Posted by Dale Buss on December 19, 2013 07:17 PM
As the whole restaurant marketplace becomes a mash-up, it's little surprise that Chipotle is pursuing a fast-casual niche that's growing just as its own fresh-Mex segment has taken off: pizzerias.
Chipotle invested in a chain called Pizzeria Locale with a restaurant in Denver that actually opened in May, and it's considering two more locations in the city, according to USA Today. It's too soon to say whether Chipotle will open Pizzeria Locales in other parts of the US.
"Opening Pizzeria Locale using a model similar to Chipotle allows us to make extraordinary pizza, made with high-quality ingredients accessible to everyone," said Chipotle CEO Steve Ells in a press release.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2013 12:39 PM
Don't look now, but burgeoning domestic oil and gas production is beginning to create all sorts of new and potential "trickle-out" effects, pressures, and opportunities for brands. Just ask General Motors and ExxonMobil.
American consumers' rising sense of "energy security" likely has contributed to the fact that sales of GM's behemoth, old versions of the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs rose by 8 percent and 24 percent, respectively, for the year to date through November, at a time when compactness and ever-improving fuel economy have become the bywords of the US auto industry.
That performance also has helped give GM excecutives the confidence to go ahead with plans for launching significantly upgraded Suburban and Tahoe versions in 2015 and to raise list prices on the new models from $1,000 to $3,000 above current models, to around $46,000 and higher, according to Automotive News. The new versions will boast a major redesign, more amenities and improved fuel economy, and GM expects them to defend the company's whopping 44 percent share of large-SUV sales in the United States.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2013 10:47 AM
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store aficionados long have realized the importance of the "Old Country Store" part to the appeal of the establishment along Interstates across most of the United States. And now some Wall Streeters are expressing new appreciation for a business model that has kept the Lebanon, Tenn.-based chain on a strong growth curve.
The restaurant is a staple mostly for wayfarers in Flyover Country, with more than 600 stores in 42 states, providing welcome signage to many travelers in and through America's heartland who love to come in, sit down within the glow of its wood-burning hearth, and consume comfort food such as biscuits and gravy and 24x7 breakfast.
Not only that, but apparently enough investors also have understood the appeal of Cracker Barrel, this year bidding up its shares by about 65 percent, or triple the gain of the S&P 500, Motley Fool said.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2013 03:47 PM
India's sweet tooth has been growing lately to the tune of 18 percent average increases in candy sales annually, so it's no wonder that global giants including Mondelez and Hershey are targeting the sub-continent. In fact, Hershey has chosen India as the first country outside North America to launch the Jolly Rancher brand.
The first Jolly Rancher product will be lollipops, coming in three flavors: green apple, watermelon and mango. Hershey claimed in a statement that the mango variety was developed specifically for consumers in India and that, overall, the new Jolly Rancher products have been tailored "to appeal, specifically, to local palates with bold, fruity flavors that are unlike any other candy available in the market."
More than that, the company said, "The lollipops offer a long-lasting fruit-like taste experience that is distinct from the typical lollipop currently available in India." Sounds a lot like the taste-intense positioning that Jolly Ranchers has used generally.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2013 02:47 PM
Maybe the glum economic view in Europe is souring the perspectives of CPG-company CEOs there. Or maybe they're the ones most looking at the global economy without rose-colored glasses these days. In any event, both Unilever and Nestle have announced significant new moves that will bring about big new skinbacks in their portfolios—and marketing.
Unilever stunned followers of the company by announcing that it aims to cut the number of individual products it sells by a whopping 30 percent by the end of next year so that it can become more efficient and navigate a global economic slowdown that it admits it was slow to confront, according to Reuters.
As a result, the Anglo-Dutch maker of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Lipton tea, Knorr soups and Dove personal-care products—among many other brands—is cutting about 2,000 jobs, including about 800 alone in marketing, and will continue to adjust its portfolio.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2013 02:38 PM
Dow Chemical wants to unleash the low-margin commodity-chemicals businesses that have always anchored the company in favor of a higher-margin, higher-IP future involving more specialized products, a bigger brand presence—and maybe even a name change.
CEO Andrew Liveris told journalists on Monday that Dow plans to shed about $5 billion in assets such as chlorine-production facilities, epoxy businesses and brine operations. Liveris said there likely would be a mix of asset sales and shutdowns, all aimed at streamlining the company and making it more like rival DuPont in simplifying the portfolio, boosting shareholder returns, and optimizing its IP.
The move "represents a continuation of the shift of our company toward downstream high-margin products and technologies that customers value, and generate consistently higher returns than cyclical commodity products," Liveris said in a statement. And indeed, as Dow CEO, Liveris has been on a course toward increasing specialization for most of a decade.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2013 06:02 PM
McDonald's retains its long-term growth goals despite its troubles in 2013. But the chain certainly is tweaking how it plans to reach them, with new efforts ranging from selling McCafe coffees in supermarkets with Kraft to its first Happy Meal tie-in with the National Football League. And along the way, McDonald's is trying to figure out how it lost the "quick" in its quick-serve.
CEO Don Thompson said at the company's investor conference this week that McDonald's has suffered from an iffy consumer economy, and labor- and commodity-cost pressures. The company also has been hamstrung by its own poor execution in areas that have included the less-than-stellar sales performance of its steady menu of new Limited Time items, such as Mighty Wings chicken wings.
But the most problematic area for McDonald's may be that its US customer service has suffered recently, in part because it has introduced too many of those new menu items, too quickly, for its operations to adjust efficiently.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 13, 2013 11:27 AM
Century 21 still believes its real-estate agents are "smarter, bolder, faster" than the competition. But the leading realty brand has massively pivoted to new ways to get its message out, abandoning the Super Bowl after a two-year run—but embracing both the Winter Olympics and social media marketing with a current-events twist in a major way.
CMO Bev Thorne agreed that Super Bowl advertising for two years took advantage of "the last great American campfire." But, she noted to brandchannel, the event "occupies the American public for one day" only.
Besides, this winter presents what could be an even more ideal marketing opportunity for a brand that has a presence not just in the US but also in more than 70 other countries: the Winter Olympics. It begins in Russia just five days after the Super Bowl, and Century 21 will be airing ads on NBC and overseas networks while also sponsoring the US men's and women's bobsled teams.Continue reading...