Giant chain backs gov’t against obesity

Giant chain backs gov’t against obesity

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Giant chain backs gov’t against obesity

Mc Donald’s Managing Director Dilek Başarır (L) says the restaurant menus have lower calories than the gourmet dishes prepared by Chef Tolga Atalay.

McDonald’s, the giant fast food chain, has pledged its support to the Turkish government in its recently initiated campaign to fight obesity, company officials have said.

“We sent a letter to the Health Ministry that said we are supporting the campaign against obesity,” Managing Director of McDonald’s Turkey Dilek Başarır said.One of the most famous fast-food chains in Turkey, the company has also started a campaign to change its menu’s negative perception in regard to healthy eating. 

“After all, a hamburger is grilled meat with two pieces of bread and salad. But when you put all of them; one on top of the other; the perception changes. Some of the meals we have in our daily lives actually have more calories than the menus we have in our restaurants,” Başarır told a group of journalists last week. 

To prove that point, McDonald’s asked a famous cook to prepare a gourmet menu inspired by McDonald’s products. 

The dishes prepared by Chef Tolga Atalay ended up having more calories than McDonald’s menus. 
“We call the sector in which we work fast-service restaurants. What is fast is the time in which the food is served; you decide on the speed you eat them,” Başarır told journalists at a dinner hosted to share Atalay’s McDonald’s-inspired dishes. 

Başarır, who recalls waiting in the long queue when the first McDonald’s opened in Turkey in 1987, witnessed the company’s 25th year in 2012, after being named Managing Director.

McDonald’s Turkey under Başarır registered 30 percent growth in 2012, winning her the company’s internal “extraordinary growth” award in the region spanning Asia Pacific to the Middle East and Africa.

“We changed the decorations in some of our restaurants. We introduced a different musical style. We worked with a well-known fashion designer for the new uniforms of our employees,” Başarır said. 

“We have initiated several steps that are unique to Turkey. We are offering job opportunities for housewives, for instance and, we got very good feedback,” she said.