Our Desk | McD reads MDT!

Anthony Lam

In my previous Our Desk article, the lack of marketing by a particular chain restaurant for other types of meat products – other than the prime quality type of beef – was discussed.
Following the publication of the article – whether it be a coincidence or sign of effectiveness – the fast-food chain started hanging posters highlighting its chicken products, including chicken burgers, on street-facing windows of its outlets.
It has given me the sneaking – but flattering – feeling that the chain does read our paper! Phew!
To my disappointment, the promotion only went for two weeks or so before it was replaced again by another promotion for its beef products. I wasn’t quite surprised because the chain has been placing abundant marketing weight on the promotion of its beef products.
As time went on, the chain started advertising its Lunar New Year celebratory products. Despite being originally from the United States, the fast-food chain has been a spectacular example of glocalization, even marching into classrooms as a lecture topic.
Anyway, the chain has “revived” its “Wealth and Bliss-inviting Burger”, which has been there for several consecutive Lunar New Year already. If my memory serves me well, the chain has previously offered the burger with different patties, including chicken, pork and beef.
This year, however, the chain decided to highlight the last type of meat only, dropping the former two. The decision is easily explicable because the sign for this Lunar Year is the Ox, and obviously the chain wants to highlight that.
My only comment is that I find it weird to extensively consume the type of meat in its lunar year.
Nonetheless, the chain has previously added other meat options in the middle of the Lunar New Year promotion. It piqued my curiosity as to whether it will administer the same tactic to generate greater public demand.
Contributing half of my article to meat may infuriate non-meat-eaters, or vegetarians. I must stress that I feel nothing negative about their dietary choice. I have even pressed restaurants extensively to offer wider vegetarian options whenever I have had the chance.
I still remember when I was at the press session of the opening of a fancy café, I questioned the owner about vegetarian offerings at the café. I did so, to the extent that not only did the owner think I was a vegetarian, they also confused healthy foods with vegetarian ones, despite the fact that the latter can also be greasy, fatty and heavy.
I was browsing a local vegetarian social media group the other day. Someone criticized a five-star hotel for making expensive vegetarian set menus. Set aside the fact that they were not welcoming the hotel’s effort to promote vegetarian fine dining, it just sounded to me like they were criticizing Alain Ducasse or Robuchon restaurants for charging MOP2,000 per person for a dinner.
Let’s not forget the fact that the menu they were commenting on has 10 courses in total, with the result that each dish averages out to cost less than MOP100.
Some other questions lingered in my mind: is truffle vegetarian? Is Matsutake Mushroom? Is 30-year-old preserved tangerine peels? What about ginseng? And aged Pu-er tea?
I simply want to point out that vegetarian dining – just because the ingredients are vegetables – need not be inexpensive by its nature alone.
What is also important is that I’m not saying that vegetarian dining has to be expensive. Rather, it must be emphasized that there should be different styles of vegetarian dining experiences to cater to various occasions and populations.
Some people fancy fine-dining for special celebrations, while others prefer down-to-earth eateries.

Categories Opinion