John Mackey versus the McDonald Brothers


The iconic "Big Mac"
The iconic “Big Mac”

Lets pretend that John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, and the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, have gathered together for a round table dinner discussion. In a pot-luck fashion, they have each brought different dishes to the gathering…“Gee John, what’s this veggie stuff you have brought with you? Won’t you try one of our famous burgers?”
“Well Mac and Dick, I appreciate your offerings, but I have been a vegan for a long time, and will not eat anything produced by animals. I see you have brought your famous burgers. Famous for their widespread affordability and iconic golden-arch association. However, can these items promise quality standards? Like natural and organic farming methods?”
“Our burgers are for all Americans, rich and poor. We are an American company and can offer a decent meal for a dollar. Well that’s value if I have ever heard of it.”
“What about the anti-biotics and chemicals added to the meat? Or the fact that one of your burgers could be made of pink slime and pieces of thousands of different cows? Would you consider putting that in the fine print of your famous dollar menu? How do you think customers would react hearing this?”
“Hey, let the numbers do the talking. All this media attention to ‘organic and natural’ is only because of veg-head hippies causing trouble that don’t mean anything… We are the largest producers of meat in the US, and meat production has forever been changed. We are one of the top companies leading the control of the food system.”
“Your industry domination means nothing if your product’s only redeeming quality relies on price. You need to have a corporate structure that takes care of all of your stakeholders, not just your own personal domination. At Whole Foods, our company underpinnings deal with not only quality standards and organic farming, but also seafood sustainability, animal welfare standards, caring for communities, and  whole trade guarantees. Whole Foods is one of the best companies to work for, with the highest employee turnover rate in the grocery business”
“Well our workers are specially trained to maximize our efficiency. You may be losing customers because of lofty prices while we save money and cut costs. We work for speed, and our employees are trained to keep up with our fast production lines. If it wasn’t for us, the factory system wouldn’t be what it is today. We brought factory to the kitchen.”
“Your employees are easy to replace, and like the food, are not fully valued. They earn low wages and are not treated with sustainable methods. The fast food industry is a strong one, but as more and more people realize the obesity epidemic occurring in our nation, they will hop on the healthy bandwagon. Not to mention, your company will continue to grow a bad rep when the people discover your poor treatment of workers…I recommend that you change your ways. People will take notice when documentaries like Food Inc. uncover the abuse that animals like chickens and cows suffer. Not only this, they will realize the health risks that they make when they bite into a Big Mac.”

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4 thoughts on “John Mackey versus the McDonald Brothers”

  1. Thought this was a cool juxtaposition of the different ways to run a food company– one is extremely driven at profits (McDonalds), whereas the other cares about its company mission. Is this similar to a Freeman vs. Friedman debate?

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  2. This would actually be an awesome conversation. While one company focuses on a specific mission and the other on profits, each have their flaws. However, despite their flaws (mainly McDonald’s) I still purchase their food because it’s so good. Yes, the way they make it might be kind of gross, but can people really stop purchasing it because of the way its made despite the great flavor and cheap prices that satisfy many low income families?

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  3. Great choice for a dialogue! Do you think Whole Foods could ever achieve the scale of McDonalds. Recently Subway overtook the priorly dominate food retailer, McDonalds, in number of stores world wide. Although I understand McDonalds and Whole Foods don’t provide the same services, do you think Whole Foods could ever have a comparable market penetration?

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