Top marks for McDonald’s McMinis

29 Mar

A couple of housekeeping matters today before we get down to business. Firstly, The Globe and Mail kicks off a five-day excerpt series of Sex, Bombs and Burgers today. The newspaper’s technology website is running Chapter 9: Fully Functional Robots in its entirety this week, so head on over and check it out (if you haven’t read the book yet, that is). I particularly like that chapter because it deals with all three of the industries focused on in the book. Most of the other chapters drill into one or two, so this one is a nice overview of them all.

Also, I’m pleased to say that Sex, Bombs and Burgers is enjoying its second week on Maclean’s best-seller list (non-fiction), holding steady at number six. I am, however, ruing telling Citizens of London by Lynne Olson at my launch party to “eat it” because that book is now at number four, no longer eating SB&B‘s dust. (It is worth noting, however, that Lynne Olson has been on The Daily Show and has a book blurb from Tom Brokaw… just sayin’).

Anyhow, last week was pretty quiet, which was a nice rest after the craziness of launch week. Things are ramping up again this week with a bunch of interviews scheduled. More info on all that stuff soon. I’m also starting to get jazzed for Australia and New Zealand. I leave on Saturday and can’t wait to enjoy some warmer weather.

On to today’s business - the McMini. If you haven’t seen these yet, they’re the new tiny chicken sandwiches rolled out by McDonald’s here in Canada last week. Basically, it’s a chicken finger (either crispy or grilled) in a miniature baguette with one of two sauces slapped onto it - either pesto or sweet Thai. Here’s the commercial:

Ah McDonald’s, you make the Sex and Burgers connections so easy. Using a hot blonde in short shorts to sell fast food… it almost seems timeless, doesn’t it?

Anyhow, having a responsibility to my readers, I of course took the McMinis out for a test drive this weekend and I can report that they’re fantastic - especially the Thai flavour! I was particularly surprised at the quality of the chicken - sometimes McDonald’s chicken looks like some kind of weird chicken paste, or something like that, but the McMinis seem to have some decent quality white meat.

With that in mind, I asked the counter staff for nutrition information, which they kindly printed off for me. The grilled versions are obviously healthier, accounting for 260 calories, 14% of daily fat and 31% of daily sodium (Thai), or 280 calories, 20% of daily fat and 28% of daily sodium (pesto). The crispy versions have 310 calories, 22% daily fat and 31% daily sodium (Thai), or 350 calories, 29% of daily fat and 28% daily sodium (pesto).

Obviously, these little buggers pack a lot of crap into a small frame, but that seems to be the case with anything that tastes good. The stats above are also roughly the same as McDonald’s chicken snack wraps, which are kind of the same but come in a tortilla and generally have cheese and other fillings. Oh, the McMinis are also $2 each, which is a good price for a snack.

The McMini brought me back to a thought I had nearly a year ago, when I was “researching” the book. I had just gone through a McDonald’s drive-thru and was eating a McChicken with one hand while driving with the other (I know, I’m dangerous - that’s just how I roll). Fast-food chains get a good portion of their sales from drive-thrus - some getting as much as 70% - so in many cases, their food is specially formulated so that you can eat it with one hand. In the case of McDonald’s, virtually the entire menu qualifies (I sometimes have problems eating a Big Mac while driving… I usually steer with my knees in such cases). The McMinis, of course, are a perfect addition to that food-selling strategy.

Also, is it just me or is McDonald’s pumping out new small snacks by the truckload? Why yes indeed - as Business Week reports, it’s part of a strategy to expand into between-meals food, a plan that is paying off for McDonald’s.

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Posted by on March 29, 2010 in food, mcdonald's


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