Lisa Abraham of the Akron Beacon Journal recently heard Chef Daniel Coudreaut, senior director of culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA, speak about the McDonald's menu. Coudreaut discussed questions related to obesity, and children's diets, and then flat out said:
"I don't see anything on the menu that's unhealthy."
Coudreaut explained that his children eat at McDonald's about once a week, as does Coudreaut, who enjoys a Big Mac. He also defends McNuggets claiming they are merely "forcemeat."
Called the most powerful chef in America by several publications, Coudreaut is indirectly responsible for millions of Americans' meals every month. In Abraham's article, she mentions some of Coudreaut's successes -- smoothies with real fruit, apple slices in Happy Meals and smaller orders of french fries. He's perhaps most proud of the oatmeal.
But are there unhealthy items on the menu? Last time we checked, McDonald's french fries or double quarter pounder with cheese were not topping any dieters good-to-eat list.
America's Biggest Fast Food Chains
America's Drive-In rounds out the top 10 with U.S. revenues of $3.6 billion.
KFC, the biggest chicken vendor in America, comes in ninth with revenues of $4.7 billion, though there were 107 fewer outposts in August 2011 than there were the year before.
8. Pizza Hut
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/pizza-hut-ads_n_911106.html" target="_hplink">Good ads</a> equal big revenues for the biggest pizza chain in America. Pizza Hut took in a solid $5.4 billion in 2010.
7. Dunkin Donuts
America runs on Dunkin' to the tune of $6 billion a year -- that's almost $20 for each and every person in the country.
6. Taco Bell
2010 U.S. revenues of $6.9 billion make Taco Bell the biggest Mexican restaurant chain in the country.
Starbucks may have had a few hiccups <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/13/starbucks-bistro-boxes_n_897768.html" target="_hplink">when it comes to introducing food</a>. But its success in beverages has propelled American's biggest coffee purveyor into fifth place among fast food chains, with 2010 revenues of $7.6 billion.
Wendy's fries may be <a href="http://www.slashfood.com/2011/04/20/wendys-fries-vs-mcdonalds-fries-taste-test/" target="_hplink">number one</a>, but its revenues aren't there quite yet.
3. Burger King
Number two burger chain Burger King was sold for $3.26 billion to 3G Capital in 2009. 2010 revenues of $8.6 billion make that sound like a deal to us! (We know, we know, there's a difference between revenues and profits...)
Subway has the most outlets of any fast food brand; it expanded that total by 816 in the past year alone. But because each store is relatively small, revenues, at $10 billion, pale in comparison with those at the number one chain.
With revenues standing at a whopping $32.4 billion in 2010, the Golden Arches aren't being dethroned any time soon. What's surprising about its success is that per store sales at McDonald's are bigger than those even cult-ish brands with fewer outlets. With $2.4 million <em>per store</em>, they're second only to Chick Fil-A, which fans travel miles to visit.