High-Quality Food Sends McDonald's Packing
December 29, 2006
The following is a reprint from the blog "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb":
Cheap McDonald's junk food beat out by fresh farmer's market
This BBC News story is a gentle reminder that the whole world hasn't gone completely off the deep end nutritionally just yet.
When the world's most recognized restaurant chain decided to infiltrate the community of Tavistock, Devon in the UK back in 1999, they had high hopes that it would produce high profits as people became addicted to the decidedly unhealthy menu offerings. McDonald's thought it was going to be able to add another achievement to its neverending quest for worldwide domination.
But they didn't expect this at all.
In less than seven years, this once-promising bastion of junk food glory has been a total bust for Mickey D's. Why? Well, it seems the local town folk like the food they can get from their friendly neighborhood farmers' market a whole lot better than the garbage they serve at McDonald's.
In fact, that local business--Tavistock Farmers' Market--was recently named South-West "Britain's Favorite Farmers' Market Award" by Country Life magazine in October 2006. This quaint little marketplace held on the second and fourth Saturdays each month in front of Town Hall features 22 stallholders offering such exquisite foods like buffalo meat, salmon pâté, ostrich meat, emu eggs, fresh-grown produce and so much more.
To add to the ambience of the Tavistock Farmers' Market experience, there is a jazz band, harpist and silver band that keeps the patrons entertained while they fill their baskets full of delicious and nutritious foods. Country Life describes it as "a shop window for the high-quality ingredients available in the South-West and has established itself as a fortnightly social occasion that brings the whole community together."
Hurray for Tavistock Farmers' Market! What an amazing business success story! Needless to say, sales are BOOMING while the local McDonald's has seen stale and stagnant customer counts and increases in their bottom line at best. Why should they expect anything different when the competition is demolishing the best-known fast food chain in the world?! You know that's gotta be embarassing!
Not surprisingly, McDonald's is blaming the changing demographics for their failure in this community.
"With 1,250 restaurants across the UK, it's essential that we continue to have the right restaurants in the right places," a McDonald's lackey exclaimed. "Since the restaurant opened in 1999, the trading patterns of Tavistock high street have changed and as a result we have taken the difficult decision to cease trading at this site."
Oh, that's just too funny. Here's the translation: We're getting our butts whipped by a company that offers its customers real, high-quality food in an engaging and fun environment so it's time for us to cut our losses and get the heck out of here before anyone notices just how badly we were beaten at our own game.
You won't see me crying a single tear over this. While I strongly believe McDonald's has the right to do business wherever it wants, this story should be a solid lesson in what happens when you allow the economic market forces to work. The people of this community rejected the idea that they HAD to eat at McDonald's and simply chose to eat healthier by shopping the farmers' market insteady. GOOD FOR THEM!
So, how do we make this happen in small town America? Perhaps some of the farmers' markets across the United States could learn a lesson or two from the Tavistock Farmers' Market model in the UK. I'm sure they'd be happy to share their "secrets" with anyone who sent them an e-mail at .
Tavistock spokesman John Taylor responded to the news that McDonald's was leaving town by saying this doesn't surprise him in the least.
"It just goes to show that the food is so good here we have seen them off. Because of the quality of our local food, McDonald's has not been able to compete," he concluded. "I think there is definitely a link. We have made every effort to make Tavistock a haven for local food and McDonald's wasn't local food, so they suffered."
In this round of healthy vs. fast food, it's HEALTHY 1, FAST FOOD 0.