There is plenty that McDonald's has done -- or not done that you can criticize, but every once in a while McDoo's does something right. And that includes offering free breakfast -- an Egg McMuffin or Egg White Delight McMuffin, apple slices and choice of milk or orange juice -- for kids from kindergarten through eighth grade on Wednesday, September 3, from 6 to 9 a.m. at all Colorado locations. (Children must be present, and those under fifteen must be accompanied.)
"Local McDonald's owner/operators like me -- many who send their kids to our neighborhood schools -- chose the options for our free breakfast...provide a wholesome, balanced, great start to the school day," says Mitchell Sandoval, a local owner/operator. "We're also really excited that the Western Dairy Association and Minute Maid are sponsors of our free breakfast. Studies have shown a good breakfast contributes to school success, and they wanted to be a part of that education to students as well."
We went back to school ourselves, and found five more things McDonald's did right....
5) A Swedish McDonald's gives burgers for recycling.
A McDonald's in Stockholm, Sweden is doing a test pilot for a program that allows customers to pay with "cards, cash and cans." Diners can take a store-provided trash bag, fill it with empty cans, and trade ten cans for a hamburger or cheeseburger or forty cans for a Big Mac. The cans-for-burgers thing is right up there with McDonald's two-pies-for-a-buck deal; it would be bigger here than the line at IKEA on Saturday morning.
4) McDonald's steps up during natural disasters.
McDonald's proved during Hurricane Katrina that the company could really come through. McDoo's committed millions of dollars to disaster-relief efforts, with Ronald McDonald House Charities taking in donations and the company providing housing, transportation and employment, as well as continued salaries, for staff displaced by the disaster. It also set up a 24/7 support center, provided emergency loans, and donated food and water to victims and relief workers.
3) McDonald's actually has some relatively healthy menu items.
McDonald's is not famous for its healthy food -- more like infamous for its addictive-yet-scary Chicken McNuggets -- but the company does offer some reasonably healthy menu items amidst the delicious chaos of Quarter Pounders with cheese and crispy, golden fries. The Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken Premium McWrap, Buffalo Ranch McChicken sandwich, Premium Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich and the Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken are all a bit high in sodium, but also low in fat and calories by fast-food standards.
For more good things McDonald's has done, read on.
2) Colorado McDonald's stores are highly educational.
According to Mitchell Sandoval, local McDonald's owners and operators support education and literacy programs including Colorado PTA; One Book, One Denver Youth Literacy Program; One Book 4 Colorado Preschool Literacy Program (75,000 books given out to preschoolers this year because of McDonald's support); Stories on Stage: Cuentame un Cuentito literacy program; Young Ameritowne; La Raza Education Program; Vail Soul Music Festival 's Education Program; the EspeciallyME program; Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarships; the McTeacher's Night fundraising program, and 5th Gear Kids Wellness Program in Aurora and Cherry Creek schools.
All that, and a free breakfast for kids day?
1) The Ronald McDonald House Charities. McDoo deserves props for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), its non-profit global network operating in in 52 countries through three programs: Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. RMH offers housing and support for families of hospitalized children; RMFR provides accommodations for families of sick children to rest, do laundry and shower; and RMCM mobile clinics provide affordable health and dental care to children.
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So next time the company does -- or doesn't do -- something that makes the headlines, remember that sometimes those Golden Arches deserve a gold star.