Authors: Wysocki, J.; Denhardt, A.; and O’Rourke, J. S. (Editor)
McDonald’s Corporation, the leader among U.S. franchise quick-service restaurants, found in 2002 that its reputation for steady growth and strong profitability were slipping. At the same time, much of the market for fast food in North America began migrating to lower-calorie, healthier alternatives. Fast food and social trend critics began blaming quick service restaurants for a wide range of health problems, including obesity and weight-related illnesses. New York attorney Samuel Hirsch filed a class action suit on behalf of obese and overweight children against McDonald’s, alleging that the fast-food chain “negligently, recklessly and/or intentionally” marketed food products that are “high in fat, salt, sugar, and cholesterol” while failing to warn of those ingredients’ links to “obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, elevated cholesterol intake, related cancers,” and other conditions.
McDonald’s reputation, profitability, and future are at stake as it prepares in 2003 to defend itself, its products, and its business. 10 pp. Case #03-06. (2003)
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