangely delicious yet slightly suspicious sauce.
Burgers are normally purchased in a meal format, meaning they are accompanied by fries and a drink. The drinks selection is fairly wide and involves the usual soft drinks (coke, fanta, etc) as well as hot drinks, bottled water, and milkshakes.
Other McDonalds menu features include fries, (which as I mentioned come as part of a meal but can also be ordered separately) chicken nuggets, desserts, and the breakfast menu.
Desserts are mainly ice cream based, but also include apple pie, donuts, and muffins. The 'Mcflurry' is an ice cream dessert which can be topped with 'Smarties', 'Dairy Milk' pieces, or 'Crunchie' pieces.' Limited edition Mcflurrys are brought out regularly, for example they often bring out a 'Crème Egg' version at Easter.
The breakfast menu is served from around 6am until about 10am and offers a more suitable early morning alternative to burgers and fries. The main breakfast item is the 'Mcmuffin' which comes with beef, sausage, egg, cheese, or a combination of the four. Hash browns, pancakes, and bagels are also on offer at breakfast time.
Children are catered for via the 'Happy Meal' which has been around for years although has changed slightly in content. When I was young you had the choice of burger or chicken nuggets which was served with fries, and a soft drink of choice. Nowadays there are various options available include fruit bags, carrot sticks, and fruit drinks, but the unhealthy options still remain of course.
Now this is where opinions may differ strongly. I'm not going to lie, I LOVE the taste of McDonalds food, even though I know full well I am putting utter rubbish into my body, I still think it is delicious. Sometimes the burgers and literally dripping with grease, sometimes the chips are saturated with salt, but I still love it. I often feel absolutely revolting after gorging on a McDonalds meal, and too full and sluggish to do anything. However that feeling is always forgotten by the next time I see those golden arches and inevitably purchase a meal once again.
Many people claim that fast food chains such as McDonalds taste disgusting, but these places are extremely popular and successful, so personally I think that secretly nearly everyone loves McDonalds too. I definitely think McDonalds is more popular with the younger and often less health conscious generation, but they are certainly not the only customers. So many adults I know pretend that they would never eat at anywhere like McDonalds, yet there are always families in there and it definitely isn't just the children who are eating!
If you're someone who enjoys a big fat gourmet burger then I'm sure you're aware that McDonalds is not going to provide you with that. The burgers at McDonalds are extremely thin, and please be aware also that the cheese used in the burgers is one of those (plastic?) cheese slices - so don't be expecting finest mature chedder.
The prices at McDonalds have increased steadily since I was a child, and I can hardly believe how low some of the prices used to be. These days you can expect to pay around £4-£5 for a standard adult's meal and £2-£3 for a child's meal.
When looking at the prices of comparable fast food chains such as Burger King and KFC I would say that McDonalds is pretty similar in price, and probably in food quality too.
Even though McDonalds isn't overpriced compared to other fast food outlets, I personally think that these large fast food chains are quite overpriced in general for what they are. If I go to my local non branded takeaway and get a cheese burger and chips it is likely to cost around £3, and probably fill me up more to be honest.
At McDonalds, as a student I can get a free Mcflurry ice cream or a free cheese burger, if I purchase a meal and show a valid student card. Also there is a 'Saver Menu' so if you just fancy a small snack or drink you can purchase one for around £0.99-£1.49.
I have visited a high number of McDonalds outlets around the country (something which I am not proud of....) and the service is about the same level most of the time with little exception.
As one would expect from a fast food restaurant the service is, well um fast. The staff who take your food order at the counter are often lacking in customer service skills but personally I don't really care about this in somewhere like McDonalds. Don't get me wrong, service with a smile is always nice, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it if the person on the till at Maccy D's isn't displaying top class customer service. As long as I get the correct order easily and quickly, that's all I'm bothered about, I certainly don't expect the same as I would if I went to a fancy restaurant.
Having said this, a lot of people care more than I do about this matter, so for that reason it would be nice if staff were a little friendlier.
Cleanliness seems to be a very hit and miss issue for McDonalds. To be fair to them, there is often at least one member of staff who is constantly wiping and clearing tables, mopping the floor, emptying bins, and generally cleaning. Due to the high amount of people who are sometimes in McDonalds at one time, and the fact that the restaurants are open long hours if not all hours, it is obviously going to be a tough job to stay on top of the cleanliness. Overall I am fairly satisfied with the cleanliness of McDonalds restuarants.
As for the cleanliness of the kitchen, well I'm sure we've all heard horror stories about staff doing unthinkable things to food, and kitchens never being cleaned. I can't comment on this, like most people who say these things, I've never actually been in a McDonalds kitchen and don't plan on going in one any time soon.
McHealth (or lack of McHealth)
Ok so here is for some pretty revolting statistics about the nutritional value of McDonalds food (although I'm not sure that the words nutritional and McDonalds should be in the same sentence.)
If you were to purchase a medium Big Mac meal with a Coca Cola to drink, which I'd say is a pretty common order, you'd be looking at consuming around 1000 calories.
Yes, one thousand calories in one meal! You're probably aware that for us a woman that is half of our RDA (recommended daily allowance.) Oh and I forgot to mention the 40 grams of fat that are also in that meal....
Even a double cheeseburger, which is a relatively small burger available on the 'Pound Saver Menu' has 440 calories and 23 grams of fat in it!
Salt is another major issue when in comes to McDonalds food, most of the burgers will carry around half the daily allowance of salt. The chips are hit and miss as sometimes they taste extremely salty and other times not so much. Even when they don't taste too salty you can be sure there is a lot of salt hidden in them somewhere!
Another issue with McDonalds has always been where the ingredients come from, although they claim to use 100% beef and 100% chicken, there have been many sources to say otherwise. I recommend the book 'Fast Food Nation' by Eric Schlosser if you want to put yourself off McDonalds (although it hasn't put me off even though it does tell some disgusting horror stories about where the food comes from.) I am not going to comment further on this as I don't know what is actually factual regarding this subject and it's not my place to say.
Over the last few years McDonalds has made some noticeable changes to it's menu, which are most likely is response to the media often pointing to places like McDonalds as a cause for obesity in this country. As I mentioned earlier children are now given the options of fruit and carrot sticks in their meals. I also believe that the carrot sticks and fruit bags are available on the normal menu as individual items. There is also a small choice of salads available although I have eaten one before and it included cheese, a creamy ceaser dressing, and crispy chicken pieces, it certainly didn't seem all that healthy!
McLocations and McOpening Times
McDonalds are literally everywhere, as I'm sure you've noticed. If you are desperate to get to your nearest one and you don't know where it is, then you can find out on www.mcdonalds.co.uk.
Many branches open 24 hours, especially ones in London and other main city centres. I am pretty certain that even the ones that close at some point are open around 6am and shut very late.
As I manage to mention in about 90% of my reviews, I am currently living in France. I have had the pleasure of sampling my local 'McDo' many times since I arrived here and the differences between the UK and France with regards to McDonalds dining are fairly big. First of all imagine the (possibly) plastic cheese slice within a McDonalds burger being replaced with some ACTUAL cheese, for example goats cheese. Next imagine being able to wash your slightly improved burger down with a glass of beer. These possibilities become a reality when you choose to eat at a French McDonalds, it's very exciting.
Overall, I'd say the quality of McDonalds over here is much better, and everything certainly feels less greasy and slightly less bad for you. I never get that 'why am I doing this to myself' feeling after a French McDonalds and I just feel as though I have eaten any other normal meal. Unfortunately this has led to relatively frequent McDo visits which can never be a good thing for my health, my purse, or my reputation.
I'm Lovin it...ba da ba ba baaaa
To conclude, and I hate to say this, but I love McDonalds. I would literally eat three meals a day there if this wasn't the most revolting idea I've ever had in my life. Instead I settle with dining there far more often than anyone ever should, and wishing that healthy food tasted this good. I am hoping that something will click in my brain soon and I will suddenly realise just how bad for me this is and I'll stop eating it, but for now I am going to continue enjoying my glutinous McDonalds meals.
I will give McDonalds four stars out of five, as despite the fact that I love eating there, I really can't justify giving this ridiculously unhealthy food choice a full five stars.
Summary: Greasy burgers which for some reason taste delicious