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McDonald’s hosts ‘Open Doors Tour’ for Cape moms; 20 attendees learn facts, operations

By Staff | May 21, 2008

By DREW WINCHESTER, “mailto:dwinchester@breezenewspapers.com”>dwinchester@breezenewspapers.com

The production line is buzzing at the new McDonald’s near Kismet Parkway. Hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and french fries are getting bagged by busy staff members. Daily, they move cars through the drive-up windows quickly, and serve those waiting at the counter with smiles.

Twenty Cape Coral moms got the chance to see this action from “Behind the Counter” Tuesday, as a part of McDonald’s Open Doors Tours. The tours were designed to share the McDonald’s story through an interactive experience.

Moms got to tour the restaurant from front to back, and learn how McDonald’s goes about serving billions of people around the world.

For Cape mom Robin Wolf it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

I wanted to see for myself,” Wolf said. “I take my kids to McDonald’s all the time. This is a rare opportunity, and I thought it would be kind of neat. Plus I wanted to see Ronald McDonald’s shoe size.

The new restaurant near Kismet is the perfect location for Wolf, who is a working mom with a son who plays baseball. Wolf said they eat McDonald’s roughly two times a week because baseball games and practice keep her son out late.

Sometimes my son doesn’t get done till 9 at night. He’s a growing boy and he has to eat,” Wolf said. “I used to have to go all the way over to Santa Barbara. Now I come here, it’s like two minutes from my house.

Local McDonald’s owner Fred Frederic and his son, Tim, hosted the event. The Frederic family has been involved with McDonald’s for 38 years, and been in the Cape for 21.

Tim owns and operates the McDonald’s at Kismet.

I’ve been at McDonald’s my whole life. I’ve got ketchup in my veins,” he said.

Annually, the McDonald’s corporation buys more than 100 million pounds of potatoes, 50 million pounds of beef and 42 million pounds of chicken. It is the single largest purchaser of apples in the world, and it serves 47 million people daily in more than 100 countries.

According to David Beaman of McDonald’s operations, the business’ success has been attributed to the use of the freshest ingredients and the constant attention to food safety.

Meeting the needs of customers has really come into play over the last few years. Bottom line, we use the freshest ingredients possible,” Beaman said. “Behind our crazy counters we want to be sure we’re doing our best to serve the safest product. Food safety procedures are the top priority of McDonald’s.

Part of the event was a discussion of the impact the local Ronald McDonald House has had in Southwest Florida since its opening in 1996.

Executive Director Debra Newman said a large percentage of families helped by the charity have been due to premature birth. The charity has helped 2,000 families since its inception.

Mainly we have the parents of premature infants,” she said. “You know, they’re here for four or five months. Without the house, where would they stay?

Though the tour covered multiple aspects of McDonald’s operations, for mothers like Sarah Jump, the food is what piqued her curiosity and brought her out for the tour.

I have four kids who eat here all the time, and I wanted to see what was going on behind the counter,” Jump said.