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Harris Interactive’s annual RQ (Reputation Quotient) Report, a survey of nearly 30,000 members of the general public, on the country’s 60 most visible companies is just out (see harrisinteractive.com for full report). It compares results among those companies in many categories for dates between December and February of 2009/10 vs. 2008/09.

McDonald’s moved into the top half of the 60 companies for the first time, from 31st with an RQ score of 71.84 in 2008 to 29th, with a score of 73.45 in 2009. McDonald’s ranked 3rd overall in “Common Look and Feel” of its corporate communications and 7th overall as “Easily Recognizable.”

Ran across MBurger yesterday, behind Michigan Avenue’s Apple Store, on Huron. This inconspicuous, tiny new spot was carved out of Tru’s former pastry room, and the customer service area is 12 by 12 with just 8 rickety seats, but a fabulous window view into Tru’s kitchen. (MBurger’s parent Tru is the fine-dining restaurant with a menu that starts at $95 and goes to the moon.)

The basic burger-plus menu reminds me of the one Dick and Mac McDonald created out of their previous bar-be-cue drive-in in 1948’s San Bernardino. I had a double burger, fries and diet coke. The bill was around $8, the food served in a bag, and for a burger guy like me (retired McDonald’s VP), it was great. Juicy burgers, nice chopped lettuce and a soft bun. Fries were super shoestrings, thinner than McDonald’s, hot and tasty, like the fries you get with an authentic steak frite. Check out their menu at their simple website — MBurgerchicago.com. I hear they will set up a nice street-side al fresco dining area when it warms up. The small staff is grown-up and friendly.

MBurger won’t be the next McDonald’s, but I’d go back. A high quality fast food burger take-out experience, with a pedigree. By the way, I didn’t buy an IPad around the corner — went online there and saw that many new IPad owners are reporting Wi-Fi connection problems. Let’s wait for the new, improved version.

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