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Posted by Dale Buss on June 6, 2013 03:22 PM
It used to be that Taco Bell was about the only fast-food brand concerned with hitting all the "day parts" in the business. But with customers and profits harder to come by these days, McDonald's has been making noise lately about emphasizing opportunities during the graveyard shift and maybe even extending its breakfast availability.
In the latest such wrinkle, McDonald's reportedly is testing an "After Midnight" menu between midnight and 4 a.m. at some of its 24-hour locations that offer patrons the chance to order either dinner items, breakfast selections—or both—from a menu of favorites from each day part.
"Our customers want convenience around the clock," McDonald's said in a statement about the move, according to USA Today, though the chain didn't offer specifics. Millennials, especially, want convenience 24/7 and they want to be able to eat pretty much whatever they want, whenever they want, convention or otherwise.Continue reading...
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Posted by Dale Buss on May 22, 2013 10:38 AM
When you're stuck in neutral as McDonald's has been lately, you begin to try a little bit of everything. Expanding the menu. Focusing on value options. Sacking your chief of US operations. And, now—reducing the menu.
On the heels of its elimination of the Angus Burger, Fruit & Walnut Salad and Chicken Selects, there are reports that other McDonald's U.S. menu items are on the chopping block too as the chain scrambles for ways to maximize traffic and revenues while minimizing costs to deal with stubbornly reluctant consumers. It's also part of how the chain hopes to woo back millennials, as CEO Don Thompson is expected to outline at the company's annual general meeting on Thursday.
Caesar Salad, McSkillet Burrito and the Southern Style biscuit may also disappear, according to a franchisee e-mail obtained by Bloomberg. These would be further cutbacks in McDonald's core menu at a time when the company increasingly has been emphasizing the traffic-building value instead of "limited-time" items such as popcorn chicken and McRib sandwiches.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 9, 2013 04:23 PM
How low can you go? That may be the biggest question facing McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and other fast-food operators these days, in the US as well as around the world.
That's because cash-strapped consumers worldwide, struggling amid low-growth and slowing economies, are making business difficult for fast-food chains even though each brand is now emphasizing "value menus" and increasing low-priced offerings like never before. The QSR rivals are doing a lot of other things as well, including introducing higher-priced new menu items. But the most important competition, and the crux of their strategic dilemma, is found at the low end.
"That consumer that is getting hit hardest by the economy is locking in on a message that has a price, and when they see and hear 99 cents, Wendy's gets put in their consideration set," Emil Brolick, CEO of Wendy's, told the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...
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Posted by Dale Buss on April 16, 2013 02:24 PM
Thanks to the efforts of a handful of entrepreneurs, American fast food is moving from a form of nutritional epithet to add an entirely new dimension: a fledgling business model that uses the quick-serve platform to get better-for-you fare into the mouths of more willing consumers.
At the same time, not to be outdone, traditional fast-food chains are tacking heavily into more nutritional fare after several years of more or less playing at it. Taco Bell, for instance, has just announced its strategy to offer healthier menu options, while McDonald's is veering more deeply into wraps.
LYFE Kitchen is probably the best known of the cluster of promising better-for-you startups which also includes Clover, Veggie Grill, Tender Greens and Native Foods Cafe. New York Times Magazine writer Mark Bittman chronicled some of what these brands are doing.
"After the success of companies like Whole Foods [and] Annie's and Kashi, there's now a market for a a fast-food chain that's not only healthful itself, but vegetarian-friendly, sustainable and even humane," he wrote. "And, this being fast food: cheap.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 8, 2013 12:34 PM
"I've been eating at KFC the last few days, could that be a problem?" ("前几天刚吃了肯德基会有问题吗") asked one Weibo user.
The coming week could be a nightmare for KFC in China. Depending on developments in an outbreak of a new strain of avian flu called H7N9, KFC could see its business decimated by another chicken scare just months after a previous one.
KFC is not the only brand worried. Tyson chicken is already rolling out damage control.Continue reading...
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Posted by Shirley Brady on April 5, 2013 02:04 PM
KFC U.S. today announced its Original Recipe Boneless menu, which it's promoting with new spots, on Facebook and with the Twitter hashtag #TeamBoneless.
As USA Today noted, "In an astonishing brand reversal, KFC is about to stake its future on a red-hot concept that might have caused Colonel Sanders, himself, to see red: boneless chicken."
More details on the move, which was three years in the making and will see more than 90 percent of KFC's menu items to eventually go bone-free, in the press release below.Continue reading...
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Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2013 02:11 PM
The secret speakeasies of the Prohibition Era hold a certain mystique. There’s something cool about knowing the password that will get you in somewhere.
Fast food joints across America are taking advantage of people’s desire to feel like insiders by offering secret menus—food that doesn’t appear on the lit-up boards behind the cashier.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 25, 2013 03:17 PM
KFC has more than 4,000 outlets in China and it counts on them to come up with more than 40 percent of its overall revenue. That overreliance on cash-flow from the world’s most populated nation took a massive hit back in December when Chinese state television let the world know that “some suppliers violated rules on the use of drugs to fatten chickens,” which led to January sales dropping a customer-estimated 37 percent, according to the Associated Press.
The word from the Shanghai Times was that Chinese authorities were investigating the business practices of “Doyoo Group, a poultry company that reportedly bought sick and dead chicken from farms, then resold the sick ones to fast food restaurants such as KFC and McDonald's and processed the dead ones into animal feed."
Though the company was never fined by China food safety authorities for the incident, it caused KFC owner Yum! Brands to reconsider its overall 2013 profit outlook and now has it attempting to show the people of China that nothing quite like what happened last year will ever happen again. It t is promising “to test meat for banned drugs, strengthen oversight of farmers and encourage them to improve their technology,” the AP notes. Plus, KFC is saying that more than 1,000 small producers that its 25 poultry suppliers use have been axed. It is still planning to add 700 new locations in China this year. Continue reading...