There’s a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange that is having its best year ever. Sales are up, even as the nation is reeling from one of the worst financial catastrophes in its history. Its revenues are up, even as its direct competitors are struggling.
This company is run like a tight ship. An excellent stock to invest in, no doubt. In the last 5 years, the stock has gone up fivefold. That’s better than even Google or Apple.
In top business schools around the world, this company is a study in excellence – students read entire books dedicated to this corporation. They learn how to build operations, sales, marketing, global teams, and brand, all based on the leadership of the company’s executives.
What is this company and what is it selling?
McDonald’s, a symbol of the American way, has been selling us burgers, fries and shakes for 60 years. Our grandparents tried it in the 50′s and 60′s, our parents grew up to love it, we loved it as kids, and now our children love it too. Sounds perfect, right?
But there is one flaw. McDonald’s and its fast food peers are slowly but surely creating an obese nation. In an interesting article published today by Stacey Folsom of Corporate Accountability International, we learn that the great profits of McDonald’s come at a great price to the nation. Diet related illness costs the US 120 billion dollars annually.
Is McDonald’s paying for these fees? Absolutely not. We are. The fast food chain’s PR department blames everyone but themselves for another record breaking year of obesity. The article tackles each of the company’s claims:
“It’s not our food that’s to blame, it’s a lack of exercise.” (In fact, recent studies have shown that we’re exercising almost the same as we did 30 years ago)
“It’s not our marketing to kids that’s to blame, it’s all the video games and internet media that distract our kids from physical activity.” (that’s why they also have a website for kids with lots of fun games…)
“We’re a leader in offering healthier menu choices.” (like salads with more calories than big macs?)
“It’s not our responsibility that kids are getting sick from eating too much of our food, that’s on parents.” (That’s why fast food joints conveniently like to be located next to schools, right?)
As we posted in yesterday’s rant, the system is malfunctioning.
McDonald’s growth in shareholder value goes hand in hand with the growth in our waistlines.
Which will stop growing first?
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