According to Walt Riker, a representative for McDonald’s, the company’s 13,000 US restaurants will have completely phased out the franchise’s flagship Supersize fries and soft-drink by the end of the year.
Though speculation about McDonald’s reasoning varies, many people think this move is the result of negative publicity heaped upon McDonald’s recently via a documentary shown at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The film, entitled, “Super Size Me” chronicles the declining health of Morgan Spurlock; the filmmaker responsible for the film, as he binges exclusively on McDonald’s food over the course of a month. Super Size Me received a directing prize and should be many in theatres this spring.
In a public statement, McDonald’s denied the validity of Spurlock’s documentary; calling the film “a super-sized distortion of the quality, choice and variety available at McDonald’s.” They claimed that Spurlock’s decision to eat 5,000 calories a day is merely “a gimmick to make a film.”
Others speculate that the recent lawsuits against McDonald’s led to the menu cuts. The lawsuits, thrown out in federal court in New York last year, claimed that the chain misled customers by hiding the health risks associated with McDonald’s Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets.
And still others say that McDonald’s is simply responding to the growing public concern about America’s increasing rates of obesity. Having added entree salads last year, and striving to add more fruits, vegetables and yogurt with it’s Happy Meals, they say this is just another step in the right direction.
The official stance comes from Richard Adams, an independent consultant for franchises, who said it’s as simple as menu simplification.
“The Menu’s gotten too broad and the kitchens are unmanageable with all the new products” Adams explained.
“This is also an effort to speed up McDonald’s service,” he added. “The less buttons on the cash register, the more efficient crew people can be.”
Whatever the actual reasons for the change, the response from the general public has been mixed. “Without Supersize what distinction does McDonald’s hold from all the other fast food joints? Now they just serve normal sized portions of mediocre food like the rest of them,” said Bruce Anderson, a Yuba College student, when informed about the impending change.
Brian Steele, another student was less impressed. He said, “Who cares, there are always leftover fries when you order that size anyway.”