Big Mac

Just finished watching “The Founder” on my flight from Edmonton to Denver, as recommended by Guns and Roses fan (even though she didn’t know any of the songs) and Zoetis team member Megan Clifton.

I enjoyed it very much and it got me to thinking. I remember the first time I went to McDonalds. It was with my Father, and I had helped unload a bunch of oil cases as he was a Exxon distributor, and we went to the new McDonalds and I had my first Big Mac. He and my stepmother Yvonne were very involved in the business world of Helena, Montana and they ate out quite often.

My Mother and stepfather Ralph Wegner were Ranch folks and we ate three big meals a day, mostly from everything grown on the place. We had a custom slaughter business about a hundred yards from the kitchen door so my mother was able to run a business and cook those good meals and do her job. We always had hired help around so it required her to cook for family and crew.

During the week I lived and worked and went to school on the ranch and on the weekends I stayed with the Dad side of the family and Saturdays were spent at the bulk plant or helping with auctions.

One lifestyle was very different from the other, both Mother and Step Mother were very good cooks(Granny Alice was always my favorite of all time) but very different. I guess you could call one a town cook and one a country cook.

My point is differ to lifestyles create different eating and dining habits.

So back 45 or 50 years ago McDonalds was the place I always wanted to eat. It was so good. About 25 years ago our kids always wanted to go to McDonalds, and we couldn’t get them out of “playland”. (Mother Tammy crawled through the door to the plastic balls to drag Rial out more than once). I wanted to go somewhere else by that time and the kids wanted to play, so we usually went to Mickey D’s.

Mesa still had a little country in her. Brad Cameron, Mesa and I were at one of the fast food places and Mesa opened up her burger and pulled the pickles off and told us she didn’t like “town pickles ” and I remember Brad getting quite a kick out of it.

In the first 25 or so years of McDonalds in my memory it was pretty much the model that I just learned about in the movie, and it worked for the fast paced “town” lifestyle
People were living. It was a big treat for our kids when we came to town when we were living on ranches in remote areas.

In the last 10 or 15 years I have seen McDonalds having to try to make changes to fit the customers needs, and it seems they are behind and having a hard time catching up.

Health of nutrition has moved way up on the priority list, and the quality and choices of fast food have improved. People are eating with a conscience and make the eating decisions on more things than convenience.

When I am traveling with animals or am in a hurry I like to stop at McDonalds and I like a double quarter pounder with cheese, fries and a ice tea. When I was younger I loved Big Macs, fries and a coke. Now I still like it, but it’s not what I choose very often.  Things change.

I wonder what kind of impact fast food has had on the beef industry? What if we were all like ranch or farm folks and ate mostly home cooked meals. We seem to have been real fortunate in the past to have lots of desire for our product. We still do, but is it still as strong? The folks that make the decision to buy the end product we produce are not the ones we are selling to. McDonalds, Golden Corral, Applebee’s, all the way to Ruth’s Cris, don’t buy from a single rancher or even feedlot that I know of. We produce a product that we are at the mercy of someone else to sell it for us. We can have all the passion we want about our product, but if it doesn’t fit the needs of our customers, we are in trouble.

I have been listening and watching people not involved in the livestock business and what I see is not always what I here from the research and opinions of those involved in the business.

In the Denver airport I have always seen a very long line at McDonalds and never ate there because of the line. Chic Fil-A has opened now and it has a huge line, (not on Sunday)and McDonalds hardly ever does. I think this is important to see. The customer is changing. I think demographics have a lot to do with it, as well as priorities of perceived quality of food and health fads in food.(low carb and gluten free diets)



So I really am thankful for McDonalds. I liked the movie and I have enjoyed the food they have provided my family and me, as well as increasing the demand of beef so much for our industry. I think you would enjoy watching the movie.