Posted by Shirley Brady on November 28, 2012 09:33 AM
McDonald's UK is promoting its limited-time Festive Menu with a holiday campaign featuring "the charming story of a postman — in many ways the modern Santa Claus — who braves the elements to deliver festive joy to the British public. After a tough day's work, he rewards himself for his efforts with a delicious Winter Warmer and some banter with his workmates." Watch it below:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 27, 2012 05:16 PM
Whatever McDonald's next US CEO, Jeff Stratton, does after he takes over from ousted McD's veteran Jan Fields on Dec. 1st, outsiders agree that it'll probably involve significant new menu launches and refreshing old favorites. As in most businesses, it's product innovation that provides the most effective promotional opportunities and does the most to drive sales and pique consumer interest.
Especially in an increasingly competitive environment where Americans seem to have grown inured to a simple value pitch, expect the icon of fast food to turn more, and more often, to variations of its signature products, and other new items, to reverse the October U.S. same-store sales slide that cost Fields her job.
Some analysts are suggesting that Stratton, a four-decade veteran of McDonald's who championed sustainability in his role as Chief Restaurant Officer, will rely on his expertise in operations to shore up the bottom line and that he'll turn to improved marketing to boost the top line. But in picking apart the reasons for this year's slide and putting together ways to reverse it, Stratton also must balance menu expansion with the traditional simplicity at the heart of McDonald's business model.
In 2012, the chain relied more on "limited-time" menu additions in the US such as Chicken McBites and a Cheddar Bacon Onion burger that was introduced in October. The pandemonium-causing McRib sandwich, meanwhile, is rumored to return in December — and not a moment too soon. As Peter McGuinness at DDB Chicago, McDonald's agency, commented about the pre-Christmas McRib timing in a reference to Coca-Cola's classic holiday theme, "We don't really do polar bears."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2012 12:34 PM
Western retailers have been completely bombarding China with products and sales pitches in recent years. Having more than 1.3 billion consumers living within its borders can make a country’s citizens targets of such things.
Starbucks is about to go overdrive in its efforts to get the Chinese populace as dependent on their brand as plenty of Americans are, but the sell may not be so coffee-driven, but leverage the brand's tea drinks and food menu. The chain currently has 700 stores in China but that number will more than double in size to 1,500 in the next three years, according to the Wall Street Journal. That growth will also mean the chain’s employees in China will go from 12,000 today to 30,000 in three years. It also offers regional websites for Eastern China and Northern China.
Coffee sales went up 20% in 2011 over the previous year and brought in $995 million, WSJ notes, but China is still a tea-drinking nation. So Starbucks established a research-and-development unit in the country in order to figure out what it could do to attract a larger audience than those looking for a cup of joe. As a result, Starbucks China is not only celebrating Western customs such as Christmas, but serving up localized beverage and food items including a red bean frappaccino, green tea tiramisu, a Hainan chicken and rice wrap, a shredded ginger pork panini, and a Thai-style prawn wrap. And the Starbucks kiosks that work so well in the States don’t have the same effect in the Chinese market where consumers desire more space.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 26, 2012 12:21 PM
In-N-Out Burger caused a "frenzy" last month when it popped up with a stealth five-hour pop-up in London. Now Five Guys, the US burger chain so-named in honor of the male half of the founding couple and their four sons, is about to make its first foray out of North America and into the UK, and it's planning to stick around a little longer.
The word from UK's Marketing magazine is that Five Guys, which has a thousand locations in the U.S. and Canada, is expanding to the UK thanks to a deal that Five Guys has made with Sir Charles Dunstone, the founder of Carphone Warehouse.
The plan is for Dunstone to open a few Five Guys in the UK next year with the first of them being a flagship store in London. And no, Barack Obama's beloved Five Guys won't rebrand as "Five Chaps" for its UK arrival, and we doubt they'll start calling their menu's mainstay "burgers and chips."Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 22, 2012 10:01 AM
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t the only leader of a major city who is trying to get his constituents to be a little healthier. After all, the United States Conference of Mayors shelled out some bucks back in 2009 to produce an online guide to help its members fight childhood obesity.
But the fight isn’t limited to just America. The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is targeting the fast-food joints in his city to get a bit healthier. Johnson apparently isn’t happy with his legacy being only about that he was the guy who happened to be at the helm when the Olympics came to town.
Nope. Johnson is ready to follow in Bloomberg’s footsteps. Back in June, when Bloomberg announced that he wanted to limit the amount of soda New Yorkers could buy in one cup, Johnson wrote, "where New York leads, London is not far behind,” the Standard reports. Now he’s making his move. The Mayor’s London Food Board partnered with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health to create a Takeaways Toolkit in an attempt to help “fast food takeaways … make their food healthier,” according to Fresh Business Thinking.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 16, 2012 01:14 PM
It doesn't take long before even a brand like McDonald's can slip from a high perch. And it can take even less time for the executive who may be responsible for the stumble to fall even further.
That's why Jan Fields suddenly is out of her job as president of the U.S. operations of the chain. Recently ensconced CEO Don Thompson met with her to decide that she should move on after 35 years with the company — including two disappointing quarters in the U.S. The company named Jeff Stratton, currently global chief restaurant officer, to succeed Fields.
In an interview with Fortune that was published today, Fields — who conducted the brand's first-ever "listening tour" last year — seems to be philosophical about her tour of duty drawing to a close, using a USDA-approved metaphor in response to her ouster. "Everyone has a date stamped on their ass," she said, "and they're the only one who can't see it."
Thompson acknowledged her wry sense of humor in the press release announcing the management change, saying "We appreciate and salute Jan for more than three decades of inspired leadership and impactful service under the Arches. All of us who know Jan will miss her genuine nature and quick-witted humor. We wish Jan the very best."
The die was cast when McDonald's U.S. same-store sales in October declined, the first month-to-month decrease in nine years. As recently as the first quarter, McDonald's had been humming seemingly on all cylinders, gliding along as a clear brand of choice for American households who were still struggling financially. The limited-time run of new Chicken McBites also had proven a big success.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 16, 2012 11:52 AM
As restaurant brand executives cut jobs and announced their intentions to raise prices in the wake of President Obama's re-election, no one can say they weren't forewarned.
Chains such as Papa John's are explicitly tying their actions to the costs of Obamacare, while other brands — including GE Healthcare and Virgin Airlines — also are announcing job cuts as a result of their expectations for a continuation of U.S. economic sluggishness in the wake of the voting results.
Papa John's CEO John Schnatter has been the most outspoken. The Mitt Romney backer has said that he'll raise the price of a pizza pie by 10 to 14 cents as well as slash employee hours — but it's not, he says, because of the two million pizzas he's giving away, but due to the cotss of Obamacare. He's not alone. A Denny's franchisee in Florida, John Metz, said that he plans to add a five-percent surcharge to his customers' bills and also to reduce his employees' hours.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 14, 2012 12:03 PM
"Cher joins 400,000" is not an x-rated film for the AARP set — it's a headline trumpeting news that the singer/actress has signed a petition lobbying Macy's to "dump Trump."
Following Donald Trump's harsh comments against Barack Obama, including a $5 million offer to see the president's passport application and college transcripts, a "boycott Trump" effort has been growing. Macy's CEO was drawn into the fray after protesters zoomed in on Trump's "birther" comments its holiday campaign (top).
Trump's answer to anyone who opposes him is typically a metaphorical version of "you're fired." It's an impotent response to a boycott effort as impotent as Trump's hair piece.Continue reading...