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Cider our curious 18-year-old cat at Applewood Lodge, “confurs” with author Chuck Ebeling, about their new book of essays, “Apple Pressings” which is newly available on Amazon Books. Cider is acknowledged in the introduction for his role as he “trod the keys in attempts to add his random edits.” Author Chuck is more than willing to share the blame for any typos or spacing issues in the newly-published book with his “confuree.”fullsizeoutput_87d3

One of the odd yet fun assignments I had as head of corporate communications for McDonald’s was in helping build a relationship with Warren Buffett, who had quietly acquired a $1.5 billion position in McDonald’s stock. We decided to award him a rare McDonald’s Gold Card, entitling him to dine free at McDonald’s. We had Tiffany design and make the special card. Then we distributed Buffet’s photo to all the McDonald’s restaurants in Omaha, his home town, so they would recognize him if he presented the card. When I attended  a teacher’s award dinner he sponsored in Omaha, he was asked if he ever carried cash, and he pulled out his McDonald’s special card, telling the teachers he was most proud of it, but never had the courage to actually use it.

In the news story below, Bill Gates tells of the Chinese McDonald’s coupons we once provided Gates and Buffett, who chartered a train to travel together across China with their families. Buffett had contacted us before the trip, saying he knew he’d miss McDonald’s as they traveled through China, so could we please give him a map of the McDonald’s locations along his route. We did, and also gave the families a supply of Chinese McDonald’s coupons to use.

The Rob Lowe story below refers to the inventor of the Egg McMuffin, franchisee and former ad man Herb Peterson. Peterson created McDonald’s first breakfast item in the late 70s, introducing it to chairman Ray Kroc as “a poor man’s eggs benedict.”

 

Headline: Some of the richest billionaires in the world still eat at McDonald’s

1 Hour Ago

These billionaires have all the money in the world -- and they still eat at McDonald's

These billionaires have all the money in the world — and they still eat at McDonald’s

Despite their ability to spend, spend, spend, even some of the richest people in the world stick to a few frugal habits. For a few billionaires, that means opting out of Michelin-starred restaurants in favor of an American classic: McDonald’s.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was spotted eating a grab-and-go McDonald’s meal on the Mignanelli Steps near Piazza Spagna in Rome during his honeymoon with his new wife Priscilla Chan in 2012.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett loves the Golden Arches as well. He visits the restaurant every day for breakfast and never spends more than $3.17.

On his five-minute drive to the office, which he’s been doing for the past 54 years, Buffett stops by McDonald’s and orders one of three items.

Warren Buffett's McDonald's breakfast policy always keeps his meals under $3.17

Warren Buffett keeps his breakfast under $3.17

“I tell my wife, as I shave in the morning, I say, ‘Either $2.61, $2.95 or $3.17.’ And she puts that amount in the little cup by me here [in the car],” he explains in HBO’s documentary, “Becoming Warren Buffett.”

Each amount corresponds with a different option at McDonald’s. For $2.61, he can get two sausage patties, $3.17 gets him a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and $2.95 buys him a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit.

Buffett keeps it frugal even when treating his friends to lunch. In Bill and Melinda Gates’ 2017 annual letter, which they addressed to longtime friend Buffett, Bill tells the story of a particularly economical lunchBuffett took him out for years ago.

McDonald's Quarter Pounder hamburger

Getty Images
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder hamburger

“Remember the laugh we had when we traveled together to Hong Kong and decided to get lunch at McDonald’s? You offered to pay, dug into your pocket, and pulled out … coupons!” he writes.

Both Buffett and Gates are frequent enough patrons to Mickey D’s that they’ve earned the chain’s coveted Gold Cards. In a 2007 interview with CNBC, Buffett shared the contents of his wallet, showing off his card, which lets him eat for free at any McDonald’s in Omaha for the rest of his life.

“So that’s why the Buffett family has Christmas dinner at McDonald’s,” he laughs. “It explains a lot of things.”

Warren Buffett's most eccentric traits

Warren Buffett’s most eccentric traits

The cards are rare. While Buffett’s is only good in Omaha, he explains that Gates’ card gets him free meals anywhere in the world. “Mine is only good in Omaha, but I never leave Omaha so mine is just as good as his,” he says.

Billionaires aren’t the only ones who can boast of Gold Card privileges — although if helps to know someone. In 2015, actor Rob Lowe revealed his own card during a segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “My buddy’s dad invented the Egg McMuffin,” he says. “Which, to me, is like the greatest human achievement.”

Like Buffett’s card, Lowe’s was limited. He could only use it at McDonald’s franchises in Santa Barbara or Goleta, Calif., and it expired after a year, in 2016.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (PRWEB) DECEMBER 15, 2015
Bruges Waffles & Frites recently participated in a french fry taste test, the results of which shows them outperforming other restaurant franchises. The study, conducted by an independent research firm, Rise Strategic, hired secret shoppers to participate in the test. The shoppers were tasked with visiting several local restaurant franchises known for their fries and reporting on how the fries are prepared, wait times between ordering and receiving their fries, and the cost of a small order. They were then asked to rate each franchise on a scale of 1-5 in the following categories:
-Aroma
-Color
-Overall Flavor
-Saltiness
-Exterior Texture
-Interior Texture
-Consistency
-Separation
-Temperature
-Length
-Serving Size
-Value
-Variety of Condiments/Sauces
-Flavor of Condiments/Sauces
-Size & Shape
-Overall Rating
When the study was complete, Bruges authentic Belgian frites were shown to have the best overall flavor, best aroma, best presentation, best variety of condiments/sauces, best flavor of condiments/sauces, and were the only fries not under salted and with an ideal consistency. Bruges also had the highest rankings for ideal color, best exterior texture, and won the highest overall ratings.
“We are thrilled with the outcome of the survey results,” said Pierre Vandamme, Owner and co-founder of Bruges Waffles & Frites. “Since the history of fries dates back to Belgium, it makes sense that an authentic Belgian frite company should be topping the charts for best frites in the region. Our fries are not your typical french fry as they are fried twice for the perfect flavor and consistency. Paired with our hand-made dipping sauces, this is a recipe for french fry perfection!”
Shoppers in the taste test said the fries were delicious, presented beautifully, and ‘sooooo good.’ They loved the ambiance, the friendly employees and the fact that the fries were fresh and cooked to order. One shopper said, “It was worth the wait for freshly cooked fries!”
Bruges added Belgian frites to the menu after seeing the success their authentic waffles were having in the community and decided it was time to share another Belgian favorite. Today loyal fans rave about the frites on social media and online review sites. To learn more about the Bruges Waffles & Frites brand, and the restaurant franchise opportunities offered, visit the company website: http://www.brugesfranchising.com

Giving permission for McDonald’s restaurants to appear in films had been part of my job description for a long time, but when producer Roger Weisberg, who I’d worked with before, approached me on this one, I had to pause. They not only wanted to film at the Museum McDonald’s in Des Plaines, IL, the recreation of Ray Kroc’s first quick service hamburgers and fries restaurant of 1955, but they wanted someone for the controversial host of the film to interview there. I knew this one would be trouble, but I was intrigued, as the host would be Andrei Codrescu, a colorful Transylvanian poet who was burning up the airwaves on National Public Radio  as a social critic of all things American. But I was a fan of his show, and his oblique sense of humor, and I knew that Roger, and hopefully Andrei, had a soft spot for McDonald’s.

The premise of his documentary film, which was being produced for commercial distribution in movie houses, at least on the arts circuit, was that Andrei, who had never before driven a car, would travel from the east coast to the west, driving a 1968 red Cadillac convertible, producing a sort of “On The Road of the 90s” film of his colorful encounters with icons of popular American culture. I volunteered to do the interview with Andrei at Ray Kroc’s 1955 McDonald’s, but told almost no one in management as I was pretty sure Andrei’s controversial take on American culture would not sit easily with the keepers of our conservative corporate culture..So I donned my paper crew hat of the era, straightened my tie and walked onto the set of my first commercial film. When the movie came out, I think in 1993 or so, Vicki and I took our young  niece and nephew with us to see it at a theatre in Evanston. We just told them it would have something to do with McDonald’s. When the McDonald’s segment came up, my niece Amanda exclaimed, “It’s uncle Chuck.” The film, Road Scholar, while winner of a prestigious Peabody Award, only attracted a limited audience, probably mostly hip college students and quirky NPR fans. Around the same time, Road Scholar was produced as a book, with the subtitle “Coast to Coast late in the century.”  Following is the McDonald’s segment from the book (click on title), in which I’m quoted from the film.

Road Scholar

The First McDonald’s PROOF of the power of dreams: Ray Kroc, one man with a single idea, a rounded idee fixe called a hamburger, began to dream an empire and, lo and behold, one day the entire planet is covered by the mighty waves of his single thought…If anybody’s going to get to heaven it’s Mr. Kroc on a ladder of billions of burgers, the number that most approached infinity. Next to rock ‘n’ roll, McDonald’s is the most enduring American creation of the second half of the twentieth century. They are chomping them down in Moscow, Beijing, Des Moines, wearing them in Poughkeepsie and Frankfort…(sing this) CHUCK, a company official, speaking of First McDonald’s (now a museum): This is the only early McDonald’s restaurant that’s been preserved exactly as it opened April 15, 1955. And these days the students who come through Hamburger University over at our McDonald’s campus nearby come over to get a little feeling for the culture. It’s really a cultural experience. It’s a chance to see, touch and feel what McDonald was like at the beginning. .Now we’ve got for you an official McDonald’s crew hat here just as was worn in the fifties. And we make you an honorary crew person. AC: (Pointing to life size replica of early McDonald’s employee) .I could look like him; he’s tall. A hamburger-deficient diet during my childhood in Transylvania must have stunted my growth. Eighty-five billion burgers sold vs. 250 million Americans equals 340 burgers per American…that works out to four extra inches per American versus your average Romanian.

CHUCK; We used to talk about hamburgers in terms of if we stack them all up it would be a stack that would reach the moon and back 16 times. But I think we have gone quite a way beyond that. So we haven’t related it to any more planets lately.

As Chuck and AC converse:, Ray Kroc’s voice is heard beyond the grave: Transfer your fears into faith. Any you will inherit the freedom of the future. And f you believe in it – and believe in it hard – it is impossible to fail.

And now there is the McLean Deluxe, a skinnier version of the Big Mac for the fat-conscious American of the end of the Millennium. McDonald’s has so penetrated out national consciousness we even have McPoems now, which are poems mass-produced  in writing workshops at universities. And McTests, McThoughts, McReactions, McFeelings, and so on.

No meat eater myself, I watch the vast fields of wheat that end up between Mr. Kroc’s buns and the immense lowing herds that lay down  their lives for Big Mac. I can see too the intense flows of these  commodities through the banks and the money markets — the rivers of commerce paralleling  the rivers of wheat and meat, like mind and body.

In the novel The Pit by Frank Norris, a madman tries to corner the wheat market. Like Napoleon he is filled with dreams of glory. Every leaf of bread on earth will be stamped with his name. Alas! The drought he prays for does not come. Instead, there is a plentiful harvest. The earth, which rarely sympathizes with the dreams of Napoleons, buries him in wheat. All his plans go awry. The peasants of Europe are starving, and the wheat he has been hoarding spills over the shores of America and feeds them. The Midwest harbors such dreams occasionally. It must be the immensity of her plains that allows imperial daydreams to roll unimpeded.

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