McDonald’s has built a supersized restaurant at London's Olumpic Park - but it will only last for six weeks.
The fast-food giant, a top Olympics sponsor with exclusive rights to sell branded food products inside the venue, said the two-storey McDonald's at the games would be the biggest and busiest in the world, seating 1500 diners and serving up to 14,000 people a day.
But despite complaints by British doctors, the food choices at the Olympics are largely identical to McDonald’s fare around the world - Big Macs, milkshakes, fries and chicken nuggets.
The only addition to the menu is iced fruit smoothies, which haven’t yet been introduced in other British McDonald’s.
The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges recently said that having McDonald’s sponsor the Olympics sends the wrong message - not least in Britain, which is battling increasing obesity. The group also criticized London Olympic organizers for accepting sponsorships from Coca-Cola and brewer Heineken, the official drinks sellers at the games.
McDonald’s says it is offering its menu mainstays of burgers and fries, alongside healthier options because people enjoy the familiarity. It also prints out calorie information per item on its menu boards.
“We do offer a breadth of menu,” said Jill McDonald, chief executive at McDonald’s UK. “You can see on the menu here we have grilled chicken wraps, we have salads, fruit smoothies as well as the more indulgent recipes that people know and love.”
McDonald’s will bring in 2000 of its best staffers to run four outlets at the Olympics venue: the vast flagship, another restaurant for spectators, one in the Athletes’ Village and a fourth in the media centre.
Everything in the restaurant will be dismantled after the Games. Three-quarters of the furniture and fittings at the flagship are set to be reused in other McDonald’s restaurants after the games, and special waste-sorting facilities will ensure that most garbage gets recycled, executives said. All the beef will come from British farms, and the chocolate used in muffins will be fair-trade.
McDonald’s has been an official Olympics sponsor since 1976, and said it would be using its expertise to provide “high-quality British food” at the games.