McDonald’s seems to have given up on attracting children around 1995. Kids used to love going to McDonald’s to play on the playground before or after eating their meals. After the age of nine, these typical modular play structures — cushioned flooring, platforms, polyurethane foam pipes, and a single plastic slide — are likely deemed uninteresting.
How important is it to today’s children that McDonald’s has a playground? They have iPads and Game Boys, and their parents may not even take them to fast-food places in the first place. According to Technomic, a food-service research and consulting company, the proportion of families with children visiting McDonald’s had decreased from 18.6 percent in 2011 to 14.6 percent in 2014.
According to Darren Tristano, president of Technomic, fast-food outlets focused on playgrounds are unlikely to return anytime soon. Brands with indoor play areas, such as Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s, are not constantly growing, and in some instances, when shops are renovated, these play areas are no longer included. What is the reason behind this? In this article, we’ll take a look at the possible reasons.
What Happened to All the Fast-Food Playgrounds?
Started in the 1970s
Fast food playgrounds may be traced back to a McDonald’s in Chula Vista, California, even before the 1990s. The original McDonald’s PlayLand debuted at this modest restaurant in the early 1970s, bringing a 34 % boost in business to its site before the park was finished and rising to a 63 percent increase in traffic over the following months.
The first McDonald’s PlayLands were distinct from subsequent fast food playgrounds in many respects, including that they were entirely outside and intended for solitary rather than interactive play. After initially introducing playgrounds in 1985, Burger King followed McDonald’s example and stayed with outdoor play equipment. These initial fast-food playgrounds were rendered unusable in the rain and cold, which was especially troublesome in cold-weather states.
Fast food restaurants started installing indoor playgrounds in the 1990s called “PlayPlaces at McDonald’s” and “Kids Club Play Lands at Burger King.” These were contemporary indoor playscapes featuring tubes, slides, and ball pits, all of which were surrounded by substantial padding, fabric, and netting. Punching bags, swings, and jump-through hoops were among the more advanced elements.
According to Tulsa World, these indoor fast-food playgrounds opened when some towns were reducing public playground funding, and school systems were tearing down playgrounds to prevent accidents and lawsuits. Parents praised these indoor playscapes as locations where their children could run about freely and engage with other children in a secure, enclosed environment without being “snatched up.”
The individuals who work at fast-food play areas are the best people to ask about what goes on there. McDonald’s workers were asked to describe the most unsettling events they saw inside PlayPlaces in a Reddit post, and they did not disappoint.
A number of the tales included urine and feces, to put it bluntly. When a kid soiled his pants, only once in a while did the parents clean it up. The whole crew was taken aback, remarking that although children regularly defecate in the play area, this was the first time they’d ever seen parents volunteer to assist with the cleanup.
As detailed in the thread, employees at McDonald’s usually agree that ball pits are overflowing with Happy Meal burgers, nuggets, and feces. Others say it’s not uncommon for parents to drop off their children and leave them unattended for hours.
Infested With Germs
The playgrounds at Fast Food Places, which are teeming with toddlers from open to close, naturally become a bit sticky from time to time. But few realized how filthy they were until a worried mother exposed fast-food playground squalor.
The realization began in 2011 when Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan, an Arizona State University child development professor and mother of four, followed one of her children onto one of the PlayPlace slides at a McDonald’s and discovered decaying food, a soiled bandage, and obscene graffiti within the plastic tube.
Dr. Carr-concerns Jordan’s were mostly disregarded by various supervisors and even McDonald’s corporate headquarters. So she took things into her own hands and traveled across the nation collecting bacterial swabs from various fast-food restaurants.
According to lab findings, her bacterial swabs indicated that almost every one of the 50 fast-food playgrounds she’d visited had signs of potentially hazardous disease. The playgrounds were breeding grounds for tiny pathogens that may harm kids, from fecal coliforms to various types of Staphylococcus.
Campaign Against Fast Food Playground
Dr. Carr-Jordan, a professor, founded the Kids Play Safe nonprofit organization to develop and improve rules for the appropriate cleaning and maintenance of play structures in fast food restaurants. Carr-Jordan and her colleagues decided to tackle the issue from a business level after their appeals to numerous lawmakers were ignored.
The nonprofit organization developed the “Kids Play Safe certificate,” given to businesses that meet specific sanitation guidelines. This involves cleaning the kids’ play area regularly using an eco-friendly solution that is free of harsh chemicals and maintaining the play equipment’s safety.
Chuck E. Cheese was the first large company to collaborate with Kids Play Safe and get accreditation in 2017. CEC Entertainment Inc. also owns Peter Piper Pizza, which, like Chuck E. Cheese, is part of the collaboration. More than 700 restaurants throughout the country now meet the Kids Play Safe hygiene and safety requirements, although other fast-food behemoths have yet to follow the pizzerias’ example.
The Digital Age Wiping Out Fast Food Playgrounds
Fast-food playgrounds are on their way out. Fast food playscapes were popular in the 1990s, but today’s kids are more interested in iPads than ball pits and tunnel exploration. Consequently, fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A have delayed their growth and upgrading of indoor play areas. Restaurants aren’t adding playgrounds when they establish new locations.
Fast food playgrounds may be obsolete in a few decades, with interactive iPad playparks taking their place. Fast food restaurant playgrounds with electronics may not promote vigorous play or exercise, but they are unlikely to break any bones – and can be quickly cleaned with a sanitizing wipe. However, it’s not physically friendly, right?
What To Have Instead Of Fast Food Playground?
The very best substitute for these dirty fast-food indoor playgrounds is Commercial Playsets. It is advisable to take your kids to the playground from time to time, letting them have the vitamin D at Commercial Swing Sets or having physical activity at an Outdoor climber. And If you don’t want your kid to catch germs from others, you can purchase your outdoor playset with its Park Amenities.