My wife and I have known each other for 15 years and until last month, we never ate together at McDonald’s. My wife’s eating habits are on the healthier side and McDonald’s never fit with that. I’d eat there occasionally and enjoy it, but always felt guilty because I knew it was no good for me. A few weeks ago we decided to stop in and see if our son would get a kick out of a Happy Meal. My wife reluctantly tried one of their new salads, I had a fried chicken sandwich with fries and our son had a few McNuggets and fries.

Well, my wife was blown away by the salad. Fresh, crisp, big and it came with Newman’s Own® light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Since that visit, my wife has gone to the McDonald’s drive-thru twice for the same salad and we went back as a family this weekend and I actually had a grilled chicken sandwich and a side salad (instead of fries – something I have NEVER considered before and still can’t believe I did voluntarily) that was as good as her main course salad. My son still had a few McNuggets and some fries, but while eating we noticed the option to get him apple slices instead of fries and will likely do that next time.

As we ate, my wife and I (both marketers), discussed the changes at McDonald’s and the brilliance of not only the new food items, but also the marketing of them including the Go Active! Happy Meal for adults that includes a salad, a bottle of water and a pedometer device they call a Stepometer™. The key here is that they are not only offering these food items, but the quality of them are high and they are being marketed well. It’s not just a salad, it’s a good salad. And that makes all the difference.

I know other fast food chains are offering healthier options as well, but for McDonald’s to get my wife there on her own and back with her family by choice, well…trust me, that’s no small feat.