Part of the McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) turnaround is supposed to be an altered menu, which also is supposed to have more healthy food choices. However, the core of the McDonald’s menu is high-fat, high-calorie food. McDonald’s management, while it does not speak about it, understands that most of its customers have little interest in health and a great deal of interest in shakes, fries and hamburgers.
To give a sense of how unhealthy some menu items are, McDonald’s continues to sell coffee drinks with more than 300 calories. One of its mocha coffees has 320. The chocolate version of the coffee has 350. Adding a sausage and hotcake package plate at 520 calories, and breakfast calories reach nearly 1,000.
Lunch is worse, based on calories. Reaching 1,500 calories is easy. And Oreo McFlurry has 510 calories. A Bacon Clubhouse Burger has 720, and a large order of fries has 230. Staying short of 2,000 calories assumes the customer does not have a 400-calorie desert.
As a means to offset customer concerns about the menu, one of McDonald’s most aggressive promotions is that it sources most of these foods from healthy sources. That makes the food a sort of high quality. For example, its hamburgers are 100% ground beef. What else would a fast-food chain use to make them? McDonald’s actually uses real apples in its apple pies.
However, a quick look at McDonald’s menu tells something that investors may not focus on enough. Changes in the core menu of McDonald’s are not in the offing. The fast-food company has to do well selling this core menu if same-store sales and revenue are ever to get back on track. New menu itemsmay be more healthy, and McDonald’s researchers may have found that these items satisfy health-conscious customers or people who might go to its locations because McDonald’s has shifted it menu — a little.
Based on American health habits and obesity and diabetes levels, the fat will inherit the earth. As time passes, McDonald’s will continue to have the food and drinks to serve them.