Wednesday, September 02, 2015

McSimple

Place: McDonald's
Lunch: Big Mac, fries, Hi-C Orange Lavaburst

McDonald's has announced that they'll have an all-day breakfast menu starting next month, and WOW did they get a ton of publicity out of it.  They were all over the news yesterday and today.

The menu will be limited and different in various regions...the south will get biscuit sandwiches and drop wraps while others won't, for example...because there's apparently a delicate balance of available space in the kitchen to support this endeavor.

I talked a bit about what I felt was wrong with McDonald's a few months ago when the dreadful McSirloin burgers arrived (and died a quick death).  One of the things I suggested was simplifying the menu.  I would like to elaborate on that.  Because what one of the world's biggest brands needs is unsolicited advice from a random guy with a blog and no practical restaurant experience.

First off, strip the menu of all burgers except:

Hambuger
Cheeseburger
McDouble
Double Cheeseburger
Quarter Pounder
Double Quarter Pounder
Big Mac

That's it.  No burgers with tomato, ranch, or grilled onions.  Most of these burgers use just a few interchangeable ingredients.  The Big Mac is the most exotic offering listed, and all it uses differently is the double decker bun, lettuce, and special sauce.

Second, strip the menu of all chicken sandwiches except MAYBE McChicken.  You are NOT Chick-Fil-A, McDonald's, and you never will be.  Lose the premium chicken offerings.  I can't imagine these are anything but major money losers.

Third, lose the wraps and salads.  Nobody goes to McDonald's to eat healthy.  If you want to keep the apple slices and yogurt thingy, fine, but only if they're profitable to you.

Keep Chicken McNuggets and the fries, of course.

That leaves Filet-O-Fish.  I love the Filet-O-Fish, even as simple and overpriced as it is.  I don't know what the sales numbers are for that, but I almost wonder if it should become a seasonal item for Lent.  If it's good for McRib, why not.  That's how a lot of other chains handle fish.  If it's profitable year-round, great.  But if not...

As for beverages, keep McCafe.  That seems to be working for you.  That's fine.

Is that enough cutting to do a complete breakfast menu all day?  Because here's where I'm going with this...

FULL MENU ALL DAY.

Simplify the menu enough that you can offer EVERYTHING at ALL OPERATING HOURS.  Burgers and fries for breakfast.  Heck...Egg McMuffin and fries for breakfast.  Big Mac and hash round for dinner.  Instead of creating a situation where customers have to understand which breakfast offerings are available after breakfast hours.

Once you've cleared the garbage out of the kitchen, address pricing.  Because I'm guessing the classic burgers are so bloody expensive these days because those burgers are subsidizing losses on the premium sandwiches.

Think about it, McDonald's.

Get back to McBasics.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Call Me

Place: Taco Time
Lunch: Soft meat burrito, crispy chicken burrito, cheddar fries, Coke

Usually, I have a crispy beef taco for the beef portion of this meal, but I had a soft meat burrito for the first time in years recently and was all like "HOLY CRAP HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT THESE" so now I'm having them more often, yo.

Still, this is a lot of food, and I don't eat nearly as much as I used to in one sitting.

In writing about Windows Phone in our last lunch together, I got to thinking about all the cell phones I've carried over the years.  Phones have come a long way from that first one I had that did nothing more than make and receive calls that pretty much anyone with a high end scanner could eavesdrop on, so I thought it would be fun to share my memories of my more fondly remembered handsets, most of which I still have in a drawer labeled "Phone Boneyard", which is sort of sad when I think about how exciting it was to get these when they were new.

This does NOT include every handset I've ever owned...just the ones that still have a special place in my technology heart.

We'll start from the beginning...

Nokia 100 -  My one and only analog cell phone.  This was back in the day when $30 a month bought you fifteen minutes of airtime.  Anyone remember Airtouch Cellular?  Yeah.

Nokia 2190 - A co-worker at my last radio gig was the first person I knew to get one of these.  It was digital.  You could text people.  It stored voice mail.  That was the part that baffled us...we couldn't figure out if the voice mail was stored on a chip on the phone itself or on a remote server.  It was all so NEW AND AMAZING.

Nokia 6190 - It did everything the 2190 did, but it did it better and more efficiently in a smaller package.  And you could play Snake on it.  I still play Snake to this day, though it's via an app that emulates the display and even the phone keypad.

Ericsson T28 - This is the smallest phone I ever owned, and the first with Bluetooth.  I had a Bluetooth headset that had a big stem microphone with a blinky diode on the end of it that made people, even complete strangers, make Borg jokes at me.  "RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!"  But I loved the tiny handset size and the swimming pool blue on the display.  To this day, it's my favorite backlight hue.

Ericsson T39 - The T28's successor was slightly bulkier than its predecessor and had a slightly larger display.  It also was the first phone I had that could browse mobile websites.  It was not initially sold in the US, but I wanted one so badly that I actually called the alleged owner of a wireless shop in Sweden who used to promote himself on a Usenet forum with no way of knowing if he was legit or just trolling to steal credit card info.  But within days of its European release, I had my phone and no unusual charges on my credit card.  A co-worker was so impressed with it, HE called the same guy and got one too.  I actually still use this fourteen year-old handset to this day as a test phone.

Nokia N-Gage - HA HA HA HA!  Remember these?  The phone that you could play video games on if you didn't mind pulling out the battery to swap game cartridges?  The one with the phone speaker and microphone on the side so it looked like you were talking into a taco?  Yeah, I had one.  Technically, I suppose this was my first smart phone.  I actually downloaded RealPlayer on it and could stream radio while driving.  It was clunky, but fairly amazing too.  I was annoyed that it didn't come with Snake and that I had to find a hacked version to get it to work on the thing.  Actually, now that I think about it, this was my first phone with a color display.

Sony Ericsson W810 -  The "W" is for "Walkman", which made this model an iPod competitor.  And it worked well as a music player.  I carried a few Sony Ericsson handsets over the years because I felt they had the best menu interface, but the W810 was, as far as I'm concerned, the most beautiful candy bar-shaped handset ever made.  Elegant in black with chromed orange accents.  It was also my first useful camera phone (2MP) and the back ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE A CAMERA.  It even had a real shutter button that made it FEEL like a real camera, and a reflective orange dot on the face so you could see yourself for selfies.  They thought of selfies before selfies were even a thing.

Apple changed the world about a year after the W810 came out with the iPhone.  Now, all the cool phones are unremarkable displays with a button or three.  They're fantastic supercomputers that can do almost anything but cure cancer, but from a physical standpoint, they're hard to tell apart, really.

Still, I ordered a cheap used Windows Phone this weekend to add to my test phone arsenal and the overall collection.

It'll get some use before it makes its way to the boneyard and becomes a conversation piece of a bygone era.