I drive past the gas-flaring petrochemical plants and divorce lawyers’ billboards of New Jersey with a mounting feeling of despair. It’s not just that the evening traffic is making me late; it is that I have been handed one of the least appetising assignments in Lunch with the FT history.

I am heading to a McDonald’s beside Route 1 in Rahway — home of the East Jersey State Prison — to meet Chris Kempczinski, the chain’s CEO...

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