When San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to prohibit fast food restaurants from including toys with children’s meals that don’t meet certain
nutritional guidelines, some might have seen that as a jab at McDonald’s and similar restaurants. According to the city of San Francisco, the Happy Meal was one of the food options that was not meeting those guidelines. While many might have predicted that the restaurant would simply have to change the contents of their Happy Meals, McDonald’s went in a different direction. The fast food giant decided to charge 10 cents for a toy to include in their happy meals so that they would be in compliance with the city law. That way, the meal can have the same contents because customers will have to choose to purchase the toy. How’s that for a response?
Eric Mar, the San Francisco supervisor who sponsored the ordinance, said the goal of the law was not meant to micromanage fast food chains, but instead to raise awareness about the nutritional content of the food that is being targeted to children. He felt that McDonald’s switch to including apples and smaller portions of french fries in Happy Meals shows the law was still successful.
“Scott Rodrick, who owns 10 of the 19 McDonald’s franchises in the city, said the 10-cent charge was intended to adhere to the letter of the law while giving consumers what they want,” reported the Christian Science Monitor. “All those dimes will go to help build a new Ronald McDonald House to accommodate families of sick children at the new University of California, San Francisco hospital now under construction.”
McDonald’s took a situation that could have negatively affected their sales and/or brand image and used it to positively benefit families of children suffering from illness…what’s your response to their decision?