11/10/2003

I recently heard through the grapevine that McDonald's is finally introducing some Veggie Burgers in Texas. Nevermind that they're 15 years behind the ball on this one; good to see them trying. They started in SoCal last April, and now they have arrived here in Houston.

So last night, Jill and I took the plunge and hit McDonald's for the first time in, well, years. Our experience? The burgers were weird tasting, rubbery and kind of lame. (And the fries were soggy.) Sure they're low fat but they probably contained our week's worth of sodium. Not what I would call a stellar experience.

BUT, but, but ... well, we do really want to encourage them to sell these veggie burgers nationwide. There have been many times when a Veggie Burger option at Mikey D's would've come in handy (on the road, in the airport, etc). So following the advice on the bag, I called customer service. Naturally, they weren't answering the phone outside of business hours, but they did indicate that you can send them an email through their web site. So I did:

Dear McDonald's,

Last night, for the first time in many, many years, my wife and I ate at McDonald's. You see, we are vegetarians, and McDonald's has long been a bastion of vegetarian-less-ness. (That's not a word as far as I know, is it?) Anyhow, we heard that Veggie burgers (sorry, "McVeggie" burgers) had been introduced here in America's fattest city, Houston, and we rushed right out to try 'em. (OK, well, I rushed out and dragged my wife with me. She was never into McDonald's so much, or at least, never really lived on the stuff to the degree that I did.)

Our experience was ... meager? Not particularly exciting, in any case. Our main beef (hahaha) was the taste and texture of the veggie burgers themselves. They were going for the "meat" feel, which I can understand, but it came off as a bit rubbery. Being regular fake meat eaters, we know there are plenty of yummy meat-like veggie burgers out there, so I would suggest that perhaps a bit more research would be in order.

Maybe they weren't cooked thoroughly enough as well - that could be a training issue; the Sunday night graveyard shift in Houston may simply have been among the least well prepared to cook these burgers. No offense to the staff at the Westheimer location, it was near closing time and I'm sure they were eager to get home and not very excited by a couple hippies showing up to make 'em cook some veggie burgers. They were courteous, and in the end not really responsible for the quality of the ingredients.

Anyway, here's the meat of my suggestion (hahaha): rather than making it a separate type of burger on its own, why not offer it as a substitution? Like, for 50 cents more, you can have a veggie big mac, a veggie hamburger, a veggie cheeseburger, heck, even a veggie bacon cheeseburger (to each their own, right?) I would guzzle veggie big macs by the plateful. Mmm, special sauce.

In any case, thanks for introducing these, it's right direction. Cows of the universe thank you.

Ian Varley
Houston, TX


I'll let you know if they respond.

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