McDonald’s and Cinnamon

McDonald’s fast food chain is purportedly the largest user of cinnamon among all restaurants and coffee houses in the world.

McDonalds is almost as famous for their apple pies “lightly spiced with cinnamon” as they are for their burgers. McDonald’s Cinnamon-melt pastry is also a popular item available at most McDonald’s outlets.

The Spice Journal has not been able to verify the volume of apple pies that McDonalds sell worldwide, but it is reported that in Australia they sell more than twenty million pies annually. On that basis, one could estimate that McDonalds sell half a billion pies each year in North America and perhaps a couple billion worldwide.

No matter how you cut the cake – or in this case the pie – McDonalds use a huge amount of cinnamon.

Cinnamon is indigenous to Sri Lanka; and because Sri Lanka is the largest producer of “true cinnamon” in the world, one might expect that the McDonalds organization is particularly attentive to everything in Sri Lanka that pertains to McDonald’s profile of hospitality.

One might assume that the  McDonald’s team is on the ground in the cinnamon plantations monitoring production; and that they are verifying adherence to regulatory standards of the food processing industry.

One might assume that McDonalds has a stringent quality control regimen for all products and ingredients that they source anywhere in the world, and that such a compliance program would be applicable even to their fast food outlets.

Alas, if these expectations are measured against experience as a customer at most McDonalds outlets in Colombo, one’s assumption about McDonald’s QC practices might be fraught with folly.

If McDonalds do have stringent standards and if those standards also apply to the outlets, it is the opinion of this writer that the restaurant operators in Sri Lanka treat standards with indifference.

By way of explanation, the food and beverages sold at McDonald’s outlets in Colombo is probably the most expensive of any McDonald’s restaurants in the world; and without exception, it is more than double the price for the same items at McDonald’s in neighboring New Delhi.

Unbelievably, in addition to the already exorbitant prices, McDonalds outlets in Colombo have an unethical practice of charging extra for items that are not priced as extras on their menu, items that one would normally expect to be included with a meal.

A few examples:

Hot cakes are served with one chip of butter. If you require extra butter it will cost Rs 30/ per chip.

Tea is served in a small cup with one shot of milk. If you require an extra shot of milk, it will cost Rs 100/

“Long black’ coffee at McDonalds in Colombo is excellent, however if you prefer to have milk in your coffee, be prepared to pay an extra Rs 100/ for one shot of milk.

These examples are only a few that make it seem as if McDonalds in Colombo has taken “rip-off” to a whole new level. Who knows what else they are planning? Perhaps we will soon pay extra for sugar, for ketchup, for salt and pepper, or for napkins.

It is unfortunate that McDonald’s HQ allow their franchises to practice such deviousness; or do they even know what is going on?

As to a QC program for sourced ingredients, who knows?

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