Well I’ll be burgered – queues for just one brand of fast foods (would you believe?) show that Level Four is over

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable news stories are more important now than ever.

That’s what Stuff tells us on its website before inviting readers to …

Support our newsrooms by making a contribution.

We trust a handsome contribution has been made by the fast-food franchise featuring on Stuff’s menu of news reports today – and, remarkably, on the websites of many other news services including Radio New Zealand.

The PR department at the company in question will be thrilled to see the franchise’s name pop up in association with the breaking of the Covid-19 fast whereas rival companies – including an American chain best known for its fried chicken – don’t get much of a look-in.

It would be great if we could post this report without naming the company which has been given this inglorious glut of headlines around the country.

Just refer to them as a burger joint, perhaps.

But we gave up on the attempt.

Let’s start with Stuff, which headlined its report: Coronavirus: McDonald’s drive-through queue before dawn for level-3 fast food fix.

The report begins well enough, using generic language:

New Zealand is now in level 3 and the fast food drought is over.

But the report lapses in the  second sentence:

People who just couldn’t wait joined drive-through queues at McDonald’s, which opened at 5am on Tuesday morning.

The menu was blatantly plugged in the next several sentences:

McDonald’s has released a limited menu.

The “favourites” are front and centre: the Big Mac, cheeseburger (in all of its variations), McChicken and Fillet-O-Fish, Quarter Pounder and McNuggets will be available, as will the breakfast menu.

Only hotcakes, the Bacon & Egg McMuffin, Chicken (& Bacon) McMuffins and hash browns will be available as all-day breakfast. For the NYC bagel, sausage McMuffin and Massic McMuffin hunger buster, you’ll have to get in before 10:30am like the old days.

As for what you can’t get, shakes, sundaes, McFlurries and frozen cokes are off the list for opening day. “They’re the main thing that we don’t have as of tomorrow. We’re still waiting on deliveries of our shakes and sundae mix,” said McDonald’s spokesperson Simon Kenny.

But he expected them to arrive by Wednesday or Thursday.

Respecting the sensitivity of our readers’ information-digesting systems, we shall spare you the rest.

But we will note that while the report tells us what is not on the menu at this particular chain, it does not tell us what is on or off the menu at other food chains under the new rules.

There are plenty of pictures of diners queuing for their takeaways (at a time when most of our readers, we trust, were still slumbering in their beds), receiving their takeaways, or tucking into their takeaways.

One picture is captioned:

The Basin Reserve McDonald’s was doing a steady trade this morning as people drove through for their favourite feast.

Favourite feast?  How did  the writer establish this?

And how could the advertising writers at McDonalds possibly improve on it?

A friend of Point of Order did not arise in the wee small hours to drive out for a burger but was awake at 6am for the first Morning Report news item of his day.

So help us (he assures us), it was about …

Yep.  It was about the same peculiar Kiwi clamour for takeaways from just one food chain that was being generously publicised by other media.

RadioNZ named the company in the headline and in the first sentence:

Coronavirus: Queues form at McDonalds.

From Morning Report, 6:38 am today

If you had any doubt level 4 lockdown is over, drive past your local McDonalds.

Long queues are forming outside restaurants as people arrive to order their first fast food meals in more than four weeks.

Only drive-through orders or contactless deliveries are allowed so far.

To spare busy readers the need to go googling to verify the media-critical thrust of this post, here’s what we found on the news site after entering just one word, McDonalds – 

Coronavirus: McDonald’s drive-through queue before dawn …

Stuff.co.nz-2 hours ago

New Zealand is now in level 3 and the fast food drought is over. People who just couldn’t wait joined drive-through queues at McDonald’s, which opened at 5am …

Massive queues as McDonald’s addicts rush to drive-through …
The Sun-5 hours ago

McDonald’s respond to claims they’re opening restaurants …
The Westmorland Gazette-16 hours ago

Is McDonalds Drive Thru Really Opening During Coronavirus …
Capital FM-9 hours ago

McDonald’s looks at limited mid-May re-opening if coronavirus …
Staffordshire Live-16 hours ago

UK branches of McDonald’s did not reopen on 27 April
Fact Check-Full Fact-8 hours ago

View all

Covid 19 coronavirus: Queues at McDonald’s drive-thru as …

New Zealand Herald-4 hours ago

Fast food has been the first thing on the menu for many Kiwis under level 3, as queues of more than 20 cars have been spotted at McDonald’s restaurants …

‘Peak of my career’ – Breakfast reporter among first Kiwis to get …
TVNZ-3 hours ago

View all

Coronavirus: Limited McDonald’s menu brings back burgers …

Stuff.co.nz-20 hours ago

Coronavirus: Limited McDonald’s menu brings back burgers, breakfast McMuffins and Happy Meals. Mikaela Wilkes13:56, Apr 27 2020.

Go behind-the-scenes as McDonald’s outlet prepares for …
TVNZ-19 hours ago

View all

Timaru-based McCain Foods gets a big order as McDonalds …

Stuff.co.nz-21 hours ago

McDonald’s Timaru senior restaurant manager Ruth Brokenshire, left, and general manager Wendy McHaffie are happy to have fresh fries on hand for the fast food …

‘Eye-watering experience’: Tauranga McDonald’s fans queue …

New Zealand Herald-2 hours ago

Tauranga McDonald’s lovers began queuing for their Big Mac fix from 3am this morning after four weeks off the beloved takeaway. Owner of four Tauranga …

Coronavirus: Auckland students treat themselves to 16 …

Stuff.co.nz-8 minutes ago

A pair of students broke their month-long McDonald’s dry spell in triumphant fashion on Tuesday morning. Richard Aleni and Andy Vaái were all smiles as they …

Queues at fast food drive-thrus as Hawke’s Bay residents start …

New Zealand Herald-2 hours ago

A fast food fanatic on social media even claimed that their brother had returned from McDonald’s having spent $184. Hastings McDonalds‘, located on Heretaunga …

Next time you hear about the news media being short of advertising, don’t believe it.

Paid advertising?  That’s a different matter.


One thought on “Well I’ll be burgered – queues for just one brand of fast foods (would you believe?) show that Level Four is over

  1. It’s funny you should mention burgers and the appeal for donations. I was considering it and then I read an article about Burger Fuel and the lack of physical distancing. It felt more like reading a local Methodist church photocopied newsletter than a newspaper. So I won’t be donating. The thing about a free press is that it should be impartial journalism.


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