In mid-September, McDonald’s began posting calorie counts on the menus at all of its 14,000 U.S. locations. It has already been experimenting with placards listing menu items under 400 calories and last summer launched an app that provides calorie information and helps customers build customized meal plans.
To prepare 750,000 frontline employees to answer customers’ questions, McDonald’s is launching an e-learning program for crew members covering nutrition, calories, and the company’s menu.
Support from the top
Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s USA, is responsible for the strategic direction and overall business results of the 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. She believes the new learning program supports the company’s efforts to provide customers with information for making balanced choices when they order.
“Making nutrition information more accessible for our customers begins by making it more accessible to our own employees,” she said. “Providing our crew members with information about how food, nutrition and energy are related for the sake of their own lifestyles helps our collective efforts to provide everyone with the information they need to make the balanced choices that are right for them.
“It often surprises people to learn that about 80 percent of our national menu choices, including beverages, are 400 calories or less for the standard recipe, excluding sauces and salad dressing. Knowing the facts, being able to access our nutrition information on our menu boards and online, and being served by more knowledgeable crew members can help our customers make their choices.”
Access and encouragement
The self-paced, e-learning module, Food & You, is accessible through McDonald’s Connection platform – which supports dedicated computers used in the restaurants for crew training.
The course focuses on how food, nutrition, and energy are related, and provides education on nutrition topics, such as balancing calories and portion sizes, and eating from recommended food groups. Participants also learn how McDonald’s menu items can be a part of a nutritious lifestyle and wholesome eating choices.
To encourage participation in the voluntary elearning program, internal communication and promotion of the course will be accompanied by testimonials from managers and crew who have completed it, noting their greater understanding of the interplay of food, nutrition and energy, as well as improved confidence in being able to speak about McDonald’s menu within the context of making choices to help support a nutritious lifestyle.