McDonald’s is to open its largest ever fast food outlet (I refuse to call it a restaurant) outside the 2012 London Olympics site. Is a 3,000sq m McD’s next to the world’s biggest sporting event mad or just meeting demand?
What do the Olympic Games mean to you? A massive sporting event where the world’s best sportsmen and women demonstrate what dedication, athleticism and a healthy lifestyle can achieve?
How about Big Macs, fries and all manner of greasy foods? No? Well, it should, because not only has McDonald’s sponsored the last eight Olympic Games (since 1976 if maths isn’t your strong point), it’s the only branded food retailer to feed the athletes. Ironic? You bet it is.
Stratford’s supersized McDonald’s
Anyway, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. McDonald’s this week announced that it will open its biggest fast food outlet just outside the Olympic site in Stratford.
It’ll be one of four McDonald’s at the Games, including one in the athletes’ village, allowing ticket holders to buy their supersized double-cheeseburger in a supersized two-storey Maccy D’s in between shot-put and synchronised swimming.
The store will apparently employ 470 staff, who will serve 50,000 Big Macs, 100,000 portions of fries and 30,000 milkshakes during the Games.
Running, jumping and eating burgers
So, is it crazy to offer fast food at an event that’s meant to encourage a healthy lifestyle? I’m actually pretty ambivalent about this. There’s no escaping the fact that people do eat fast food – it’s a simple case of supply and demand.
Plus, it’s perfect for events like this. Why? It’s in the name – fast food is… fast. You can grab a quick bite to eat and then run (or waddle) to watch the 100 metres final – though I’m sure Usain Bolt won’t be chomping down on a Big Mac before he takes off to become the inevitable winner.
There also aren’t many companies out there with enough cash to sponsor the Olympics. McDonald’s is quite simply a money-making behemoth.
Are you lovin’ it?
On the other hand, the Olympic Games is meant to get kids involved in sport and generally promote a healthy lifestyle. And although it’s unlikely that you’ll see Tom Daley on TV eating fries before he takes a dive, any fast food advertising at this event seems to jar. Our food expert Shefalee Loth shares this view:
‘I’m not comfortable with the juxtapose of having a world-class sporting event, which encourages children and adults to be more active, alongside a large fast food chain. Although not quite as extreme, it’s a little like having a McDonalds in a hospital.
‘I would hope to see healthier options available and calorie labelling on menus so that people could make informed choices on what they eat.’
Are you bothered about the world’s biggest McDonald’s being opened next-door to the Olympic Games? And what do you think of McDonald’s sponsorship of the Games in general?