McDonald’s Announces Olympics Menu

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Despite earlier promises that its London Olympics-sites menu would be the broadest it ever has assembled for the Games, athletes, press and spectators will find a menu that’s so narrow and safe as to be a bit of a gold-medal disappointment.

There may be a 9,843-square-foot McDonald’s (its largest) at the Games, but the menu lacks the same over-sized swagger and style. A Wispa Gold McFlurry is about as daring–and Olympic–as the menu gets. Yes, the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Chicken McNuggets are there. The McCafe has muffins, donuts, etc. But you can order these foods at McDonald’s in almost every city in the world.

Even items offered at any High Street McDonald’s throughout Britain have been bypassed. The Cheddar Deluxe cheeseburger with tomato chutney and the Cheese & Onion Bites snack recently added to UK stores aren’t on the menu at McDonald’s four Olympic-venue restaurants.

McDonald’s just-completed Olympics-themed “Flavours of the Games” menu in Australia, with items tied to past host cities, was much more fun. It included the Sydney Stack burger, Atlanta Pork McRib, London Fish & Fries and Beijing Sweet Chilli Chicken burger.

It certainly may be that McDonald’s and/or Olympics officials didn’t want the menu to be too flashy, i.e. too indulgent. Anti-fast-food forces are counting every calorie the chain serves at the Games. Fish & chips might have sent the “food police” over the edge. As a result, the menu sports such good-for-yous as porridge, organic milk, carrot sticks, mineral water and Grilled or Crispy Chicken Salad. All are fine and should be offered. But shouldn’t the Olympics be a bit more special?

Separately, McDonald’s Corp. said it intends to waive its right to a tax exemption on earnings from its operations at the London Games.

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