McDonald’s fuels up Fifa World Cup fans and footballersJune 14th, 2010 by H&R | Categories: beverages, food, government, restaurants, social, tourism, training
McDonald’s Rock ‘n Roll restaurant on Rivonia Road in Sandton, Johannesburg, hosted senior McDonald’s executives from the US and SA as well as a string of sports stars last week Thursday (10 June) morning. The event was to launch the various 2010 Fifa World Cup sponsorship programmes with which the global restaurant chain is involved.
Special guests included:
- John “Shoes” Moshoeu from South Africa
- Sir Geoff Hurst from England, who played centre forward for England in its 1966 World Cup home win
- Patrick Vieira, a Senegalese-born member of the winning French team for the 1998 World Cup in that country
- Julie Foudy, US-born two-time Women’s World Cup winner and three-time Olympic medal winner
- McDonald’s president and chief operating officer Don Thompson
- McDonald’s Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa President Tim Fenton
- McDonald’s South Africa MD Greg Solomon
- Chief Mandla Mandela from the Mvezo Traditional Council
As official restaurant for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, McDonald’s has raised its profile through some specific social responsibility initiatives. Don Thompson explains: “Customers expect McDonald’s to sponsor the world’s biggest sporting event, and they want us to connect them to the excitement of this global competition. It’s a perfect fit for us because we are truly a local business located in every corner of the world.”
Some 1408 children aged between six and ten years old have been chosen through competitions and contests to participate in the McDonald’s Player Escort programme. Some 1275 are from South Africa and the remainder from 46 other countries.
These kiddies get to hold the hands of the footballers as they walk onto the pitch for the games, as well as tour cultural sites while in South Africa and play their own friendly football matches in several host cities. Twelve of the McDonald’s Player Escorts held hands with presenters as they went onstage and joined performers during the Kick Off Concert in Johannesburg last week.
McDonald’s launched its Player Escort programme in 2002 at the Fifa World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Since then some 6000 children have participated.
Some 44 children were selected from the Mvezo region for this year’s event, which is Nelson Mandela’s birthplace. McDonald’s also donated US$50 000 to purchase a new bus for the Mvezo community centre to help address transportation needs in the area, a priority noted by community leaders.
McDonald’s Coach the Coaches programme focuses on training coaches in developing countries and also providing football equipment. It is based on the successful McDonald’s UK Coach the Coaches programme formed eight years ago.
McDonald’s has partnered with the South African Schools Football Association and is expected to reach 3000 local schools in the next three years, having started in an after school care centre in Soweto.
Sir Geoff Hurst says. “From training more than 20 000 coaches to supporting local projects, the McDonald’s Community Football Programme is a great testament to what McDonald’s and volunteers – many of them mums – can do by joining forces. Our UK team is proud to partner with people of South Africa to bring this programme to their country.”
Through the McDonald’s Ultimate Fifa World Cup Fan programme, six winners and their guests will travel to SA to experience one of the semi-finals and the final match.
Special World Cup themed menu items and promotions, including travel and match ticket giveaways, are currently underway. In the US this is under the banner “Taste the glory” and in Europe it is named “Feed the passion”.
McDonald’s has been a supporter of football across the board for more than 25 years and as an official sponsor and official restaurant since the US tournament in 1994.
In South Africa, McDonald’s has 138 restaurants across the country, employing 7000 staff with 85% of food served sourced locally. Globally, the group has 32 000 restaurants in more than 117 countries. More than 80% of restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees.
The special themed McDonald’s Rock ‘n Roll restaurant in Rivonia, which hosted the event, was opened 13 years ago by owner Susan Rawoteea. Its prime corner location coupled with free internet access makes it an ideal business meeting location for the many corporates in the area. It feeds some 45 000 to 50 000 customers per month and business is split evenly between the drive-thru and the sit down facilities.
Visitors on Thursday were entertained by another McDonald’s initiative, the Fan Dancers, led by choreographer Lorcia Cooper of Backstage and Scandal television series fame. This dance troupe is entertaining visitors to the games during half time as they pursue a career in dance.