McDonald's Introduces Smoothies at the Olympics

Golden Arches' executives showed off the new line-up of beverages along with gold medalits Cassie Campbell (US hockey), Shawn Johnson (US gymnastics), Picabo Street (US skiing), and Katarina Witt (German ice skating). Photo from Cleveland Dealer

Mark Brandau reports in Nation’s Restaurant News reports that wWhile the 2010 Winter Olympic Games begin tomorrow, official restaurant sponsor McDonald’s had an opening ceremony of its own, announcing the debut of its latest beverage: Real Fruit Smoothies.

McDonald’s Real Fruit Smoothies will come in two flavors, Strawberry Banana and Wild Berry. The products will first be served in the three Olympic restaurants McDonald’s is operating in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, during the next two weeks, with plans to have the smoothies in U.S. locations by summer as part of the McCafe lineup, which currently includes hot and iced coffee drinks.

The smoothie announcement Thursday was part of McDonald’s official launch of global activities to sponsor the 2010 Olympics. At the McDonald’s restaurant in the Olympic Main Media Center in Vancouver, company officials joined gold medalists Cassie Campbell, Shawn Johnson, Picabo Street and Katarina Witt to unveil the new smoothie.

The company’s official launch included an “ultimate smoothie challenge,” which joined Canadian hockey player Campbell, American gymnast Johnson and American skier Street with a pair of winners from McDonald’s Champion Kids program. Begun for the Summer Olympics in 2008 in Beijing, McDonald’s Champion Kids provides children between the ages of 6 and 14 with a chance to experience the Olympics firsthand. For the competition, each pair of kids teamed up with an Olympian to create their own smoothie flavors, to be judged by a panel that included German ice skater Witt.

McDonald’s location in the Main Media Center is expected to feed nearly 3,000 media members during the Olympics, and its two restaurants in the Olympic Villages in Vancouver and Whistler are expected to serve more than 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials. The restaurants are open 24 hours a day and will offer McCafe beverages, snacks and McDonald’s signature menu items.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s, which operates or franchises more than 32,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, has been an official sponsor of the Olympics since 1976.

 Nation’s Restaurant News