McDonald's China branches had exercise bikes installed. New information has emerged about McDonald's China, courtesy of a now-famous TikTok video from user Cris13yu, which tells us that the fast food giant has installed exercise bikes at some of its stores. The installation of exercise equipment is undoubtedly a response to the fast food chain being associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. The equipment is an unusual addition aimed at changing perceptions of the brand in the community.
The bikes come equipped with a screen that monitors speed and time spent pedaling. The platform is also widely available in the country via local fitness app Carrot365. According to Weibo, the bikes can be found within branches in Beijing, Shenzhen and Chongqing.
Although the addition is a sign that the global chain is trying to move away from its unhealthy image in China, it's unlikely that it will ever fully shake off its less-than-healthy connotation as there are currently no plans to expand out the bikes to other locations, according to an Emarketer report.
In late 2017, a GlobalData report found that young Chinese consumers were largely unsure of the effects of a healthy diet, with 51 percent saying they had no idea what a balanced meal was. Around 33 percent attributed this to not having enough time and 23 percent said it was because they weren't given good information from friends or family. In response to this, McDonald's China brought on a new dietician and introduced its "Lighter Choices" range.
The single-seat options are positioned to face a wall with an extended seat complete with pedals and attached chest level table. The move marks a shift in consumer preferences towards healthier choices. Moreover, it also comes on the heels of CEO Steve Easterbrook’s announcement of the fast food chain’s expansion into China. Since 2014, the company has made a push to turn around its fortunes and grow through both new menu options and renovations.On a more general level, McDonald's has long been associated with unhealthy food choices and high calorie counts. The brand has attempted to counter these perceptions by changing its menu options and renovating restaurants. It will be interesting to see if other chains follow suit or continue to go against the current as it relates to the current focus on healthy eating.