McDonald’s: Not Your Friendly, Neighborhood RestaurantBy Charles Margulis
There’s a new little mac n cheese restaurant opening next week in my neighborhood. It’s called Homeroom, and it plans to highlight several mouth-watering sounding varieties of that great American comfort food.
Now I don’t usually write about the local food scene, but what caught my attention (and that of some local press) was the name change the restaurant was forced to make in the weeks leading up to their opening.
Homeroom’s founders Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade planned to call their place “Little Mac,” evoking the small neighborhood feel they wanted their café to embody. But somehow fast-food behemoth McDonald’s got wind of the coming opening, and threatened the restaurant neophytes with trademark infringement. McDonald’s told them that the use of “Mac” in the restaurant’s name might create “brand confusion,” leaving people unable to discern the difference between the two shops.
Well, I’m planning to visit Homeroom as soon as I can, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make it there without veering off in a confused haze towards Micky Ds. But as a service to McDonalds, and for those who may still be unsure about the differences between the two, here’s a quick “brand simplification” guide:
- Signature dishes: Homeroom serves mac and cheese made with local, sustainable ingredients; McDonald’s serves burgers made from beef that may contain as much as 25% of an ammonia-doused, feces-drenched filler .
- Specialty beverages: Homeroom offers home-made root bear and organic limeade; McDonald’s has 1,110-calorie “milkshakes.”
- Cheese suppliers: Homeroom uses cheeses made by local, artisanal cheese makers; McDonald’s buys from Kraft (makers of sometimes wormy cheese products) and others.
- Kids Items: Homeroom has a mild-cheddar mac for kids; McDonald’s “healthy choices” include apples in caramel sauce and sweetened milk.
- Employment practices: Homeroom founders hope “to make Homeroom a great place to work”; McDonald’s is anti-union and been accused of paying below minimum wage.
- Animal rights: At Homeroom, a dog can lounge on a new banquette; McDonalds has been the target of protests for buying food from cruel animal factories.