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McDonald's $3B Global Reno: A Progress Report

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 7, 2012 10:04 AM

While it may not be getting as high-tech glam as the French prototype above, McDonald's is undergoing a billion-dollar makeover ($2.9 billion, to be exact) in a bid to boost sales.

McDonald's global same-store sales gains for nearly nine years have consistently gone up, including the 7.5 percent uptick during the fourth quarter of last year, but its executives would like to keep it going, thank you very much. Plus, it’s got some very aggressive fast-casual rivals, such as Panera and Chipotle, nipping at its market share.

That's why the executives setting the Golden Arches strategy announced a global overhaul of its stores last year, redesigning them to look more upscale and attract more business.Continue reading...

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Did Jamie Oliver Influence McDonald's Ammonium Hydroxide-Free Burgers?

Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2012 01:36 PM

British media and bloggers are claiming that British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has stared down McDonald's about its use of what he has called "pink slime" in its burgers sold in America.

Oliver, who has been taking on school boards, local officials and the British government over nutrition, has made a long-running campaign of stopping McDonald's USA from using ammonium hydroxide as an ingredient in a beef filler for hamburgers, calling it not fit for a dog, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail. 

Long a fixture of culinary entertainment, with his own magazine and media empire, Oliver made a big deal of his opposition to the stuff before ABC canceled his show, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, last spring following its second season, after he also took a swing at McDonald's Chicken McNuggets in addition to its hamburger patty ingredients (watch below).

For its part, McDonald's U.S. denied that Oliver had forced its hand about pulling ammonium hydroxide. "At McDonald's, food safety has been and will continue to be a top priority," the company told brandchannel in a prepared statement, quoting Todd Bacon, the company's aptly-named senior director of quality systems for supply-chain management.Continue reading...


Super Bowl Watch: Papa John's Borrows From 2011 Playbook

Posted by Michael Waltzer on January 24, 2012 06:01 PM

Papa John's sold more than one million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday last year, without advertising during the game despite being the NFL's official pizza sponsor.

Its promotional stunt — offering free pizzas to its rewards program members if the 2011 Super Bowl showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers went into overtime — hinged on the safe bet that that Super Bowl games have never gone into overtime. Loyalty members were also randomly selected every 45 seconds for a $45 gift card.

This year's Super Bowl promotion for the pizza chain takes from that playbook while trying to sweeten the incentive.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Taco Bell Takes On Chipotle with New Menu

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 24, 2012 10:01 AM

Taco Bell has been marketing itself for a long time as an inexpensive place to eat rather than as a quality eating experience and now it turns out that those who went the other direction, such as Chipotle, are actually winning the consumer dollars. Motley Fool reports that Taco Bell has closed down 1,000 of its locations since 2000. Even with that, the restaurant makes up 60% of restaurant behemoth Yum! Brands’ profits in the United States.

Yum!’s attentions are focused on expanding Pizza Hut and KFC in China, but concern for Taco Bell has some trying to figure out how it can rebrand. One of the main reasons it needs to refresh its image is because the restaurant is still reeling from a lawsuit that alleged that the restaurant used meat that was only 35% beef, even though the accusations were later withdrawn, as Taco Bell president Greg Creed announced on YouTube.

While Taco Bell — with hopes high for a Super Bowl bump — has been suffering, rivals like Chipotle are booming.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Tim Hortons Goes Big to Fend Off Starbucks Venti

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 18, 2012 12:11 PM

"What’s an ounce? When did Tim go American in Canada? FYI its milliliters."

That's the first comment on Toronto Life's web piece noting that Canada's homebrewed Tim Hortons chain of coffee shops will introduce a 24-ounce extra large coffee on Monday, January 23rd. The new mega-size bests the Starbucks Venti by a full 4 ounces. In addition, Tim Hortons is sliding all of its size names to accommodate its new extra large. The gloves are off. Continue reading...

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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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