You're running McDonald's and you're the world's most successful fast-food chain, growing lately all over the world. That would seem to indicate an ever-expanding (no pun intended) audience of consumers worldwide who want to partake of your burgers, fries, salads and smoothies — right?
Yet across the United States and halfway across the world, more folks seem to be falling all over themselves demanding that McDonald's stay as far away from them as possible. Blame an obesity fixation.
In the U.K., for example, a leading medical academic (acamedic? or in this case, activist-medic) is calling McDonald's "unhelpful" for being a leading sponsor of the London Olympics this summer, along with another "unhelpful" corporate ogre, that Coca-Cola Company.
"What can you do about this obesegenic environment we live in?" asked Prof. Terrence Stephenson, VP of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, in an interview with The Observer. Clearly when the Academy releases new anti-obesity recommendations in the fall, McDonald's will get hit again.
Hey, nobody said it would be easiest being the world's biggest burger chain — let alone building the world's biggest restaurant.
Meanwhile, in the United States, McDonald's is facing increasing heat over the obesity issue as it relates to its locations, as well as its menu.
In a part of Sacramento, Calif., for example, a neighorhood group is opposing a plan for a new McDonald's because it would be situated just across the street from an obesity clinic. A doctor who is part of the group told the Sacramento Business Journal that the location isn't appropriate because the University of California Davis obesity clinic is trying to help kids and families to lead active, healthy lives.
Well, then, the good doctor surely would object to something that has caught the eye of a U.S.-based activist group known as Corporate Accountability International. It's targeting McDonald's outlets located at nearly two dozen hospitals, calling on the institutions to evict the chain, following on its doctor-focused campaigning and other swipes at the golden arches.
"Stop fostering a food environment that promotes harm, not health," the group has demanded as the latest volley in its "Value the Meal" protest. Of course, ducking activists' brickbats is one sport McDonald's would rather not support.