Dan Coudreaut, McDonald's Chef, and the Power He Wields
Details has a profile of Dan Coudreaut, Director of Culinary Innovation for McDonald's, arguably the world's most powerful chef, serving 27 million daily customers. With yearly sales of more than 350 million salads, he wields an incredible amount of power over the national and global agricultural industry.
His addition of apple slices (in salads and as an alternative to fries in Happy Meals) made McDonald’s the world’s largest buyer and seller of the fruit in 2005—it moved more than 55 million pounds... Thanks to Coudreaut, McDonald’s is also among the top five buyers and sellers of grape tomatoes, chicken, and lettuces...
A major consideration to any new menu item is the vast quantity of particular ingredients that need to be available:
The massive scale limits creativity. So any thought of adding shrimp or fresh strawberries to salads, for example, or expanding regional McDonald’s items (like the lobster served in Maine or the biscuits and gravy down South) is a nonstarter, because national forays into such markets could drown them. “Avocado would be a natural for Dan,” says CIA president Tim Ryan. “But then how would the rest of the world make guacamole?”
He'd love to do a pork sandwich, but recognizing the limits of the McDonald's patrons, he says, "The sad fact is if it doesn’t have the word bacon, ham, or sausage attached, pork doesn’t sell.”