They are not only for working out.


McDonald's China appears to believe that eating cheeseburgers don't count if the calories are immediately burned off.

Recently, a TikTok video emerged and went viral showing a woman dining at a McDonald's restaurant in China while pedaling an exercise bike to burn off calories.

The video shows a lady eating a burger and drinking a soft drink while pedaling has received 32 million views, with users eager to share their thoughts on the new equipment. They point out that to burn off the calories in a McDonald's burger or a big Coke, this individual would have to bike at high speeds for a lengthy amount of time.

McDonald's is generally associated with an unhealthy diet, so the addition of fitness equipment to its franchise is almost ironic. Its attempt to modify its image is also intriguing. 

The bike includes a chest-level table with pedals to hold your feet in position. In order to complement the restaurant's modern style, the bike's rear features a cropped and compressed company logo blended into its black and white body.

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There's more to it than meets the eye

McDonald's decision to put the bikes is not necessarily an attempt to distance itself from its unhealthy diet image. Rather, the chain aims to boost environmental awareness as consumers enjoy its meals. 

Shortly after the exercise bikes at McDonald's China became viral on social media, the fast-food company provided an explanation for the unusual additions to outlets in the region.

In a statement, McDonald's revealed that the installation "is a restaurant experience" and is designed "to inspire more green behaviors" when customers enjoy their meals.

The installation of these exercise cycles, branded "Green Charging Bike," is part of the franchise's "Upcycle for Good" project, which collaborates with China's multinational conglomerate Wanda Group.

In an effort to promote sustainability, the gym equipment generates power through cycling to charge electronics such as mobile phones. It was first shown in September 2021.

The initiative aims to build products out of recycled plastic components. They are now being tested at the Jieyang Wanda branch in Guangdong province and the new Hualian branch in Shanghai. 

"McDonald's China upholds the concept of green growth, builds its own green' circle of friends,' and works with authoritative and professional partners such as the U.S. Green Building Council and Wanda Group to jointly promote the development of green buildings," Liang Haijing, chief development officer of McDonald's China, said.

He added, "At the same time, we use brand influence to open a dialog with consumers so that consumers and other stakeholders can understand and participate in the field of sustainable development."

McDonald's also mentions that it would monitor consumer feedback to explore extending the Green Charging Bikes to other cities in China.

Courtesy of Unsplash/Mak
Courtesy of Unsplash/Mak

More sustainability projects

Last month, the fast-food chain opened a new eight-story sustainability-focused headquarters in Shanghai. It was designed with an emphasis on energy efficiency and environmental responsibility and the encouragement of cross-functional cooperation and flexible working. 

More than 600 employees from McDonald's China and the Shanghai market now work from the new building, which has no regular seating arrangements. Instead, the facility has workstations, booths, lounges, and high tables where employees may work.

"People are our most valuable asset," said Phyllis Cheung, chief executive officer of McDonald's China, in a statement. 

Outdoor terraces, coffee shops, gyms, and activity centers are also available at the new headquarters, as is a McDonald's restaurant open to both employees and the general public. According to the company, the restaurant will be the first in China to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.

In addition, Hamburger University and a food innovation center will be housed in the new headquarters. Over the next five years, McDonald's plans to train and develop more than 75,000 restaurant staff in China at Hamburger University. Chefs will use the culinary innovation center to create new menu items for the Chinese market in the mean time.

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