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(NPR)   More and more people are turning to fast food chains like McDonald's for healthier options, and as a result are boosting their profits   (npr.org) divider line 69
    More: Ironic, Mcdonald, account of profits, fast food restaurants, restaurant chains, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Cracker Barrel, Hudson Institute, Panera Bread  
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4404 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Feb 2013 at 4:11 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-08 12:35:52 AM
What's ironic?  Smaller portions require less product, pretty much the same amount of labor, and all other fixed costs (rent, utilities, etc) stay pretty much the same.  Of course a small french fry or small drink should be more profitable for a restaurant.  That's the whole reason portions got out of control in the first place.  It's cheaper to offer more matter on the plate than it is to do almost anything else that a restaurant can get a competitive advantage from.  Once you're cooking a fry you need the labor of washing, cutting, frying, serving, cashiering, cleaning up after the customer, etc.  Basically a fixed cost per customer order regardless of portion size.  Cutting and frying may take marginally longer, but not long enough to raise the overall labor cost typically.

That or if you're offering a healthy product that the competition doesn't, and it increases the number of customers you have it doesn't mean you have to change any of the fixed costs, maybe you'll need an extra employee or two to cover the extra customers, but the extra employees (if your pricing structure is properly accounted for) should pay for themselves from the extra customers they allow you to serve.  Add in the idea that places like Whole Foods seem to make work of people being willing to pay a premium for higher quality food and it should be easy to offer items that has less materials costs (fats are expensive) with a higher markup as a percentage over cost than the burger or fried food.

I'm not sure why any of this would be surprising.  That's the formula, more or less, that Subway seems to have been using for years.  Make people feel like they're getting a great value that's a healthier choice, a large enough portion that they'll be happy, but with a version that's healthy if they want it, and make sure that people have the perception of that being the best quick service option between value, quality, and healthiness.
 
2013-02-08 01:25:33 AM
I see.
 
2013-02-08 02:11:36 AM
It's like ten thousand sporks when all you need is a knife.
 
2013-02-08 02:24:18 AM
My 12 year old son watched "Super Size Me" and now he refuses to eat fast food. I'm not discouraging him in the least.
 
2013-02-08 02:26:05 AM

log_jammin: My 12 year old son watched "Super Size Me" and now he refuses to eat fast food. I'm not discouraging him in the least.


Now just show him "Super High Me" and he'll be ready to move to Portland.
 
2013-02-08 02:31:50 AM

davidphogan: Now just show him "Super High Me"


I'd rather he watched Dane Cook.
 
2013-02-08 02:39:12 AM

davidphogan: What's ironic?  Smaller portions require less product, pretty much the same amount of labor, and all other fixed costs (rent, utilities, etc) stay pretty much the same.  Of course a small french fry or small drink should be more profitable for a restaurant.  That's the whole reason portions got out of control in the first place.  It's cheaper to offer more matter on the plate than it is to do almost anything else that a restaurant can get a competitive advantage from.  Once you're cooking a fry you need the labor of washing, cutting, frying, serving, cashiering, cleaning up after the customer, etc.  Basically a fixed cost per customer order regardless of portion size.  Cutting and frying may take marginally longer, but not long enough to raise the overall labor cost typically.


I seem to recall hearing a while back that the packaging the food comes in costs them more than the food itself.
 
2013-02-08 02:49:51 AM

fusillade762: I seem to recall hearing a while back that the packaging the food comes in costs them more than the food itself.


Depends on the item/restaurant/packaging, but definitely possible.  I managed a place where per cup the cup cost more than the soda or coffee.  That's why refills were 1/2 price versus buying a cup of drink.  I can't think of many other foods where that would be true, I'm sure there are exceptions, but fountain drinks and coffee would be the really obvious ones to me.
 
2013-02-08 03:02:16 AM
log_jammin:  I'd rather he watched Dane Cook.

I'm calling child protective services.
 
2013-02-08 04:14:06 AM

log_jammin: davidphogan: Now just show him "Super High Me"

I'd rather he watched Dane Cook.


i'm calling the gay police!
 
2013-02-08 04:17:21 AM
How are people boosting their profits by eating fast food?

Sounds like some kinda pyramid scheme.
 
2013-02-08 04:20:33 AM
Eh, I'm all for eating healthier, but I'd rather not have to get out of my car to do so.

God bless you, Fast Food
 
2013-02-08 04:21:11 AM

SpdrJay: How are people boosting their profits by eating fast food?

Sounds like some kinda pyramid scheme.



encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
 
2013-02-08 04:23:03 AM

log_jammin: My 12 year old son watched "Super Size Me" and now he refuses to eat fast food. I'm not discouraging him in the least.


Well its good that hes not eating fast food. But personally all I learned from that film was that if you force feed yourself crappy food even after you're full, you're going to make yourself sick.
 
2013-02-08 04:27:21 AM

SpdrJay: How are people boosting their profits by eating fast food?


Pronoun Trouble
 
2013-02-08 04:31:43 AM
t2.gstatic.com
 
2013-02-08 04:49:18 AM
Sheesh.....

First the Hunt/Murder" thread now this Chain Restaurants Sales story.

NPR is really firing on all the derp cylinders this week.
 
2013-02-08 04:51:32 AM

log_jammin: davidphogan: Now just show him "Super High Me"

I'd rather he watched Dane Cook.


Why? You want him to grow up and steal jokes for a living, too?
 
2013-02-08 04:55:08 AM

phrawgh: [t2.gstatic.com image 240x188]


rape is fun
 
2013-02-08 05:04:11 AM
We're still ordering the burger and fries, mind you. But we're going for smaller portions and shunning sugary drinks.


It's freedom fries atMcDees!
 
2013-02-08 05:08:01 AM
www.zombiechristmas.com
 
2013-02-08 05:09:10 AM

davidphogan: What's ironic?  Smaller portions require less product, pretty much the same amount of labor, and all other fixed costs (rent, utilities, etc) stay pretty much the same.  Of course a small french fry or small drink should be more profitable for a restaurant.  That's the whole reason portions got out of control in the first place.  It's cheaper to offer more matter on the plate than it is to do almost anything else that a restaurant can get a competitive advantage from.  Once you're cooking a fry you need the labor of washing, cutting, frying, serving, cashiering, cleaning up after the customer, etc.  Basically a fixed cost per customer order regardless of portion size.  Cutting and frying may take marginally longer, but not long enough to raise the overall labor cost typically.

That or if you're offering a healthy product that the competition doesn't, and it increases the number of customers you have it doesn't mean you have to change any of the fixed costs, maybe you'll need an extra employee or two to cover the extra customers, but the extra employees (if your pricing structure is properly accounted for) should pay for themselves from the extra customers they allow you to serve.  Add in the idea that places like Whole Foods seem to make work of people being willing to pay a premium for higher quality food and it should be easy to offer items that has less materials costs (fats are expensive) with a higher markup as a percentage over cost than the burger or fried food.

I'm not sure why any of this would be surprising.  That's the formula, more or less, that Subway seems to have been using for years.  Make people feel like they're getting a great value that's a healthier choice, a large enough portion that they'll be happy, but with a version that's healthy if they want it, and make sure that people have the perception of that being the best quick service option between value, qualityI, and healthiness.


I have no idea what you are talking about.  Whay is a subway?hh
 
2013-02-08 05:12:28 AM

Mitch Mitchell: davidphogan: What's ironic?  Smaller portions require less product, pretty much the same amount of labor, and all other fixed costs (rent, utilities, etc) stay pretty much the same.  Of course a small french fry or small drink should be more profitable for a restaurant.  That's the whole reason portions got out of control in the first place.  It's cheaper to offer more matter on the plate than it is to do almost anything else that a restaurant can get a competitive advantage from.  Once you're cooking a fry you need the labor of washing, cutting, frying, serving, cashiering, cleaning up after the customer, etc.  Basically a fixed cost per customer order regardless of portion size.  Cutting and frying may take marginally longer, but not long enough to raise the overall labor cost typically.

That or if you're offering a healthy product that the competition doesn't, and it increases the number of customers you have it doesn't mean you have to change any of the fixed costs, maybe you'll need an extra employee or two to cover the extra customers, but the extra employees (if your pricing structure is properly accounted for) should pay for themselves from the extra customers they allow you to serve.  Add in the idea that places like Whole Foods seem to make work of people being willing to pay a premium for higher quality food and it should be easy to offer items that has less materials costs (fats are expensive) with a higher markup as a percentage over cost than the burger or fried food.

I'm not sure why any of this would be surprising.  That's the formula, more or less, that Subway seems to have been using for years.  Make people feel like they're getting a great value that's a healthier choice, a large enough portion that they'll be happy, but with a version that's healthy if they want it, and make sure that people have the perception of that being the best quick service option between value, qualityI, and healthiness.

I have no idea what you are talking about.  Whay ...


yes. whay is health food.  subway is health food.
 
2013-02-08 05:24:44 AM

Jon iz teh kewl: Mitch Mitchell: davidphogan: What's ironic?  Smaller portions require less product, pretty much the same amount of labor, and all other fixed costs (rent, utilities, etc) stay pretty much the same.  Of course a small french fry or small drink should be more profitable for a restaurant.  That's the whole reason portions got out of control in the first place.  It's cheaper to offer more matter on the plate than it is to do almost anything else that a restaurant can get a competitive advantage from.  Once you're cooking a fry you need the labor of washing, cutting, frying, serving, cashiering, cleaning up after the customer, etc.  Basically a fixed cost per customer order regardless of portion size.  Cutting and frying may take marginally longer, but not long enough to raise the overall labor cost typically.

That or if you're offering a healthy product that the competition doesn't, and it increases the number of customers you have it doesn't mean you have to change any of the fixed costs, maybe you'll need an extra employee or two to cover the extra customers, but the extra employees (if your pricing structure is properly accounted for) should pay for themselves from the extra customers they allow you to serve.  Add in the idea that places like Whole Foods seem to make work of people being willing to pay a premium for higher quality food and it should be easy to offer items that has less materials costs (fats are expensive) with a higher markup as a percentage over cost than the burger or fried food.

I'm not sure why any of this would be surprising.  That's the formula, more or less, that Subway seems to have been using for years.  Make people feel like they're getting a great value that's a healthier choice, a large enough portion that they'll be happy, but with a version that's healthy if they want it, and make sure that people have the perception of that being the best quick service option between value, qualityI, and healthiness.

I have no idea what you are talking about.  Whay ...

yes. whay is health food.  subway is health food.


If you have aides like Jared
 
2013-02-08 05:28:21 AM
People still believe fast food outlets' "healthier options" are actually healthy? Bwahahahahahaha (gasp) ha
 
2013-02-08 05:30:58 AM
look.  you don't NEED to EXERCISE.  just eat SUBWAY and you'll lose muscle, fat, etc..
 
2013-02-08 05:31:52 AM

Bob Down: People still believe fast food outlets' "healthier options" are actually healthy? Bwahahahahahaha (gasp) ha


I think the salads are the highest fat items on the menu at McDonalds.  All that ranch dressing.
 
2013-02-08 05:32:48 AM

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: Bob Down: People still believe fast food outlets' "healthier options" are actually healthy? Bwahahahahahaha (gasp) ha

I think the salads are the highest fat items on the menu at McDonalds.  All that ranch dressing.


yeah but a trillion $ goes to charity
mr. farmer / actor / comedian Newman sez so.
 
2013-02-08 05:52:39 AM

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: Bob Down: People still believe fast food outlets' "healthier options" are actually healthy? Bwahahahahahaha (gasp) ha

I think the salads are the highest fat items on the menu at McDonalds.  All that ranch dressing.


I eat the napkins.
 
2013-02-08 06:08:41 AM

log_jammin: davidphogan: Now just show him "Super High Me"

I'd rather he watched Dane Cook.


No one really watches Dane cook.

'Suffers' I think is the word you want there.
 
2013-02-08 06:30:50 AM
McD's idea of health food

fatnewsfeed.com
 
2013-02-08 06:32:28 AM
They haven't been turning to "healthier options." They've been turning to cheaper options - which have higher profit margins, overall. Any health benefits are incidental.

Instead of a Big Mac meal super-sized, they get the cheeseburger meal regular-sized because it's a bit less expensive.

It's not health - it's cost.
 
2013-02-08 07:26:11 AM
Healthy or not, I tried the Mighty Wings yesterday...and they were actually not bad.
 
2013-02-08 07:27:45 AM

cirby: They haven't been turning to "healthier options." They've been turning to cheaper options - which have higher profit margins, overall. Any health benefits are incidental.

Instead of a Big Mac meal super-sized, they get the cheeseburger meal regular-sized because it's a bit less expensive.

It's not health - it's cost.




We'll just overlook McDonalds fruit salads, grilled chicken, fajita wraps, etc.
 
2013-02-08 08:45:15 AM
Restaurants offer healthier food when customers start wanting healthier food?


The free market - how does that work?
 
2013-02-08 08:57:24 AM
Grilled chicken southwest salad with Balsamic dressing at McDonald's has 325 calories, tons of flavor and feels substantial enough to call a meal. Yes, they're $5 but I am thankful that I can find that meal any time I want to have it or need to eat fast food.

I've lost over 150lbs. and I've kept it off and I eat at McDonald's probably three times a week.
 
2013-02-08 09:17:13 AM

log_jammin: My 12 year old son watched "Super Size Me" and now he refuses to eat fast food. I'm not discouraging him in the least.


See now what I do is teach my son the truth on matters and let him decide rather then use a basically propaganda style "documentary" to modify his behavior with what amounts to lies.  I suppose you are going to set him up with "An Inconvenient Truth" next so he turns off the lights?

//is currently cutting
///had a McD's classic grilled chicken yesterday
////400 calories or so
//not a fatty
 
2013-02-08 09:22:48 AM
Was the stupid tag on vacation?
 
2013-02-08 09:33:46 AM

Pocket_Fisherman: log_jammin: My 12 year old son watched "Super Size Me" and now he refuses to eat fast food. I'm not discouraging him in the least.

See now what I do is teach my son the truth on matters and let him decide rather then use a basically propaganda style "documentary" to modify his behavior with what amounts to lies.  I suppose you are going to set him up with "An Inconvenient Truth" next so he turns off the lights?

//is currently cutting
///had a McD's classic grilled chicken yesterday
////400 calories or so
//not a fatty


I like how you took the phrase "my 12 year old son watched" and turned it into "I made my son watch".
 
2013-02-08 09:36:13 AM

TheOriginalEd: Was the stupid tag on vacation?


What's stupid about it?  McDonalds is better than most places now as they put the calories right on the menu when you order.  I know its the internet but lets not just follow meme's and "common knowledge" about subjects with derp like predictability.

If I don't have time/energy to make my own lunch or dinner at least I know approximately what I'm getting from McD's.  I know not only the calories but the amount of protein, carbs, and fats.  I'm in better shape than 90% of my age group and McDonalds actually helps maintain that.

The only thing stupid here is people who are so sure of themselves that they refuse to even contemplate the idea that "fast food" doesn't have to be unhealthy.  If I had two double quarter pounders, it would be stupid and unhealthy, but those are choices.  You can be just as stupid and unhealthy at places like Panera, or the Whole Foods prepared foods section.
 
2013-02-08 09:45:07 AM

likefunbutnot: Grilled chicken southwest salad with Balsamic dressing at McDonald's has 325 calories, tons of flavor and feels substantial enough to call a meal. Yes, they're $5 but I am thankful that I can find that meal any time I want to have it or need to eat fast food.

I've lost over 150lbs. and I've kept it off and I eat at McDonald's probably three times a week.


I agree. Those southwest salads are awesome-sauce. Newman's lowfat dressing, a good amount of protein, and a ton of tasty goodness. By any almost all measures, they're extremely healthy & filling meals - they just happen to be served at McDonalds. Although at 41% of your daily sodium, they're a little high in salt, but not terribly.

/mmmm, I want one right now.
 
2013-02-08 09:45:49 AM

log_jammin: Pocket_Fisherman: log_jammin: My 12 year old son watched "Super Size Me" and now he refuses to eat fast food. I'm not discouraging him in the least.

See now what I do is teach my son the truth on matters and let him decide rather then use a basically propaganda style "documentary" to modify his behavior with what amounts to lies.  I suppose you are going to set him up with "An Inconvenient Truth" next so he turns off the lights?

//is currently cutting
///had a McD's classic grilled chicken yesterday
////400 calories or so
//not a fatty

I like how you took the phrase "my 12 year old son watched" and turned it into "I made my son watch".


Well you seemed so pleased with the results, why not?  You are letting him believe in the boogie man because you think it serves a greater good for him.  I think its best to teach rational and logical thinking, as well as a healthy dose of skepticism to what they watch.
 
2013-02-08 09:47:33 AM

MrSteve007: likefunbutnot: Grilled chicken southwest salad with Balsamic dressing at McDonald's has 325 calories, tons of flavor and feels substantial enough to call a meal. Yes, they're $5 but I am thankful that I can find that meal any time I want to have it or need to eat fast food.

I've lost over 150lbs. and I've kept it off and I eat at McDonald's probably three times a week.

I agree. Those southwest salads are awesome-sauce. Newman's lowfat dressing, a good amount of protein, and a ton of tasty goodness. By any almost all measures, they're extremely healthy & filling meals - they just happen to be served at McDonalds. Although at 41% of your daily sodium, they're a little high in salt, but not terribly.

/mmmm, I want one right now.


Unless you have some salt sensitivity issues, don't worry about the salt.  Sodium is one of those health scares that don't really exist in reality.
 
2013-02-08 09:52:55 AM
Pocket_Fisherman:  I think its best to teach rational and logical thinking, as well as a healthy dose of skepticism to what they watch.

Me too... that's why my kids get exposed to nothing but Ayn Rand and Glenn Beck.
 
2013-02-08 09:59:40 AM

Pocket_Fisherman: log_jammin: Pocket_Fisherman: log_jammin: My 12 year old son watched "Super Size Me" and now he refuses to eat fast food. I'm not discouraging him in the least.

See now what I do is teach my son the truth on matters and let him decide rather then use a basically propaganda style "documentary" to modify his behavior with what amounts to lies.  I suppose you are going to set him up with "An Inconvenient Truth" next so he turns off the lights?

//is currently cutting
///had a McD's classic grilled chicken yesterday
////400 calories or so
//not a fatty

I like how you took the phrase "my 12 year old son watched" and turned it into "I made my son watch".

Well you seemed so pleased with the results, why not?  You are letting him believe in the boogie man because you think it serves a greater good for him.  I think its best to teach rational and logical thinking, as well as a healthy dose of skepticism to what they watch.


Hilarious.
 
2013-02-08 10:00:13 AM

Pocket_Fisherman: Unless you have some salt sensitivity issues, don't worry about the salt. Sodium is one of those health scares that don't really exist in reality.


Oh, I agree. Just offset it with drinking more water and don't go overboard.

One thing that I find interesting though, last year I went on a month long cruise. Over the course of the cruise, the chefs aboard the ship must have been slowly and steadily lowing the overall salt intake of the passengers, because by the time I got back, for the first week, everything I ate at restaurants tasted like they were first dipped in the ocean.
 
2013-02-08 10:06:45 AM

SpdrJay: How are people boosting their profits by eating fast food?

Sounds like some kinda pyramid scheme.


"profits" is Swahili for "waistline"
 
2013-02-08 10:11:11 AM

davidphogan: fusillade762: I seem to recall hearing a while back that the packaging the food comes in costs them more than the food itself.

Depends on the item/restaurant/packaging, but definitely possible.  I managed a place where per cup the cup cost more than the soda or coffee.  That's why refills were 1/2 price versus buying a cup of drink.  I can't think of many other foods where that would be true, I'm sure there are exceptions, but fountain drinks and coffee would be the really obvious ones to me.


Yeah, even 40 years ago the costs for a soda were: Cup, ice, soda.
 
2013-02-08 10:15:22 AM
I once lost 70 pounds by eating nothing but Wendy's chili and Wendy's value menu caesar salads for six months.

Seriously. It worked!
 
2013-02-08 10:24:16 AM
Disgusting how people will eat shiat tier food and think it's healthy regardless of what that food is. It's the substance retards, not the calories.
 
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