SF McD’s franchise owners outsmart city, skirt around Happy Meal toy ban

Posted by: ST on November 30, 2011 at 9:06 am

I love it. Via the SF Chronicle:

San Francisco’s law that bans toy giveaways in kids’ meals high in fat, salt and sugar goes into effect Thursday, and at least one fast-food operator has devised a novel way to comply.

McDonald’s will start charging customers 10 cents who request the popular plastic trinkets be added to their Happy Meals.

The Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance was passed by the Board of Supervisors and withstood a veto by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom last fall.

Chain restaurants no longer will be able to give away toys with Happy Meals and other children’s meals that don’t meet the city’s strict nutritional standards.

San Francisco drew nationwide scrutiny for passing the ban, with some calling it a good move to combat childhood obesity, while others mocked it as nanny-state politics.

“This law is not what my customers wanted or asked for, but the law’s the law,” said Scott Rodrick, who owns 10 of the 19 McDonald’s franchises in the city.

Instead of reducing fat, salt and sugar in children’s meals and offering more fruits and vegetables, Rodrick’s stores will adhere to the law Thursday by making customers pay an extra 10 cents for a Happy Meal toy. Customers who buy Happy Meals outside San Francisco, including just across the border in Daly City, will continue to get the toy gratis.

“It complies with the letter of the law,” Rodrick said. The three other McDonald’s franchise owners in the city have agreed to follow the same tack.

Proceeds from the toy sales will be used to help build a new Ronald McDonald House to temporarily house families with sick children at the new UCSF Hospital under construction at the Mission Bay campus.

For now, Rodrick said, he has no plans to reduce the cost of the children’s meals. The 10-cent fee came from surveying customers, said Danya Proud, director of media relations for McDonald’s USA. “They told us 10 cents is fair and reasonable,” especially after being told the money would go to a charity, she said.

This is a move that in theory shouldn’t upset the nanny state SF Supervisors who supported the stupid ban in the first place — under the guise of “helping children.” After all, McD’s is using the money they make from the toy sales to build a new Ronald McDonald House, which really WILL help children in need. And if the “giving nature” of liberals we constantly hear so much about is anything remotely close to the truth, than many a Happy Meal plus toy will be sold in San Franicsco, which means not only will the kids win, but capitalism and the freedom to choose will, too.

Not exactly what the Supervisors were hoping for, I’m sure. ;)

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6 Responses to “SF McD’s franchise owners outsmart city, skirt around Happy Meal toy ban”


  1. Ryan says:

    I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve heard from the SF Board of Supervisors on this issue. Right now they’re probably thinking, “McDonald’s pulled a fast one on us — how can we retaliate?”

    Will the next move be an all-out ban on toys of any sort sold at fast food restaurants?

    If they really want to “help the children” this is the logical next step and won’t surprise me at all.

    What a joke of a city.

  2. redgypsy says:

    Kudos to this owner. This whole thing has gotten incredibly ridiculous. I would suppose he’s beginning to wonder why he bought these franchises in such a loopy, twisted city.
    But it does make a nice finger-lick, point and sizzle sort of moment!

  3. Michael Teuber says:

    B…B…But we don’t want to tell you what to eat…we just want to help restaurants help you make better choices! For the children. For the children (who you should probably have aborted)!

  4. Carlos says:

    Speaking of charities (Ronald McDonald House, for example), this is one of the first of the tax deductions that will be targeted by the Obhammud administration should he be re-elected. It is inconceivable to socialists that anyone anywhere could possibly wish to receive charity that wasn’t from the government, and to wish so would simply show just how dangerous a person that is.

    And the people who donate to charities (especially religious ones)? OFF TO THE RE-EDUCATION CAMPS!!

  5. Steph says:

    This article brought to mind an incident that took place in the 70’s when our family lived there. We went to a simple Baptist church that had a young pastor, wife and 2 children. When the pastor’s wife became visibly pregnant with their 3rd child, one of the church members literally got into the wife’s face and accused her of “robbing” her (the member) children of oxygen! So SF has been nuts for a long, long time. :x

  6. PE says:

    Is it legal for naked people to go into any McDonald’s in SF?