CHICAGO — That’s one way to get tongues wagging.

An award-winning McDonald’s manager in Canada has seemingly revealed a bit of little-known company lore in a recent interview with CBC, where he confidently stated that Grimace — the large, purple, anthropomorphic thing that hangs out with Ronald McDonald — is supposed to be a huge taste bud.

“He is an enormous taste bud, but a taste bud nonetheless,” Bates told the outlet.


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Bates, who manages a McDonald’s in Windsor, Ontario, was being interviewed by the CBC after receiving the award for “Outstanding Manager of the Year” from McDonald’s Canada in recognition of his efforts during the pandemic specifically. But it was his revelation about Grimace that really got people talking.

After Bates casually dropped that nugget of knowledge during his CBC interview, social media started sounding off with their shocked and sometimes horrified reactions.

YUCK A giant taste bud!!! #GRIMACE pic.twitter.com/Qt3BQvFNQ7

— Christine Craft (@1Sunshinegal) September 8, 2021

Now that I have learned that Grimace from McDonaldland is actually the embodiment of a human tastebud, the reality is all the more horrifying than I could have imagined on my own. pic.twitter.com/BpSwYb7NEL

— Storm Faerywolf (@StormFaerywolf) September 8, 2021

BRO GRIMACE IS A “TASTEBUD” WTF. I ALWAYS THOUGHT HE WAS A PURPLE CHICKEN NUGGET. pic.twitter.com/MBmM9gt209

— Nathan Veunnashack (@NavVisualz) September 8, 2021


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McDonald’s, however, had previously suggested that Grimace might actually be a swollen purple taste bud. During a 2014 Twitter exchange, the company responded to a question about the character, telling a curious customer that Grimace was either “the embodiment of a milkshake or taste bud.”

.@margo_padilla Great question! #Grimace lore says he is the embodiment of a milkshake or a taste bud. What do you think? #AskAnArchivist

— McDonald’s Corporation (@McDonaldsCorp) October 30, 2014

In any case, Grimace has evolved significantly since his debut in 1971. Introduced as “Evil Grimace,” the character depicted as a McDonaldland villain (with four arms) was singularly focused on stealing McDonald’s milkshakes, according to early TV commercials. Over the years, he eventually lost his mad lust for milkshakes (and two of his arms) and became best buds with Ronald McDonald.

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