To celebrate the world’s largest quick serve restaurant chain’s move to introduce calories on their menus nationally starting today, I took a colleague to eat breakfast at McDonald’s. It takes guts to lead and make controversial decisions, especially when the data shows there might be a negative impact on the bottom line. That story previously played out for several casual dining chains who eventually reversed their decision to list calorie counts on their menus.
Leadership Requires More
It would be easy for the industry to wait until they are regulated into action. This would hardly count as leadership but acquiescing to external factors. Leadership requires more. McDonalds stepped up to the challenge. According to Jan Fields, President of McDonald’s USA this is recognition that consumers are increasingly demanding this information. There are a number of organizations that have been pressuring food companies to increase their transparency regarding food nutrition over the years.
In certain cities, new regulations have taken effect to limit sizes of beverages, and require calories on menus. Quietly, McDonalds has been working for the last 30 years to improve information regarding nutrition while simultaneously creating new healthy options. Clearly they are in the business of serving reliable, low cost meals that appeal to evolving consumer tastes. As people become more aware of nutritional content of the meals they consume, this move makes sense. We suspect others will follow this market leader and over time we expect to see voluntary reporting of calories on all menus.
Leadership takes courage and we are encouraged to see this move in the marketplace. We look forward to the next move out of McDonald’s. Whether or not you are a fan of McDonald’s, you have to applaud this move. As for our breakfast, mine was 450 calories and my colleague’s was 420.