“When you are an industry leader, you’re going to take your lumps, the good and the bad,” said Marc O’Ferrall, who owns five McDonald’s in northwest Miami-Dade.
“But for the longest time we’ve been preaching to our customers that we have good wholesome food,” he said. “Our hamburger hasn’t changed, but we have several healthy alternatives on our menu. Showing them this information is key.”
Nicolas Ariza, the manager at the McDonald’s on Biscayne and 35th Street, said he also welcomes the opportunity to showcase the many food items at 400 calories or less.
“Look at me, I eat at the restaurant every day and I’m not fat,” said the 5-foot-6 Ariza, who weighs 145 pounds. “We’re telling people there are many options: Enjoy your burger — or your salad.”
Ariza said many of his employees as well as his customers have asked about nutrition. “My employees eat here a lot, and they want to be healthy, too,” he said.
O’Ferrall said one of the greatest successes in the past year has been the “oatmeal lineup — all under 300 calories.”
The company also is working on cutting back on sodium, fat and sugar in some of its longtime favorites. They are doing so gradually, so people won’t notice the changes.
McDonald’s Corp. also is testing healthier options to put on its menu next year. They include a twist on the 40-year classic Egg McMuffin. It will be made with egg whites, Canadian bacon and white cheddar cheese put on a whole grain muffin. The “Egg White Delight” will have just 260 calories. They’re also trying a grilled chicken option for Happy Meals that cater to children.
Tracey Altidor also didn’t notice the new calorie information on the counter menu until it was pointed out to her.
“Oh, there it is,” she said. “It’s pretty small. But I’m happy they are doing it.”
She said she tries to eat healthy, so that’s why she opted for the crispy chicken Snack Wrap for lunch. But she conceded that the ranch dressing she topped on it was loaded with calories. Oh, and she had some fries, too.
“I wanted to go into Pollo Tropical across the street, but the line was ridiculous,” she said.