Ronald McDonald is smiling as his stock soars and critics give grudging respect to his new menus, the AP reports. McDonald’s hasn’t yielded on all fronts – its fries still simmer in trans-fatty cooking oil – but nimble reactions to critics have helped boost the stock from $12 in 2003 to $54.80 yesterday. "Consumers' attention span is pretty short," says one analyst.
Yogurts and fruit have quieted critics, but “Let's be honest," one critic says, "their business is still driven by burgers, fries and Cokes.” Even foreigners rife with anti-American feeling are passing under the arches for those meals: Asian, Middle Eastern and African sales have jumped 12.4%. And they can now read nutritional data on the packaging, if they dare.