Prognosis Grim for McDonald's Restaurants in Hospitals
"As always, we continue to assess our menu and actively engage in dialogue with experts to determine opportunities to offer expanded menu choices and additional information and education that enable our customers to make the choices that are right for them," Proud says.
Comparing McDonald's to the tobacco industry is a stretch. Nonetheless, CAI has resuscitated longstanding and legitimate concerns about the appropriateness of fast-food restaurants situated on hospital campuses at a time when more than 60% of Americans are overweight or obese.
In fact, many hospital administrators probably have already reached that conclusion. That's why we shouldn't be surprised if these 26 hospitals quietly look for other food vendors when it's time to renew franchise leases. It's likely that within 10 years McDonald's will have no hospital-based restaurants.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in the nation to have an on-site McDonald's. The Nashville, TN-based health system let its long-term lease with McDonald's lapse in January 2011 after a 20-year relationship and signed Au Bon Pain as a new tenant. John Howser, VUMC director of media relations, says pressure from CAI or other outside groups was not a factor in the decision to part with McDonald's.
"Ultimately what this came down to was a desire to offer a segment of our workforce and our visitors who would use this particular venue a broader array of food options," Howser says. "We already have a grill in our cafeteria in our clinic where hamburgers are available."
Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman Eileen Sheil says the blue chip health system will not renew its soon-to-expire lease with McDonald's. The decision is consistent with the comments and actions of Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, who created a stir in 2009 when he said in an interview that he would not hire obese people if it were legal.
Sheil tells HealthLeaders Media that "Cleveland Clinic as a healthcare institution tries hard to walk the talk in healthcare."
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