MSG & The Case For NOA

Dear Fellow Owners,

McDonald’s is a best in class brand. It was Ray’s obsession. It was Ray who said “we take the hamburger business more serious than anybody else.” The Golden Arches became ubiquitous because of our maniacal focus, because of our high standards. And anyone who knew Ray, knew that he was a fighter. He was quick to his feet. He was tenacious. It was that tenacity that drove our growth and is why we are first class.

At McDonald’s, we are statesmen and street fighters. As owners of the restaurants, we never lose focus of the restaurants. The moment of truth happens in our restaurants. This will always be our primary focus. The corporation’s primary focus is different. Their first priority is the protection of the brand. They must be more risk adverse than those of us on the front lines. They must remain above the fray. And yet we must defend ourselves in today’s politically charged world. There are plenty of people who want to use our brand for their own agendas. This is where the NOA steps in.

At the NOA, we can play a vital role where the corporation can not. We have no formal connection to McDonald’s and therefore can take risks the Corporation can not. The latest issue with MSG is a telling example. The NOA’s message of positive support for the usage of MSG changed the game. We are the number 1 restaurant brand in the world and what we say matters. We will make headlines and we will draw attention to whatever we do. MSG has had a controversial history. The science has proven it to be harmless but the reputation persists. Our smaller competitors do not draw criticism for using it like we will and yet we will not be competitive without using it. 

So what do we do? The NOA’s affirmative support for our MSG changed the national dialogue on MSG. Without NOA’s preemptive action, the headlines would have been very negative of our MSG usage. The follow on headlines would have gone after us until we surrendered and took it out. After the NOA’s message, the press had no choice but to incorporate our points and the stories quickly faded. Most importantly, we aren’t going into the Chicken Wars with our hands tied behind our backs.

There will be more issues like MSG in our future, especially as we get back to leading the industry. Leadership requires projecting a vision, it requires taking risks, it requires breaking new ground. It will also require defending our decisions and our brand. The NOA stands ready to do so. Ray would too.

Your NOA Board
Blake Casper
Val Netland
Bob Hogan
Larry Tripplett
Michael Retzer Jr.
Joel Pellicci
Robert Lane
Mike Donahue, Executive Director

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