NYC Single Mom

McDonald’s Listening Tour Breakfast #BlogHer 12

August 11, 2012 by NYCSingleMom Filed Under: Entertainment

President of McDonald's, Jan Brewer, McDonald's, CheeseburgHer Party, BlogHer, Hilton Hotel Events, dad bloggers, gay dad bloggers

Linda Grant @nycsinglemom and Mitch Chaitin @gaynycdad (http://www.gaynycdad) at CheeseburgHer Party

McDonald’s is by far and away the most recognized brand in the world and certainly sells the most food in the world. And for that I am thankful. If you have lived and traveled abroad, there is nothing more familiar, recognizable and comforting than eating at a McDonald’s.

My fondest (or hilarious) memory of McDonald’s is literally racing off a boat that sailed from China to Hong Kong where I had slept on a bunk bed in the bowels of the boat in a room  with hundreds of people (trust me that was a step up from a fourth class deck chairs) with an Aussie traveling mate to McDonald’s for breakfast. Heaven!

During BlogHer12, I had the pleasure of being invited to a McDonald’s Listening Tour led  Jan Fields, President of McDonald’s. It’s definitely  nice to see a woman who literally began her career  at a local McDonald’s counter  and worked her away up the corporate ladder. Truly inspiring to see.

You know it takes guts for McDonald’s to schedule these Listening Tour events  so they can listen to customer’s comments and questions and certainly takes guts to  invite a roomful of outspoken women bloggers. Not an easy task.  There were definitely lots of questions around gluten-free, allergy free meals and untrained counter people which Ms. Fields answered honestly. I appreciated that she did not defend the brand as so much as just listen to the questions and say I don’t know when she actually did not know the answer.  Smart move. Let’s hope that she definitely sees that menu evolves to fit the needs of her customers.

For the record, Yes, I am a McDonald’s customer albeit not a regular customer and like all things in life, everything in moderation. Say what you will, McDonald’s has made great strides in adding healthier choices to the menu from adding apples to the Happy Meals to reducing the size of the fries to the salad additions and even delinking the Happy Meal toy from the Happy Meal (So idiot politician who want to ban Happy Meals, know the facts before you try to ban Happy Meals.)

Of course, it must be said that McDonald’s spreads cheer at BlogHer by sponsoring the final party of the conference, the  CheeseburgHer Party (yes, it’s called CheeseburgHer party.) And if you want to see the power of the brand, just stand near the buffet when the cheeseburger tray is empty and the crowd starts to gather, me included. Nothing is yummier than a freshly made McDonald’s cheeseburger. My blog husband, Mitch and I had a fantastic time, check out his McDonald’s post at gaynycdad.com .

Visit   McDonald’s.com , for more information on their menu and  meal options under 400 calories and join the discussion on   Facebook and Twitter .

Disclosure: NYC Single Mom was not compensated for this post. 

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August 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm

great, now I am hungry again!

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The McDonald’s 17th Annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour Returns with Showstopping Music Experiences in Six U.S. Cities

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  • September 12, 2023

McDonald’s 17th annual Inspiration Celebration ® Gospel Tour (ICGT) will once again unite Black culture through its intergenerational celebration of Black faith, joy, music and more. Launching in September during Gospel Music Heritage Month, fans across the nation will experience a message of hope and upliftment through dynamic live performances from artists who are driving change and pushing the envelope in gospel music. Hosted by Stellar award-winning recording artist & radio personality Lonnie Hunter, the highly anticipated six-city tour will bridge the gap between intergenerational gospel artists, including Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Bri Babineaux, DOE, Mike Teezy, Sir the Baptist, The Walls Group, Tim Bowman Jr., and DJ CANVA$.  

Like years past, legendary singer, songwriter, and producer Donald Lawrence will resume his role as music supervisor. Journalist and Founder of Black Star Network, Roland Martin will also lend his media network, Black Star Network and its social channels to amplify the concert series through sharing exclusive interviews with the artists. Fans can access free tickets at www.blackandpositivelygolden.com .

“This celebration of faith not only brings together the powerful harmonies of gospel music but also unites community and family, touching hearts across the nation,” said Grammy Award Winner ® Bishop Hezekiah Walker. “I am honored to be back performing live on the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, alongside some of gospel’s brightest stars. But it’s not just about the music – it’s about the impact, as we celebrate faith to spread joy, compassion, and a message of hope to thousands of fans across the nation.” 

As with previous years, the tour will celebrate McDonald’s continued commitment to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). At each concert stop, attendees will have the opportunity to donate to their local RMHC chapter to benefit families served by the organization.  

“It’s an honor that for 17 years, McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour has inspired communities to lead change and push the envelope in their lives, just as this year’s artists are doing in their careers,” said Harry Smith, Indiana McDonald’s Owner/Operator and Chair of the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour. “In partnership with our crew members and through our ongoing support of RMHC, we are proud we are able to continue uniting communities that we serve through music to further drive impact.”

McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is one of the many company initiatives that feed and foster the community and inspire excellence. For more information on the 2023 concert series, including tour stops and how to garner free tickets, visit us online at www.blackandpositivelygolden.com or on Instagram @WeAreGolden .

About McDonald’s USA  McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s approximately 13,500 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business owners.  For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com , or follow us on Instagram at @WeAreGolden and Facebook at www.facebook.com/mcdonalds .  

About Ronald McDonald House Charities  Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that creates, finds, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. Through a global network of over 260 Chapters in more than 60 countries and regions, RMHC enables, facilitates and supports family-centered care through three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House®, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®. RMHC programs help families with ill or injured children stay together and near leading hospitals and health care services worldwide, ensuring they have access to the medical care their child needs while fully supported and actively involved in their child’s care. For more information, visit rmhc.org . Follow RMHC on Twitter , Facebook , Instagram , and LinkedIn .

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The McDonald’s 16th Annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour Returns to Live, In-Person Concerts in Five U.S. Cities

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CHICAGO , Aug. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour® is back live and in person with an intergenerational celebration of Black faith, culture and excellence. Inspired by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) homecomings, the 16 th annual tour will launch in September during Gospel Music Heritage Month and bring showstopping musical performances by GRAMMY® Award winners Anthony Hamilton, Smokie Norful, Karen Clark Sheard, and other gospel and urban luminaries to five cities across the nation.

Legendary singer, songwriter, and producer Donald Lawrence will resume his role as music director and, for the first time, social media personality and comedian Karlton Humes is bringing his unique brand of entertainment to the tour. In the spirit of the homecoming tradition, select shows will feature live performances by HBCU marching bands and gospel choirs. Fans can access free tickets at www.blackandpositivelygolden.com .

“Gospel Music has always been the heart and soul of the Black community. Our sound… our rhythms, our original hymns have sustained the community for generations,” said GRAMMY Award Winner and Tour Artist Smokie Norful. “It is a blessing to be back performing live on the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour and to be in devotion with some of the greatest artists in the industry.”

As with previous years, the tour will demonstrate McDonald’s continued commitment to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC). At each concert stop, attendees can donate through a love offering to support families served by the local Charity chapter.

“For the past 16 years, the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour has uplifted the Black community and helped RMHC serve local families,” said Harry Smith, Indiana McDonald’s Owner/Operator and Chair of the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour. “We are elated to return to touching the hearts of our guests, crew members, and community.”

The McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is one of the many company initiatives that feed and foster the community and inspire excellence. For more information on the 2022 Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, including tour stops and how to garner free tickets, visit us online at   www.blackandpositivelygolden.com  or on Instagram @WeAreGolden .

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The 17th Annual Mcdonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour Brings Together Top Artists Who Are Leading Change In Gospel Music to The Fox Theatre Saturday, September 16

DETROIT – August 31, 2023) – The 17th annual McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is BACK! This cross-culture experience brings top artists, who are leading change and pushing the envelope in gospel music, to the Fox Theatre on Saturday, September 16 at 7 p.m.

Get ready for an exciting concert series like none other, featuring Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy, Bri Babineaux, DOE, Mike Teezy, Sir the Baptist, The Walls Group, Tim Bowman Jr., social media sensation CANVA$, and host, Lonnie Hunter.

Tickets are free and must be reserved in advance at Eventbrite.com . Lineup subject to change.

As with previous years, the tour shines a light on McDonald’s continued devotion to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). At each concert stop, the tour appreciates your generosity in donating to support families served by local Ronald McDonald Houses.

Visit BlackandPositivelyGolden.com for more information. 

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Important Note : At McDonald's, we take great care to serve quality, great-tasting menu items to our customers each and every time they visit our restaurants. We understand that each of our customers has individual needs and considerations when choosing a place to eat or drink outside their home, especially those customers with food allergies. As part of our commitment to you, we provide the most current ingredient information available from our food suppliers for the nine most common allergens as identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and sesame), so that our guests with food allergies can make informed food selections. However, we also want you to know that despite taking precautions, normal kitchen operations may involve some shared cooking and preparation areas, equipment and utensils, and the possibility exists for your food items to come in contact with other food products, including allergens. We encourage our customers with food allergies or special dietary needs to visit www.mcdonalds.com for ingredient information, and to consult their doctor for questions regarding their diet. If you have questions about our food, please reach out to us directly using our  contact us forms .

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The nutrition information on this website is derived from testing conducted in accredited laboratories, published resources, or from information provided from McDonald's suppliers. The nutrition information is based on standard product formulations and serving sizes.  Calories for fountain beverages are based on standard fill levels plus ice. If you use the self-service fountain inside the restaurant for your drink order, see the sign posted at the beverage fountain for beverage calories without ice. All nutrition information is based on average values for ingredients and is rounded in accordance with current U.S. FDA NLEA regulations. Variation in serving sizes, preparation techniques, product testing and sources of supply, as well as regional and seasonal differences may affect the nutrition values for each product. In addition, product formulations change periodically. You should expect some variation in the nutrient content of the products purchased in our restaurants. Beverage sizes may vary in your market. McDonald’s USA does not certify or claim any of its US menu items as Halal, Kosher or meeting any other religious requirements. We do not promote any of our US menu items as vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free. This information is correct as of January 2022, unless stated otherwise.

Important Note : At McDonald's, we take great care to serve quality, great-tasting menu items to our customers each and every time they visit our restaurants. We understand that each of our customers has individual needs and considerations when choosing a place to eat or drink outside their home, especially those customers with food allergies. As part of our commitment to you, we provide the most current ingredient information available from our food suppliers for the nine most common allergens as identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and sesame), so that our guests with food allergies can make informed food selections. However, we also want you to know that despite taking precautions, normal kitchen operations may involve some shared cooking and preparation areas, equipment and utensils, and the possibility exists for your food items to come in contact with other food products, including allergens. We encourage our customers with food allergies or special dietary needs to visit www.mcdonalds.com for ingredient information, and to consult their doctor for questions regarding their diet. Due to the individualized nature of food allergies and food sensitivities, customers' physicians may be best positioned to make recommendations for customers with food allergies and special dietary needs. If you have questions about our food, please reach out to us directly at mcdonalds.com/contact or 1-800-244-6227.

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I asked about race on reality shows at the TV critics press tour. It didn't go well

Eric Deggans

Eric Deggans

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The Bachelor producers Jason Ehrlich, Claire Freeland and Bennett Graebner answered questions at the TV Critics Association's winter press tour. PictureGroup/Disney hide caption

The Bachelor producers Jason Ehrlich, Claire Freeland and Bennett Graebner answered questions at the TV Critics Association's winter press tour.

Just when you think the TV industry has learned an important lesson, something can happen to remind you that – in some corners of the business – progress is fleeting as chalk marks in a rainstorm.

Consider my recent experience quizzing producers from ABC's franchise The Bachelor/The Bachelorette during a press conference at the TV Critics Association's winter press tour.

I saw a rare opportunity to spark a meaningful conversation about race, with one question: Why does the show find it so difficult to handle race issues?

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The Bachelor's Cluelessness About Race Comes To A Head In Season Finale

For years, I've covered how the dating competition has had few Black leads. Alumni Rachel Lindsay and Matt James have criticized how the show handled race during their seasons and a race-based controversy during James' season in 2021 led to the departure of longtime host Chris Harrison.

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'The Bachelorette' May Have A Black Star, But It's Still Set In A White World

Producer Claire Freeland, who hadn't worked on those earlier editions of the show, spoke about what the program was trying to do now. But that wasn't answering the question, I insisted. Why has the show struggled on these issues in the past — particularly when Black people are the stars — and what might they have learned moving forward?

Neither Freeland nor fellow Bachelor producers Jason Ehrlich or Bennett Graebner said anything for about eight seconds. "I guess we have our answer," I noted; as the questioning moved on, some critics marveled at a silence that seemed to speak volumes.

Trade publications like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter did stories on their reaction and the producers tried to clean up the situation by talking to some reporters after the press conference. But that exchange reinforced my hunch that the show's producers have never found a way to grapple with how white-centered the show is, how difficult that centering makes it for people of color who appear on the program and how that failure leaves them unable to respond well when problems involving racial issues arise.

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John Landgraf, chairman of FX Content & FX Productions, speaks at the 2024 Winter TCA press tour. Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup/FX hide caption

John Landgraf, chairman of FX Content & FX Productions, speaks at the 2024 Winter TCA press tour.

Or even when someone just asks about race.

For me, it's also part of a larger issue, where TV programmers have a tough time acknowledging problematic messages in their product – let alone eliminating them. It's a flashback to the bad old days many years ago, when TV casts and production staffs were even less diverse, and obvious questions about race brought the same, stunned silences.

And that's not all I learned during the press tour. Here are a few takeaways about TV that surfaced over my time in Los Angeles.

There's too much TV to keep up. Have we hit the limit?

Pop Culture Happy Hour

There's too much tv to keep up. have we hit the limit, the apex of peak tv may have passed, but there are still too many series on television.

FX chairman John Landgraf's executive sessions at the press tour have emerged as a sort of State of Union for the TV industry, where the famously data-driven executive rolls out facts and figures to assess the trends ahead.

The good news for an industry drowning in content: Last year, the number of original series fell by 14% to 516 shows.

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After a grueling 2023, here are 4 predictions for media in 2024

The bad news is that it still feels like too many series for most consumers to keep track of or for the industry to keep financing.

Speaking at a TCA session back in 2015 , Landgraf described a phenomenon that became known as "Peak TV" to describe a situation where viewers were overwhelmed by the massive numbers of shows available – then at a measly 400 or so. His fear was that the industry was building a bubble that would burst in a rush, as programmers were forced to cancel masses of series unable to find audiences.

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Instead, TV platforms have eased back their portfolios after reaching a historic high of 600 series in 2022. They've slowed production, canceled some shows, and even pulled completed programs off streaming services completely for tax benefits – as Wall Street investors demand online platforms show practical plans to turn a profit and the impact of last year's strikes in Hollywood plays out.

How to choose the streaming services that are right for you

How to choose the streaming services that are right for you

Still, as Landgraf admitted to me after his press conference, 516 shows are probably too many. Ensuring that great shows still find an audience – and the overall field remains diverse and open to creative voices of all types – is the tension that will continue to challenge executives like him for quite a while.

Even the people who make TV aren't sure where the industry is headed

If anything else jumped out during my discussions with TV executives, it's how unsettled people are by an unpredictable post-strike environment, tightening economic conditions (including layoffs at many media companies), and continuing uncertainty about what makes a series a hit.

Midlevel streaming services like Peacock and Paramount+ are feeling the squeeze, as big players like Disney+ and Netflix get bigger and smaller, boutique competitors focus tightly on their target audiences (small wonder, then, that the Wall Street Journal recently reported the two streamers have talked about joining forces or even a merger, days after Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery announced plans to team up on a sports streaming platform).

Meanwhile, the same media companies that yanked their prime library series from Netflix to keep it from dominating the future of TV have now begun licensing shows back to them – allowing programs like NBC's This Is Us, HBO's Six Feet Under and ABC's Lost . It feels like everyone is heading back to the future, repeating some of the same mistakes they made the first time.

Does this lead Landgraf, who warned years ago about the danger of ceding too much space to Netflix, to feel like the gigantic service won the streaming wars?

"I have always worried about Netflix's appetite [but] I wouldn't say that ... the streaming wars are over," he told critics, touting the online success of the company that owns FX, Disney. "I think every market functions better when it's not dominated by a single entity that then dictates the terms."

This means consumers can expect the fragmentation and uncertainty to remain – which might not be bad.

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Mike mcclure locked in his pga one and done golf picks, rankings and top sleepers for the mexico open at vidanta 2024 at vidanta vallarta in mexico.

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The PGA Tour is set to make its annual trip south of the border this week for the 2024 Mexico Open at Vidanta Play gets underway on Thursday at Vidanta Vallarta. As the defending tournament champion Tony Finau headlines the 2024 Mexico Open field. The world No. 24 is easily the most accomplished player in the field and enters as the 13-2 betting favorite in the latest 2024 Mexico Open odds. Other top contenders include Nicolai Højgaard (16-1), Emiliano Grillo (18-1), Thomas Detry (25-1), Stephan Jaeger (25-1), Thorbjørn Olesen (25-1)., and Taylor Pendrith (30-1). The players will be competing for a total 2024 Mexico Open purse of $8.1 million. The winner will take home $1.386 million. 

With his standing as the top player in the field, would this be the ideal week to use Tony Finau as your pick in One and Done pools? Or should you target a long shot with this being a wide open field? Before locking in your 2024 Mexico Open one and done picks, you need to see what SportsLine DFS pro and PGA expert Mike McClure has to say . 

The One and Done format is growing in popularity. It has several noticeable similarities to NFL Survivor pools, with the main difference being entries are not eliminated with a bad week. Players pick one golfer per week and earn points based on their selected golfer's prize money for that tournament. Golfers can only be used once per season, and the point format makes nailing majors and big money tournaments critical.

McClure is a DFS legend with over $2 million in career winnings, and he's been red-hot on his PGA picks dating back to the PGA Tour restart in June of 2020. McClure uses his proprietary simulation model to analyze the field and crush his  golf picks .

McClure nailed plenty of One and Done picks in 2023. At the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open, McClure's top One and Done pick, Max Homa, outlasted the entire field to take home his sixth career PGA Tour victory and $1.566 million. At the WM Phoenix Open, McClure nailed Scheffler winning the tournament, taking home $3.6 million.

He correctly called Jon Rahm's wins at The Masters and the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Then at the RBC Canadian Open McClure listed Nick Taylor and Tyrrell Hatton as two of his top one and done picks. Taylor would go on to win the tournament, while Hatton finished in third place. And finally, at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, his top OAD pick was eventual tournament champion Rickie Fowler.

This season, one of his top OAD picks was for The American Express was Justin Thomas, who finished in third place and took home $635,600, and at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am his top pick was Scottie Scheffler, who finished in sixth place after the final round was cancelled due to weather. At the WM Phoenix Open, McClure recommended OAD players use Scheffler as their pick if they hadn't done so already this season. He ended up finishing in third place, taking home $519,200. Finally, one of McClure's top OAD picks at the Genesis Invitational was Patrick Cantlay, who finished in fourth place at the signature event.  

Now, McClure has dialed in on the Mexico Open at Vidanta golf tournament and just locked in his one and done picks and PGA predictions. They are a must-see for any player looking for an edge in their One and Done pool. You can only see McClure's Mexico Open at Vidanta 2024 one and done picks at SportsLine .

Top 2024 Mexico Open at Vidanta One and Done picks

One of McClure's top one and done picks this week at Vidanta is Tony Finau. The 34-year-old has an impressive track record, and is the top ranked player in the field. Finau's pedigree is unmatched this week, and McClure likes his chances at defending his 2023 Mexico Open title. 

Finau currently ranks fifth on the PGA Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green (1.545), seventh in strokes gained on approach (0.915), and 17th in strokes gained off the tee (0.613). With his status as the unquestioned top golfer in the Mexico Open field, McClure believes the time is right to use Finau in One and Done pools.  You can see who else to back at SportsLine .

How to make Mexico Open 2024 One and Done picks

McClure is also targeting another golfer for his 2024 Mexico Open at Vidanta one and done picks who was outstanding throughout the 2023 season. This player has the ability to win any tournament he enters, and is one of the most talented golfers in this wide open field. You can find out who it is, and check out all of McClure's Mexico Open at Vidanta one and done picks at SportsLine .

Who wins the the Mexico Open at Vidanta 2024, and which golfers should you target for your PGA one and done picks this week? Visit SportsLine now to get Mike McClure's Mexico Open at Vidanta 2024 one and done picks, all from the DFS pro who called Nick Taylor's epic win at the RBC Canadian Open and Rickie Fowler's win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2023 , and find out.

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Diners are getting annoyed at how expensive fast food has become — and the likes of McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Shake Shack seem to be listening

  • Fast-food and fast-casual chains say diners should expect smaller price increases this year.
  • Shake Shack, for example, plans to put restaurant prices up by about 2.5% in 2024.
  • Customers are looking for app deals and choosing value menus.

Insider Today

Chains such as McDonald's, Shake Shack, and Taco Bell have said they're planning only small price increases in 2024 as inflation cools.

Chains across the US put prices up drastically during the pandemic because of factors including higher wages, more expensive food and packaging costs, and supply-chain disruptions.

From January 2021 to January 2022, prices at limited-service restaurants went up 8%, according to unadjusted data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics . The next year, they increased 6.7%.

But in the last year, prices at limited-service restaurants rose just 5.8%, according to BLS data .

Inflation may be cooling, but the series of recent price hikes is still putting a sour taste in some customers' mouths.

Martin Jennings, a 51-year-old truck driver from Florida, told Business Insider his family was being deterred by higher prices at fast-food chains.

"Most of the time, it's just so expensive that we try to avoid it," he said. "It's gotten kind of outrageous, and so we've really scaled back."

Ben Heyworth, an account executive from Orlando, told BI he rarely ate at home but had pivoted from dining in at fast-food chains such as Subway, Burger King, and McDonald's in favor of fast-casual restaurants that were designed for sit-down meals. He said the food, service, and atmosphere were all better, and they generally charged a similar price.

Shake Shack executives told investors on Thursday the company expected to put in-store prices up by about 2.5% in 2024. Pricing action would be more in line with what the chain did before the pandemic, executives said.

Wendy's executives said on Thursday that the chain planned to put prices up in the low-single digits throughout 2024, with a small increase planned for the middle of the year. The company said it had put prices up by about 4.5% in 2023 but that customers didn't place smaller orders as a result.

Both McDonald's and Taco Bell said last week that customers should expect less dramatic price hikes this year. McDonald's put US prices up by about 10% in 2022 and again in 2023, and its chief financial officer, Ian Borden, said diners were now more cautious of price increases.

Customers are looking for app deals and choosing value menus

Customers are looking for ways to get cheaper meals at fast-food chains. Jennings said his family had apps for "pretty much every" fast-food restaurant out there to find deals. They'd choose to order "whatever's the cheapest," he said.

David Gibbs, the CEO of Taco Bell's parent company, Yum Brands, said sales of the chain's revamped $3-and-under value menu had been stronger than expected.

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said he expected low-income diners to be more attracted to the low-price items on its menu, such as those included in its D123 platform, which prices some items at $1, $2, and $3, rather than multi-buy promotions.

In their recent batch of earnings calls, fast-food executives generally said they were optimistic for the year ahead as inflation cools and employment levels are high.

"The consumer should start to see net disposable income coming up slightly, feel a little bit richer," and want to treat themselves by visiting restaurants more often, Wendy's CFO, Gunther Plosch, told investors.

Prices in California are set to go up, though

While the picture in most of America should improve for fast-food customers, diners in California should expect to face bigger price increases in 2024. Minimum wages for California fast-food workers are set to increase to $20 an hour in April, and their employers are planning to hike menu prices to offset this.

Chipotle said it was eyeing a price increase in the mid-single digits, depending on consumer sentiment and actions taken by other fast-food chains.

People who order for delivery generally face higher menu prices, too. Shake Shack's CFO, Katie Fogertey, said the chain had recently increased the premium charged to customers who placed orders digitally.

Fast-food chains are finding other ways to get diners to pay more, such as rolling out more digital order kiosks , which typically push diners to place bigger orders and spend more on customizations.

Do you think fast food is too expensive? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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Watch: Shake Shack is raising prices for the third time in 16 months — here’s why

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Concert Review: AUDRA MCDONALD IN CONCERT

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by Michael M. Landman-Karny on December 4, 2023

in Concerts / Events , Theater-Los Angeles , Tours

A living musical theater legend at the peak of her vocal and interpretive powers

In the realm of musical theater, Audra McDonald stands as an unparalleled luminary. Possessing an extraordinary vocal prowess, an arresting stage presence, and an unrivaled artistic gift, she has etched her name as the preeminent diva within this art form. McDonald’s transcendent performances have enraptured global audiences, earning her an unprecedented six Tony Awards and the distinction of being the sole individual to triumph in all four acting categories. Her artistic range is nothing short of awe-inspiring, effortlessly navigating from ethereal ballads to commanding renditions of show-stopping numbers with a grace and precision that is truly remarkable. McDonald’s stagecraft leaves spectators in a state of profound admiration, as she breathes authenticity and depth into each character she embodies.

Having ardently followed McDonald’s career since 1999, when I first beheld her interpretative prowess in Michael John LaChiusa’s Marie Christine on Broadway, I have witnessed the maturation and refinement of her interpretative abilities over the years. With the passing of the legendary Barbara Cook in 2017, Audra McDonald now arguably stands as the foremost living interpreter of the American songbook.

The soirée at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on December 2, a near-sold-out affair, showcased McDonald in tandem with the full complement of the LA Opera Orchestra under the baton of her musical director, Andy Einhorn . Accompanying Einhorn were three virtuosic talents: Jeremy Jordan on piano, Gene Lewin on drums, and the seasoned bassist Mark Vanderpoel , a ll collaborator s of McDonald’s for over a decade. Despite only one rehearsal, the LA Opera Orchestra adeptly navigated the evening, although an additional rehearsal or two might have elevated their performance to a higher echelon.

The orchestral overture commenced with the “Carousel Waltz” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, a nod to Audra’s unparalleled portrayal of Carrie Piperidge in the same production. Upon McDonald’s entrance, the audience erupted in fervor, a moment not lost on her, as she shared her childhood memories of watching the Oscars at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and marveled at the realization of her showbiz dreams on the same stage.

The inaugural piece, “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles , saw Audra McDonald delivering a commanding rendition, imbuing the anthem with a poignant resonance for LGBTQ rights—an issue dear to her heart. This theme of authentic self-expression in the face of societal othering echoed in Joe Raposo’s “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

Each successive number showcased McDonald’s consummate artistry, holding the audience enthralled. In “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory , McDonald channeled the wide-eyed wonder of a child, compelling the audience to embrace their capacity for dreaming, pretending, playing, and envisioning the yet-unrealized .

The concert continued with “Before the Parade Passes By” from Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly! , conveying a fervent call to seize the moment, a sentiment reiterated in the non-theatrical composition “I Love Today” by singer-songwriter Kim Kalesti . Frank Loesser’s “Can’t Stop Talking About Him” showcased McDonald’s linguistic dexterity, while Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” provided a rhythmic showcase for McDonald, her trio, and the orchestra.

A poignant tribute to Leontyne Price unfolded through the rendition of “I Could Have Danced All Night,” punctuated by an audience sing-along. McDonald paid homage to Price, referring to her as the “queen of Soprano Island.” The zenith of the performance materialized in McDonald’s unamplified rendition of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess . Her operatic resonance effortlessly filled the cavernous hall, delivering a vocally flawless and emotionally poignant interpretation that left this reviewer contending with tears.

The repertoire delved into McDonald’s high school days with a go-for-broke interpretation of “Home” from The Wiz and the hilarious “Cornet Man” from Funny Girl, a song she won in a singing contest at the age of 14, despite not really understanding its risqué lyrics.

The evening featured a melancholic Leonard Bernstein medley merging “Some Other Time” from On the Town with “Somewhere” from West Side Story . Stephen Sondheim’s influence materialized in the combination of “Children Will Listen” from Into the Woods and “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific . Sondheim was also featured in a heartbreaking mashup of “What Can You Lose” from the film Dick Tracy (sung in the movie by Madonna and Mandy Patinkin!) and “Not a Day Goes By” from Merrily We Roll Along .

The concert concluded with an avant-garde moody interpretation of Kander & Ebb’s “Cabaret,” a song that was literally “commanded” into McDonald’s repertoire by Anna Wintour for the Met Gala. Requested by Wintour to mark the end of the COVID epidemic, Audra made the song into a bittersweet celebration, urging a commitment to living life to the fullest despite the shadows of adversity.

As an encore, McDonald and Einhorn regaled the audience with a duet on Alger and Yellen’s 1929 standard “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Happy Days may not be here for many of us, but for fans of the American musical theater and the American song book, this was indeed a case of “Howdy gay times, Cloudy gray times. You are now a thing of the past.”

Audra McDonald in Concert presented by LA Opera Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles reviewed on December 2, 2023 for future events, call 213.972.8001 or visit LA Opera tour continues; for cities and dates, visit Audra McDonald

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Taylor Swift's Eras tour kicks off in Melbourne with sparkle, sing-alongs and surprise tracks

It's a hot February evening in Melbourne/Naarm, and the rays of sunshine glancing off thousands of sequins is almost blinding.

It's Taylor Swift Day. There has been a hum in the air from the start, a feeling that everyone in the city is tilting their bodies slightly towards the MCG, just waiting for the moment when she will finally take the stage.

Well, that's the folklore, anyway.

And it's certainly true for the young fans who huddled in blankets to see her private jet touching down just before 1am on Thursday. It's why people spent thousands of dollars to come to the show — a young Perth woman of no more than 20 details the long list of expenses that she copped to get here: "I'd go anywhere to see Taylor," she says.

We'll find out later there are 96,000 people here — the largest turnout to the Eras global tour so far, Taylor tells us — and almost every single person is decked out.

Friends dressed up for Taylor Swift concert Melbourne

Bulging pink clusters of people are gathered on every corner, practically jumping up and down with excitement. Fans with friendship bracelets from wrist to elbow adjust their shiny skirts and tops and animatedly speculate about what the two secret songs will be (more on that later).

a close up shot of two wrists covered in friendship bracelets

I love a lot of Taylor's music, but the breathless furore in the build-up to her arrival had me feeling a bit sceptical. How could one woman, albeit a very rich and talented one, possibly live up to all the hype?

But within five minutes of her explosive arrival on the stage, I thought to myself: She's going to do it.

taylor swift performs in melbourne

Thanks to the wall-to-wall coverage of her shows around the world so far — and the release of the Eras concert film in October — most of us know the premise of this tour.

It covers 10 albums the star has released, from 2008's Fearless, to 2022's Midnights.

We also knew that she would start with the Lover era — the one awash in candy pink, featuring such bangers as You Need to Calm Down. And it doesn't disappoint, particularly her acoustic version of title track Lover, featuring a pale pink guitar and pastel-clad dancers whirling around her in ecstatic pairs.

But it's when she transitions into her second era — Fearless — that she really hits her stride. The key change in classic teen track Love Story has the crowd screaming and jumping like they're in a mosh pit.

The songs keep coming, the giant screens behind the stage offering videos and voice-overs while Taylor does a lightning-fast costume change. The breaks are negligible, and before you know it Taylor is back, her red lipstick perfect.

Endearing cheesiness

taylor swift vibrant set

There's something a bit like musical theatre in the way this show runs, particularly the props and stage design.

The folklore era — one of two woodsy albums Taylor released during the pandemic — opens with her lying dreamily on the roof of an actual cabin, smoke puffing from the chimney.

In Midnights, the dancers each have small individual ladders with a fluffy white cloud at the top. During the track Vigilante Shit, the troupe and Taylor writhe and dance on chairs in powerful unison (another musical theatre staple, and perhaps a welcome moment where she actually gets to sit down for a second).

Taylor swift on a desk on stage with one leg in the air, wearing a sparkling silver jacket and singing into a microphone

For the Evermore era she appears in a long yellow dress and green velvet cape, the dancers carrying glowing orange balls.

It's a strong witchy mood, and Taylor leans into it, swirling her cape theatrically.

The show is cheesier than I expected it to be, in a way that's endearing. Taylor doesn't act like the most famous woman on the planet; she sticks out her tongue and does over-the-top mimes that match her lyrics, hamming it up the whole time.

And making it clear that she doesn't take herself too seriously allows her to get away with her more earnest moments — and things like having a moss-covered grand piano and a wooden microphone.

"I want to hear 96,000 people sing Champagne Problems with me," she says in front of said piano during the evermore era, where the crowd heartily joins in, and then spends about three whole minutes afterwards cheering and chanting her name.

Taylor Swift fans emotion

A show just for you

Covering 10 albums in one show is no small feat, and it requires almost three-and-a-half hours to do it.

At times, the continuous gear shifts feel a bit jarring, whipping away from an era just when it feels like it's hitting its stride. But then she plays the opening notes of the next hit, and you're pulled right back in.

taylor swift performing

The folklore era drags a little, perhaps because it's a slower album and comes in the latter half of the show, when everyone's feet are starting to get tired (almost every single audience member leapt up at the start of the show and didn't sit back down).

But ensuring each album gets a nod is smart. It captures so many different fans, handing each of them their breathless moment.

"I wanted everyone to feel like we made the show for you," she tells the crowd. "Whether you're new here or you've been hanging out with me for 15 years."

The acoustic set — where she plays her two "surprise" songs each night — is not just a highlight because it's the only part of the show we can't predict. First, she plays hit song Red on guitar, beautifully and simply.

She then strides over to the piano (now moss-free) and, after quite a confusing will she/won't she play a track from her imminent new album (she instead shows us an alternate cover?), Taylor breaks into a stunning rendition of You're Losing Me, the ballad initially released as a bonus track on the extended version of Midnights.

It's the first time she's played the song live, she tells us, and a woman behind me actually sobs, her hand over her mouth.

A back up dancer in a pink and purple jumpsuit with a large pink parachute behind him

Marking each era also serves as a handy reminder to everyone, particularly the haters, of how successful her career has already been.

The energy doesn't stop for the entire show, right up until the moment that Taylor does a deep bow, mouths "I love you" and disappears, the crowd beside themselves with adulation.

Taylor Swift may sing that she is sick of running as fast as she can in her song The Man, but this epic show demonstrates that she and her juggernaut of success won't be slowing down any time soon.

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