McDonald's readies sustainable restaurants for Summer Olympics

There will be four McDonald's at the site

With opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics a little more than a month away, McDonald’s Corp. revealed several details about its four restaurants there, including a 1,500-seat flagship unit, to be operated at Olympic Park in London.

According to McDonald’s global marketing officer Dean Barrett, the brand’s Olympic Park flagship would not only be one of its biggest locations in the world, but also its most sustainable, with more energy-efficient kitchen equipment, water-saving faucets, and express lanes and contactless payment to speed throughput. The environmentally friendly design aligns with the sustainability goals set by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“London 2012 is set to be the most sustainable Games ever hosted, and this ambition inspired us to not only fulfill our role as official restaurant in the catering operation behind the event, but also to bind environmental sustainability into the heart of our state-of-the-art Olympic Park restaurant," said Jill McDonald, chief executive of McDonald’s United Kingdom, in a statement.

The flagship restaurant features many of the equipment and design elements that McDonald’s European system has implemented over the past five years as part of its reimaging program, she said. Barrett added in an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News that some of the sustainability elements could be added to the chain’s global reimaging program, including in the United States.

“Based on their usability, you’ll see a lot more of those sustainability efforts,” Barrett said. “They would also be available in the next remodeling cycle for restaurants that have already been reimaged.”

When the restaurants are dismantled after the Olympics, 75 percent of the building materials will be reused and every item of equipment and furniture will be recycled in McDonald’s restaurants throughout the world, he said.

The menu and crew at the Olympic Park restaurants will be McDonald’s most diverse to date, he said. More than 2,000 of McDonald’s top-performing managers and crew members from 42 countries will make up its Olympic Champion Crew to staff the restaurants.

The menu will include core favorites like the Big Mac, French fries and Chicken McNuggets, as well as European best sellers like porridge, large wraps, and sustainable tea and coffee served with organic milk from the United Kingdom. A new fruit juice beverage, the Fruitizz, will be offered after extensive testing in the United Kingdom, Barrett said.

The Olympics will also start marketing at the chain’s restaurants around the world McDonald’s official sponsorship of the Games and its Champions of Play initiative to promote active lifestyles for kids, he said.

“All our countries are very excited about being associated once again with the Olympics,” Barrett said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun activity for us in London, but customers also will see a lot of fun coming to life at their local restaurants.”

Opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics begin July 27.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s operates or franchises more than 33,500 restaurants in 119 countries, including more than 14,000 in the United States.

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