sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 20, 2012 10:01 AM
Green Mountain Coffee is in a pot of trouble. And that's even before Starbucks introduces Verismo, its own single-serve brewing system for consumers that's rolling out in October (and already available on Verismo.com), to challenge the iconic K-Cup system by Green Mountain that features its Keurig pods.
The brand has been a darling of consumers for several years, on a continued growth tear as K-Cups led a revolution in how Americans consume much of their coffee by making the single-serve system de rigeur in homes and offices. The company fed strong double-digit sales growth by continuing to proliferate the types of pods, to include "iced" drinks and juices as well as coffees and teas.
Green Mountain also had been a darling of investors seeking to cash in on a boom that, for the six years after the Vermont-based company acquired Keurig, managed to thrive without attracting the competitive interest of Starbucks.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 12, 2012 05:17 PM
McDonald's continues to look less and less like a food-police "Most Wanted" corporation with a rap sheet to match its notoriety. Instead, the global fast-food leader keeps adding to its shift toward better-for-you fare and toward making healthier food not only accessible to its customers but palatable as well — even including the health of its own employees.
Today, McDonald's USA announced a number of nutrition initiatives, including the news it's adding calorie counts on restaurant and drive-through menus nationwide starting Monday and introducing menu items next year in line with the latest obesity-targeting federal dietary guidelines.
"We recognize customers want to know more about the nutrition content of the food and beverages they order," McDonald's USA president Jan Fields stated in a press release. As the Associated Press notes, "The move comes ahead of a regulation that could require major chains to post the information as early as next year. 'We want to voluntarily do this,' Fields told AP. 'We believe it will help educate customers.'"Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2012 06:06 PM
One way McDonald's plans to keep on growing around the globe is to open itself increasingly to local tastes rather than simply trying to impose the Big Mac on every national market, which is how the chain started out. Interestingly, however, just as McDonald's is making such a move in India with new vegetarian restaurants, it's being tripped up by a matter of cultural sensitivity just a few hundred miles from McDonald's Chicago headquarters in the good ol' U.S. of A.
It seems that billboards in St. Paul touted McDonald's breakfast offerings in Hmong, the indigenous language of Hmong-Americans who comprise a major enclave of 64,000 people in the Twin Cities. The billboards put up by local franchisees — the first time McDonald's has ever advertised to Asia's Hmong community in the U.S. — were supposed to say, "Coffee Gets You Up, Breakfast Gets You Going."
But thanks to a garbled translation from English to Hmong, the text reads as gobbledygook to the Hmong-American population. McDonald's apologized for the error and set about to correct it immediately. Overseas, meanwhile, McDonald's newest culturally relevant move outside the U.S. — bringing vegetarian-only fare to some restaurants in India next year — is one of the biggest efforts by McDonald's in accommodating its brand to consumers outside its home U.S. market, and also inadvertently stepping on some toes.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2012 11:13 AM
It's no problem to stretch our gastronomic imaginations to the concept of Taco Bell's "fourth meal," to agree to fill our gurglilng stomachs in the wee hours with chalupas and Doritos Locos Tacos. That all belongs to the day just ending, and is on-trend with similar tests such as McDonald's nascent nocturnivores breakfast after midnight test, and Dunkin' Donuts new addition of Quaker Oatmeal to expand its "better for you" breakfast lineup.
But somehow it's a stretch to imagine Taco Bell could produce something appetizing for breakfast. Regardless, now the Yum! Brands-owned iconic fast-food chain is giving it a serious try.
Expanding on a pilot test earlier this year, Taco Bell has rolled out a test of its new breakfast menu in about 800 restaurants, primarily in the western United States. (Is that because they get up later than everyone else, so it's more like an early lunch?)
The test menu for "FirstMeal" includes two new items: the A.M. Crunchwrap and Mtn Dew A.M. They have joined Cinnabon Delights as the chain's morning repast.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 5, 2012 10:05 AM
One mooncake wears a thong. Another, called the "full monty," is a bare buttocks. One other mooncake, called "spread my cheeks," is exactly what it says.
The very unconventional line of mooncakes comes from Hong Kong's cheeky design maves at lifestyle brand/retailer G.O.D. (short for "Goods of Desire") and it, according to Jingdaily.com, "puts the 'moon' in mooncakes."Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 13, 2012 04:22 PM
Fast-food giants share a not-so-secret recipe: make the up sell, adding fries to your bill or talking you into some kind of combination meal.
But the up sell isn’t working quite the way it used to. Consumers aren’t asking for "the #5 with fries" anywhere near as much as they used to, Fortune reports. A study by NPD Group finds that sales of combo meals at fast-food restaurants have gone down 12% in the last five years.
That means a billion fewer combo meals were ordered in the five-year period ending this past January than were ordered up in the five years before that. The lousy economy has something to do with it, but the study also showed that consumers would like to have more options in their combos.
The grand-daddy of the combo meal is the Happy Meal, which has been holding on for dear life. Revamped in time for the London Summer Olympics healthier menu marketing, it's been hit in markets such as Chile, where the government is now prohibiting restaurants (but it might as well say "McDonald's") from including toys with meals.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 13, 2012 10:32 AM
Many U.S. companies, CEOs and their allies in Washington, D.C., have been warning since the end of June that the Supreme Court's upholding of most of Obamacare would impact their financial health. And they indicated that they wouldn't stand by and watch the diminishment of their bottom lines because of it.
Now, the head of one of America's biggest pizza chains, Papa John's, has dropped the other shoe: Directly because of the requirements of Obamacare once the full law takes effect, according to the Huffington Post, Papa John's customers will have to pay 11 to 14 cents more per pizza, or 15 to 20 cents more per order, said John Schnatter.
Papa John's has taken on a higher profile over the last few years, including its buzz-worthy Coin Toss Promotion during the last Super Bowl. And its ascendance has included a very public role in the chain's TV commercials for Schnatter. So he's not exactly trying to maintain a low profile. But Schnatter's direct shot at the employer-carried costs of Obamacare is sure to be noticed.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2012 03:12 PM
McDonald's reported that same-store sales in July were flat worldwide, and it's getting some social-media flack because of its Olympics sponsorship — neither of which casts a rosy pall on the present reality of its business. But as the chain moves further into the new era of new CEO Don Thompson, it continues to innovate, test and probe for fresh ways to expand the brand, the franchise and its business model. Now those trials include breakfast in the wee hours of the night.
Thanks to the stagnating U.S. economy and greater competition globally, McDonald's reported that sales last month at stores open at least 13 months were unchanged worldwide while sales at domestic locations fell by 0.1 percent. Analysts had expected better on both counts. Meanwhile, because it's a purveyor of fat- and calorie-and sugar-laden products that global citizens want to eat — in contrast with the lean, healthy image of Olympians — McDonald's has been getting more criticism on Twitter than the two dozen other big Olympic sponsors, according to an analysis by WPP's MediaCom.Continue reading...