Outside view of McD's with plane arriving
  • Outside view of McD's with plane arriving
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

The last time I went to McD's was in 2010 at LAX, one of the worst airports at which to eat. That day, I strayed from the burgers and got nuggets and a McFlurry. I used to go to McDonalds with my roommates on Sundays after playing disc golf. This is when I was a broke college student (2004-08) and having two of the Dollar Menu cheeseburgers was a preferable meal over ramen and saltines.

While watching NFL, a commercial advertising McDonald's new chef-inspired “Taste Crafted” burgers got my attention. The ad claimed that they hired gourmet chefs to prepare the new customizable sandwiches.

McDonald's

1260 Park Boulevard, East Village

Red Corvette ordering at the drive-thru

Red Corvette ordering at the drive-thru

Maybe McDonald's has changed. I convinced myself to try it out and visited their location by City College. The location had a half-naked homeless lady in the parking lot dancing crazily by herself. Inside, it was full of teenagers, a few homeless, one family, and other random people. At least the ads got one thing right: the restaurant had customers of every minority.

You can choose two different buns: sesame or artisan. Then you choose the burger style: Pico Guacamole, Bacon Dijon Mustard or Deluxe. And finally what type of meat you want: quarter pound beef, crispy chicken or grilled chicken.

Deluxe Chicken Burger inside its box

Deluxe Chicken Burger inside its box

The ad made the beef look great, so I ordered the Bacon Dijon with a quarter pounder patty on an artisan bun. And for kicks-and-giggles I made it a combo (I didn't even want fries). I also got the Deluxe with crispy chicken on a sesame bun separate to go.

"Damn machine," the cashier murmured to himself. "I am sorry, it is taking forever." The pimpled teenager looked at me apologetically. "Why isn't it letting me change to medium?!" He said to himself again loudly. I told him not to worry and just give me the large combo. After struggling with the machine, he finally gave me a receipt on a stick and told me he will bring the food to my table. McD's has table service, the large combo was $6.99 + tax, the burger by itself $5.49 + tax — the price made me think, Hey, maybe they have changed!

Maple Bacon Dijon Artisan Quarter-Pound large combo

Maple Bacon Dijon Artisan Quarter-Pound large combo

The teenager brought my food with a smile, was very attentive, offered me ketchup and told me if I needed anything else just to let him know. He wrote his name on the receipt and said I could go online to rate his service (Israel gets five stars).

Closer look at the burger outside the box

Closer look at the burger outside the box

Burgers were horrible. The meat was rubbery and didn’t taste like meat. They use the same beef as all other burgers, defeating the purpose of ordering a “chef crafted burger.” The bacon was laughable. It looked like a cardboard cut-off of bacon and tasted like that as well. The sauce looked disgusting and did nothing for the flavor. The bun was the only thing that was actually alright. The fries were an excellent vessel to transport ketchup to my mouth.

The chicken burger at home. No more than a simple fast-food chicken sandwich.

The chicken burger at home. No more than a simple fast-food chicken sandwich.

I took the chicken burger across the border to my apartment in Tijuana. It was nothing more than a sad simple chicken burger with a lot of mayo, nothing deluxe about it. The chicken was still edible and didn’t taste bad, I just don’t want to imagine where it came from though.

Other locations have more choices of the Taste Crafted menu and results may vary.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Comments

MichaelValentine Dec. 24, 2015 @ 2:13 p.m.

While I agree that McyDees food is less then appealing I don't see the need to disparage the people in the restaurant. Where is it you think homeless folks should go? T.J.?

0

jnojr Dec. 27, 2015 @ 11:21 a.m.

They can choose... bums, or paying customers. I will not patronize any establishment where I have to be accosted by angry, stinking bums trying to con me or outright demanding money.

You're free to open a restaurant and cater to the poor, misunderstood, downtrodden homeless and see what kind of success you get. This is America! But I won't go, and neither will most other people. Where should they go? I don't know, just not where I am.

0

jnojr Dec. 28, 2015 @ 4:17 p.m.

It's called "reality". Everyone cannot fit in your little dream world.

0

Visduh Dec. 24, 2015 @ 10:13 p.m.

McDonald's has made many false starts over the years, attempting to upgrade their menu. Remember the Arch Deluxe burgers? Didn't they just recently fool around with an Angus burger? But what it comes down to is that their moldy-oldy standards, and notably the Big Mac, persist on the menu while the others come with fanfare, and depart quietly by dark of night.

1

jnojr Dec. 27, 2015 @ 11:24 a.m.

Exactly. They have a particular clientèle, and that clientèle wants garbage. Their "experiments" are just more expensive garbage. You cannot take a process that produces a crappy product, tweak it a little, and produce a quality product. You'd have to scrap the entire process, but their process works for them... selling lots of overpriced crap to stupid people.

0

David Dodd Dec. 24, 2015 @ 11:32 p.m.

You can paint lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.

Jack-in-the-Box used to be one of the only fast-food joints I would patronize in a pinch, but their quality has recently diminished sharply. The other is Carl's Jr., but the locations in Tijuana are so much better than the locations in the U.S., I can't eat at one North of the border, guess I'm spoiled.

1

jnojr Dec. 27, 2015 @ 11:20 a.m.

It's McDonalds! WTF did you expect??? NOTHING can make their food palatable.

0

dwbat Dec. 27, 2015 @ 1:53 p.m.

I have never gone in there, but just walking (often) by the McDonald's in Hillcrest is bad enough. It's a homeless camp outside. Why the owner allows this on his private property is beyond me. Many of them aren't even buying anything; they just take up space, and scare people away. The Hillcrest 7-Eleven is not a pleasant place outside, either.

1

Ponzi Dec. 27, 2015 @ 2:33 p.m.

In-N-Out doesn’t tolerate vagrants loitering around their properties. They take photos of the offenders, collect other information in an attempt to get names, and then they file restraining order for “Does I through XX.” When they have a problem, they call police and ask them to enforce their orders. At least that is what I was told from a reliable source.

1

dwbat Dec. 27, 2015 @ 7:12 p.m.

In-N-Out eateries, by their locations, are not as likely to have a bad vagrant problem as the fast food places downtown, or in Hillcrest, North Park, PB, etc. But McDonald's, etc. could use the same method. Why don't they?

0

Ponzi Dec. 27, 2015 @ 9:21 p.m.

PB and Lemon Grove have a problem with a small population of home challenged folks.

0

Visduh Dec. 28, 2015 @ 4:53 p.m.

A few months ago, I was panhandled right inside the In-N-Out on Hacienda Drive in Oceanside. (That's the frontage road on the south side of Hwy 78.) This guy--apparently homeless or drug-addled--walked right into the dining room and hit up about six different people with a plea for "some help to get something to eat." The go-go staff at the counter totally missed it, and it was only when I told one of them about it was there a reaction. Of course by that time the panhandler was drifting up the sidewalk, a block away.

0

Ponzi Dec. 27, 2015 @ 2:44 p.m.

I liked their food when I was a kid. To me, other than an emergency breakfast item, the rest of their fare is inedible.

People don’t go their because they make great burgers, they go because they are consistant (throughout the chain). All the food tastes the same no matter what city you’re in. They used to also have a reputation for being clean, friendly and affordable. They are anything but affordable considering the low quality of the product.

McDonald’s recently announced they want to increase the percentage of franchised outlets. By the end of 2018 they want 90% of their locations to be franchises, up from 81%. So they are selling off their stores, probably keeping the best performers.

0

dwbat Dec. 27, 2015 @ 9:29 p.m.

Wendy's is doing that, too. The Wall Street Journal reported: "Wendy’s said it is aiming to own just 5% of its stores by mid-2016, an effort Wendy’s expects will result in $400 million to $475 million in pretax cash proceeds and reduce its future spending."

0

Ponzi Dec. 27, 2015 @ 9:48 p.m.

So Big Burger can just become suppliers and promoters. Send out bags of yuck to the sucker, usually immigrant with an SBA loan, franchise to mix/blend/heat/serve to the health-ignorant masses. Get out of the tightening gripe of zoning and development regulation/city government/land use/green initiatives/et. al. And just promote crap to minorities and other target markets (I'm Lovin' It) and then ship the crap to their dealers. McDonald's saying they are getting out of the retail business of selling frankenfood may make Wall Street glee, but it is a telling sign that corporate has little faith in their brand.

0

dwbat Dec. 28, 2015 @ 9:02 a.m.

If they're no longer the owner of the eateries, it also means they're not liable for crimes committed by vagrants, right? Let the franchisees deal with it.

0

Ponzi Dec. 28, 2015 @ 1:01 p.m.

Perhaps. There's still the deep pocket risk for McD's. McDonald's said they are selling company owned stores to franchise operators so the business would "be closer to the customer." I think McDonald's wants to get out of the real estate and operations and act as a supplier and promoter.

If anything, companies that rely heavily on franchises are more out-of-touch with the customer and have less quality control oversight. Did you hear about the In N Out Burger that was serving horrible food and got a bad reputation? I didn't either. Because they own all their stores, have tight control and don't fuss around with their menu.

0

dwbat Dec. 28, 2015 @ 1:37 p.m.

I think I'm the only one in town who has never been to an IN-N-OUT! They aren't in my hood, or on my usual travels.

0

Visduh Dec. 28, 2015 @ 5:13 p.m.

I'll beg to differ here a bit. because franchisees who run the outlets have invested their money into the operation, and want to run them as well and profitably as possible. Some years ago, McD's insisted that all their franchisees be actively involved in the management of the restaurants, and they were required to spend time working in successful franchised stores as training. For a long time in the earlier days, that model was what made McD's the leader in their industry. What happened after that is another story entirely. On the other hand, Burger King didn't really care who owned a franchise, and ended up selling them to absentee owners. A favorite franchisee was a group of physicians and/or dentists looking for investment opportunities. Too many of them hired managers who were not incentivized at all, and who were poorly paid for the work and time required to be successful. That is one reason why BK can be so inconsistent, and some of them are downright awful.

In-n-Out just doesn't fit the mold of the industry. They pay good wages, hire energetic people, expect plenty of effort and good attitude and get both. As far as their prices go, they're not any big bargain. Oh, and they don't keep adding to the menu. They KISS (keep it simple, stupid.)

0

dwbat Dec. 29, 2015 @ 9:17 p.m.

And IN-N-OUT hasn't had food poisoning issues like Chipotle!

0

Visduh Dec. 31, 2015 @ 11:27 a.m.

It's hard to determine why Chipotle has been plagued with e. coli poisonings. They brag of their local sourcing for produce and, I understand, meats. Perhaps some of those sources are just a little too close to the soil, and aren't getting the produce adequately washed before delivering to the restaurant, which assumes it's all triple clean and ready to serve.

0

Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader

Close