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As a part of McDonald’s new “Rediscover What’s Under the Arches” campaign to turn their image from fatty fry eatery to a place of yogurt and oatmeal. The campaign involves inviting local foodies such as mommy and food bloggers to franchises and giving a tour of the healthier kitchen.
Of all the places where McDonald's may have a shot at turning their image around, Berkeley is unlikely to be one of them. Berkeley’s population is one of the most involved in anything unprocessed, organic, and most importantly, sustainable. Being one of the few small cities to be the home of three booming farmers markets, even the manager of Golin Harris, the PR firm leading the campaign agreed that “[They]’re up against a lot. In Berkeley, in particular there is a lot of negative feeling about the negative aspects of fast food…”
Recently the local bloggers (Rookie Moms, The Picky Eater: A Healthy Eating Blog, and Berkleyside) were invited for the behind the counter tour of the McDonald's in Berkley on San Pablo Ave. Each was met by two PR execs, a nutritionist and Thomas Parker the franchise owner of both the Berkeley McDonald's on San Pablo Avenue and the other on Shattuck and University.
Parker, who spent years at Hamburger University in Chicago learning how to run a McDonald's thought that his fresh tomatoes, lemons and lettuce were impressive while showing them off to the bloggers. Parker was also adamant that McDonalds is concerned with serving local and sustainable produce when possible.
None of the bloggers were excited enough about the minor changes to write about the tour on their blog, proving Berkley’s campaign highly unsuccessful. Not that anyone’s surprised; most of the popular restaurants here not only grill their hamburgers right before serving them (rather than the 15 min. maximum amount of time that McDonald's enforces) but also grind their own grass fed meat. Most popular Berkley menus are also seasonal and subject to change with trends in agriculture.
I personally don’t understand why they’re trying. Even as one of the most hated eateries in Berkeley, the franchise on San Pablo is still raking in aver 2.5 million dollars worth of sales annually. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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