McDonald's has been picked on quite a bit. From Fast Food Nation to Supersize Me, McDonald's, even more than other fast food chains, Micky D's has become the proverbial scapegoat for all that is obese in America (and even the world). Do a quick Google Image search of McDonald's and at least a third of them are satirical takes on the McDonald's golden arches, or a less-than-beneficent Ronald McDonald.
Doesn't McDonald's have salads now, so all is good in the world?
Oh Salads... See the great Bud Light ad below and that's all we have to say about that. Actually, McDonald's does a great job with their happy meal. In July 2011, McDonald's halved the portions of fries and made it so that all happy meals automatically came with apple slices. In fact, this is a perfectly executed WooFood Certified Concept! (Note: McDonald's is not a WooFood Certified restaurant). Before apples automatically came with a meal, a mere 11% of parents would actively request them (an example of choice architecture at its worst).
Would you like fries with that?
Unfortunately, McDonald's also uses choice architecture for evil. Well maybe they don't see it that way... WooFood and McDonald's both utilize behavioral psychology immensely. At a WooFood certified restaurant, it's not enough to have apple slices or salads (even if they are healthy) if no one is going to choose them. One strategy that influences people's decisions is to verbally offer them a choice, rather than it just being available on the menu. Wait staff at WooFood Certified restaurants are trained to ask "Would you like to make that WooFood Certified?" which is a cue to the cook to give your meal a boost of vegetables, whole grains, and go easy on the artery clogging ingredients. This is in contrast to the ubiquitous "Would you like fries with that?" or "Would you like to Supersize that?" which is an extremely effective use of choice architecture... if your goal is to cause extreme suffering in the form of strokes, blindness, limb loss, and heart attacks. *note - this may sound dramatic... but unfortunately this is what we see on a daily basis without an ounce of exaggeration!
The WooFood Philosophy
WooFood prides itself in making meaningful changes in food culture by being business friendly and considerate of constraints- especially on small businesses. We are acutely aware that if WooFood certification is too cumbersome, or doesn't make financial sense for a business, it's going to fail. We do our best to be very responsive to restaurant concerns, and assign a personal Certification Specialist to each restaurant for their first point of contact. Although we work mostly with small businesses and enjoy this, WooFood has no rules against working with a restaurant chain. If it's going to improve public health, then WooFood is probably interested. Even McDonald's is eligible for WooFood certification. In fact, their sophisticated choice architecture policies might make them particularly adept at fulfilling WooFood criteria. They would just have to start using those powers for the light side of the force...
So Why Does WooFood Want More Likes than McDonalds?
Here at WooFood we are always looking to improve! We are always looking for ways to help our restaurants integrate more healthful options. We're always looking to get more restaurants Certified. So when it came to our facebook page, we thought, "we're just shy of 1000 votes, why not try to get more 'likes' than McDonalds?" We set the bar high, will you help us get there?