In a weird attempt to convince the world that McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) isn't all about junk food, the fast-food giant invited reporters and bloggers to a dinner event in New York City, where celebrity chefs prepared gourmet cuisine using ingredients from the chain's menu. As ABC News reports:
A Kung Pao chicken appetizer was made with Chicken McNuggets doused in sweet and sour sauce and garnished with parsley. Slow-cooked beef was served with gnocchi fashioned out of McDonald's french fries and a fruit sauce from its smoothie mix. For dessert, its biscuit mix was used to make a pumpkin spice "biznut," a biscuit-doughnut hybrid.
Customers shouldn't expect these things to start appearing on McDonald's menus, rather the event was simply part of a campaign to shake the restaurants reputation of serving cheap, unhealthy food. I've just got to say that CEO Don Thompson has a long uphill battle on this one-and by uphill, I mean free climbing the Shining Path.
In an attempt to recover from the stupidity of selling off its stake in Chipotle (NYSE: CMG) back in 2005, McDonald's has recently be doing its darndest to convince people its food is fresh and high quality. Last year it introduced an option to substitute egg whites in its breakfast sandwiches, later adding chicken wraps to the menu. More recently, it announced it would begin to allow people to choose to substitute a salad for French fries in a combo meal and will offer mandarins in Happy Meals.
But try as it might, it doesn't look like McDonald's is making any headway, with July same-store sales down 3.2% in the U.S. and 7.3% in Asia, where we recently heard the pleasant story of factory workers mixing expired meat in with the new stuff.
This event is most likely a response to the scandal in China (McDonald's Japan has withdrawn its profit guidance for the year) and will most likely be seen by customers and investors as a laughable attempt by McDonald's to make itself into something it isn't.
Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.