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Fast Food Brands: Forget Deals, Try Manners

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2012 04:04 PM

After everybody blows their budgets at holiday time, consumers generally go into a brief hibernation of sorts. They eat at home and start scraping their pennies together again for the next time they need to show some consumer confidence.

USA Today takes note of how fast-food establishments are going to do everything they can to keep those consumers coming out and spending their dollars, though “a key indicator for the industry, foot traffic, was down 0.6% in the third quarter of 2011,” according to a new report from NPD Group, and “restaurant visits in the first half of 2012” are projected to be “flat.”

So what tactic will the industry pull out to lead hungry Americans their way? Deals!Continue reading...

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Star Wars Fans: Would You Like Fries With Your Jedi Burger?

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 4, 2012 07:05 PM

Looking for a burger to go with your Darth Maul Brisk soda? Get thee to Europe, where the Quick burger chain, which made headlines with a halal burger last year, is releasing a trio of burgers to tie into the upcoming 3D release of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in theaters.

As noted on the French Star Wars fan forum and picked up on Buzzfeed and A Hamburger Today, the limited edition burgers coming to France, Belgium and Luxembourg include a Sith-tastic reddish Dark Burger, a Yodalicious green Jedi Burger, and a disturbingly black-bunned Dark Vador (Darth Vader) Burger. At least the fine print on Quick's ads remind diners to remember their fruits and veggies.


McDonald's Releases 2011 Sustainability Scorecard

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 3, 2012 09:43 AM

McDonald's Corporation has released its 2011 Sustainability Scorecard outlining the company's progress in five areas, including environmental responsibility and sustainable sourcing. Click here for the press release and more on the company's progress as it seeks to make sustainability part of its everyday business operations.Continue reading...

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McDonald's Kicks Off Controversial Farm to Fork Campaign

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 2, 2012 07:12 PM

McDonald's US this week kicks off its "farm to fork" campaign touting its local suppliers (don't call them farmers) of the mainstay ingredients on its menu: potatoes, beef and lettuce. Watch the other spots, already being dubbed "farmwashing" by critics of the quick-serve restaurant giant's supply chain, below.

One local marketing move less likely to garner criticism — the chain is serving free coffee (no purchase necessary) in select US markets to say thank you to customers "in tough economic times."Continue reading...

local branding

Sen. Schumer Likes His New York Brew – And Wants You To Do the Same

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 16, 2011 10:10 AM

Booze is recession-proof: people drink alcohol in good economic times and they drink alcohol in bad economic times, athough the price of what they imbibe may decrease in tough times.

According to Fox, “a recent Gallup poll shows alcohol consumption hit a 25-year high in 2010, with 67 percent of Americans reporting drinking alcoholic beverages.” That is pretty close to the all-time alcohol-consumption high of 71 percent set back in the ‘70s, the site notes.

New York Senator Charles Schumer, an outspoken Democrat, is trying to use this fact to help his state’s business grow. While New York state is the official body behind the famed "I Love NY" campaign (not New York City, as commonly believed), Schumer feels it isn't doing enough for local businesses. That's why he's encouraging restaurants, bars, and retailers to stock as much New York-brewed beer as possible, according to the Saratogian. Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnellli may love New York but Schumer loves New York brew.

As he kicks off his campaign this week, Schumer is hoping that New York brewers will sell more product and thus have to add to their employee rolls, the Saratogian reports.Continue reading...

campaign tactics

I'm Local Farmin' It: McDonald's Goes Down on the Farm in New Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on December 15, 2011 05:01 PM

Over the past few years, McDonald's has touted everything from value pricing to new product lines to continue to get people through the doors of its restaurants. On January 2nd, the world's biggest fast food chain will join competitors in attempting a new type of pitch in America: talking about where its ingredients come from.

While McDonald's has committed to promoting sustainable farming in Europe, taking a "farm-to-fork" approach in America may seem a stretch. After all, the restaurant chain doesn't deal directly with "local" farmers and ranchers but only with big suppliers such as Cargill, Lamb Weston and Coca-Cola.

But McDonald's U.S. executives have seen rivals such as Wendy's and Chipotle get some traction with down-on-the-farm marketing. And they acknowledge that "there are questions about where our food comes from," as McDonald's U.S. CMO Neil Golden put it this week, according to Ad Age.Continue reading...

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McDonald's Is Lovin' Its Global Heyday

Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2011 05:05 PM

McDonald's may be dealing with Happy Meal fallout from San Francisco to Sao Paulo, but the much bigger picture is this: The iconic brand of American-style fast food is rolling up big sales gains around the globe.

True, the chain's venerable Happy Meal remains under attack by nutrition advocates worldwide. McDonald's seems to be getting around an anti-Happy Meal ordinance in San Francisco simply by charging parents a dime for the toy (which the company then forwards to its Ronald McDonald House charity in San Francisco), though in Brazil, the government has slapped McDonald's with a $1.8-million fine for giving away toys as part of its McLanche Feliz.

But aside from that chink in its armor, McDonald's seems to be doing nearly everything else right. Overall, the chain has the value proposition and strong brand image to perform well despite weak consumer confidence in Europe and beyond, according to a new evaluation of the company by the Fitch ratings service.Continue reading...

trademark wars

It's a Shame About Ray's: New York Pizza Spat Leads to Occupy Ray's

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2011 10:01 AM

There are so many different Ray’s Pizzas in New York, it can get a little confusing. You got your Ray’s, your Original Ray’s, your Famous Ray’s, your Famous Original Ray’s, and seemingly on and on. They are so ubiquitous that there is actually a pizza place in Brooklyn that is called Not Ray’s Pizza.

It’s been so ridiculous for so many years that the problem actually got a mention on a Seinfeld episode in which a lost Kramer calls Jerry:

Kramer: I’m looking at Ray’s Pizza. You know where that is?

Jerry: Is it Famous Ray’s?

Kramer: No, it’s Original Ray’s.

When you have confusion like that between businesses, lawsuits are bound to follow. And indeed they have.Continue reading...

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