McDonald's frozen dessert product; a colloid of vanilla soft-serve ice cream and crushed pieces of a sweet confection that the customer chooses. Toppings available in the US are M&Ms, Oreo cookies, Nestle Crunch and Butterfinger candy bars.

Making a McFlurry

The method by which American McFlurries are made is quite ingenious from an engineering standpoint. The McCrewmember first takes a a McFlurry cup (Small or Large) and fills it to the top with vanilla soft-serve. He or she snaps a plastic dome-shaped lid onto the cup and then walks over to the McFlurry station and empties a pre-measured portion of the chosen confection into the cup. Finally he or she sticks a McFlurry Spoon in. The McFlurry Spoon is designed with a hollow, 12.5 cm long, 1.5 cm wide square handle made of translucent, heavy-gauge (1 mm thick) plastic. There is no straw functionality in the US version of the utensil, the handle is made hollow only to save material and to allow it to be mounted on the mixer. At the end of the handle is a clip, which attaches onto the rotating axl of the blending machine. The McFlurry-maker engages the mixer while holding the cup, and the spoon acts as a beater, blending the candy pieces into the ice cream. The domed lid ensures none of the McFlurry escapes, and using a disposable mixing utensil means less equipment needs to be washed by the crew at the end of the night.

History of the McFlurry

Would you have guessed that we have the people of Hawaii to thank for the widespread acceptance of the McFlurry? When McDonald's corporate was test-marketing their new "Flurry" concoction, it flopped in most markets. But Francis Yamamura, owner of McDonald's stores in Waianae, Nanakuli and Kapolei, Hawaii and volunteer for the McDonald's National Advisory Committee task force on desserts, brought the Flurries to test on his Nanakuli store in August 1997. "This thing -- the Flurry -- I had a gut feeling about it... If test results show the product is not viable, the company won't roll it out," Yamamura said. "But I was selling a lot, and because it was just a test, there were no commercials, no radio support. I went back to Chicago and showed my numbers to the chairman of the board. In March (1998), they made it available to everybody."

The Sinister Side of the McFlurry

A BBC article dated 10 January 2002 reports that discarded McFlurry containers are actually dangerous to hedgehogs! Apparently the little creatures stick their heads into the dome lids, trying to get a lick of the sugary goodness of McDonald's softserve, but their spines get stuck behind the rim, leaving the hedgehog trapped. Apparently enough hedgehogs have been found dead or dying trapped in this position to raise the ire of The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, who is petitioning McDonald's to change their lid design. The society also notes that McDonald's patrons should dispose of their McFlurry cups in the proper trash receptacles once their contents have been consumed.

Fun Facts

In the year 2000, McDonald's-sponsored NASCAR driver Bill Elliot's No. 94 Ford Taurus sported a McFlurry-themed paint job! "The McFlurry is a popular item with all of our customers, especially with the motorsports fan," said Georgina Roy, McDonald's motorsports manager. "The McFlurry commemorative car will offer the same refreshing appeal as does the delicious dessert item served in our restaurants. Through the years McDonald's has successfully utilized its motorsports sponsorship by communicating a relevant marketing message through its promotional cars." Other themes for the car have included "Get Wild With McRib", "Get Back With Big Mac", and "Ronald McDonald". But why advertise with NASCAR racing? An Irish advertising campaign identified the target market for McFlurries as being working class, aged 15-24.

Do rude boys dig McFlurries? There is a ska/punk band based out of Dublin, Ohio named McFlurry (what else?) . They have a 5-track EP available for download from MP3.com. Just try not to get ice cream on that two tone outfit.

Get your kids hooked young! Hasbro makes a Play-Doh McFlurry Dessert Playshop so that you and your little ones can manufacture your own soft, creamy make-believe McFlurries. Set includes a "McFlurry Dessert extruder", "special Sprinkle Doh", and cookie and candy molds. Now someone needs to make a toy that will vindicate my childhood predilection for eating paint chips...

And just so that no nutritional aspect of the McFlurry (however bad) goes unnoded: "1 Serving Size" of a McFlurry contains 14 Weight Watchers Points. (I have no idea if their serving refers to a small or large cup. Better to assume small, if you're trying to lose weight.)

One final tidbit for the McFlurry-fanatics: The webpage at http://www.furiosity.com/feature.php?fid=35 gives the gory details of the ordering and consumption of a custom-made 32 oz. McFlurry. Kids, don't try this at home.


Sources:
http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/31/mcflurry.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/animals/newsid_1753000/1753844.stm
http://starbulletin.com/98/08/13/features/eater.html
http://www.healthdiscovery.net/restaurants/mcdonalds.htm
http://www.medialive.ie/Newoutdoor/adreach-mcf.html
http://www.race2win.net/elliott/story/mcf.html

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