Best Global Green Brands 2014

chew on this

Applebee's, Wendy's Freshen Menus, Stores

Posted by Dale Buss on July 4, 2012 02:02 PM

For Applebee's, the key to accelerating growth may be "fresh" and seasonal entrees. For Wendy's, the path to continuing to compete with Burger King for the No. 2 spot in U.S. fast-food sales may be strewn with bread and buns. Both chains have selected mid-year for significant new pushes behind their brands, their positioning and their products.

Applebee's just launched a new ad campaign, "See You Tomorrow," the first effort by new agency CP+B. It highlights what the chain calls its "culinary credibility" by sharing where its fresh ingredients come from. Ads show Applebee's chefs standing in fields of vegetables and fruits that are part of a new "Fresh Flavors of Summer" menu that includes entrees such as lemon shripm fettucine and garlic rosemary chicken pasta.Continue reading...

brand mascots

Chuck E. Cheese Relaunches From Goofy Cartoon Mascot Into Hip Rocker

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 4, 2012 10:54 AM

Chuck E. Cheese, the namesake mascot (mousecot?) of the pizza restaurant/kids arcade chain that was founded by the founder of Atari, is getting a makeover.

Following a teaser campaign on Facebook, the cartoon-like kid-appealing critter is getting hipper and adding some rock star 'tude (which keeping the purple and green t-shirt) via a national ad campaign in the U.S. that will break on July 5th. The new voice of Chuck also brings rock star cred to the character: Jaret Reddick, the lead singer of Bowling for Soup.

According to comments by CEC Entertainment CMO Scott McDaniel to Screen, the goal of the mascot refresh is to 

"contemporize Chuck E. Cheese in a very respectful and engaging fashion. Chuck E. is the hero at the heart of our restaurants. For the first time in years, we’re changing the way we communicate with our key patrons – kids.” The “Chuck E. Rocks” campaign comprises television, digital and in-store components. Four TV spots, “Belonging,” “Fun,” “Power” and “Birthdays,” each named for something a child experiences at Chuck E. Cheese’s, showcase kids doing what they do best at Chuck E. Cheese’s – having fun."Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Pay-What-You-Can Concept Enhances Panera Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 22, 2012 11:04 AM

The idea of running a pay-what-you-can organization is generally laughed at as a business model, but Panera is proving skeptics wrong. So far, the St. Louis-based company has three such eateries and they are turning a profit, according to the Chicago Tribune.

This week Panera opened its fourth pay-what-you-can Panera Cares location, in Chicago. Founder and co-CEO Ron Shaich tells the Trib that the neighborhood that it's the perfect community for such a business because it has “million-dollar townhomes and people on the street."

"When you walk in, it's the full Panera experience," Shaich, who hopes to open a new Panera Cares cafe each quarter, told the Trib. "When you go into a soup kitchen, the energy is so negative and the food is institutional and the experience is institutional."Continue reading...

chew on this

I'm Not Lovin' It: McDonald's Can't Get No Customer Satisfaction (Again)

Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 20, 2012 05:05 PM

The 2012 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is out and it demonstrates the kind of consistency that a fast food behemoth like McDonald's can't be too happy about. 

The ACSI's new ranking puts the burger-meister dead last in the "Limited-Service Restaurants" category, with a satisfaction rating of 73 percent. That puts McDonald's just below rival Burger King (75 percent), but considerably below Wendy's (78 percent). Pizza delivery company Papa John's was rated #1 in the limited service category with a satisfaction rating of 83 percent, an increase of 5.1 percent from the previous year. Interestingly, the company in this category with the largest drop in customer satisfaction from last year was Starbucks. Often touted for its customer service, the coffee house fell from 80 percent in 2011 to 76 percent in 2012. 

Unfortunately, the lowly ranking should come as no big surprise for McDonald's management; the company has ranked last in the ACSI since 1995. In fact, its current rating of 73 percent is a percent higher than last year, and 73 percent is the highest rating ever achieved by McDonald's on the ACSI.Continue reading...

china

Ni Hao, Hamburger King: Why Burger King is Playing Catch-Up in China

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 20, 2012 10:51 AM

Many more Chinese consumers are about to be able to have it their way, as Burger King has announced an "accelerated" expansion in China, planning 1,000 new locations via a new joint venture in the next five to seven years.

Some are wondering if The King might not be offering too little, too late. The question should be, what way, exactly, do the Chinese want it?Continue reading...

repositioning

Cracker Barrel: Does Adding EV Charging to the Menu Enhance the Brand?

Posted by Dale Buss on June 19, 2012 01:02 PM

Cracker Barrel isn't the first roadside brand you think of when you think about cutting-edge technology. After all, the most prominent feature outside these restaurants that dot America's heartland are the rocking chairs that are for sale on the "front porch" of the Cracker Barrel entrance area before customers mosey in for chicken 'n' dumplings or other downhome hearty fare.

But that hasn't kept the Lebanon, Tenn.-based chain from trying to leapfrog not only the existing perception of its brand but automotive technology to attempt to round out its positioning. So Cracker Barrel is extending its 2010 commitment to providing electric-vehicle charging stations in the parking lots outside some of its restaurants.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Coming to Vegas: Nobu Expands Brand With First Hotel

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 13, 2012 11:55 AM

For decades, new Las Vegas hotel/casinos have been incredibly over-the-top and, let's face it, garish: a pyramid, a pirate-themed one, a mini re-creation of New York City, King Arthur’s castle, the list goes on. But now a casino is heading in the opposite direction by leveraging the Nobu brand to attract a new clientele.

Nobu Hospitality partners including Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, along with designer David Rockwell and principals from Caesars Palace, held a press conference this week at the original Nobu in New York City to reveal the concept for the world's first Nobu Hotel, set to open in Las Vegas late 2012.

The design for the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace looks to bring the zen palate of Nobu restaurants to life — an oasis for well-heeled high-rollers to calm their nerves and enjoy the good life after making (or losing) more cash at the city’s many gambling tables.Continue reading...

chew on this

Are Food Trucks America's Tastiest Export?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 6, 2012 01:11 PM

Food trucks have been fanning out across America, as the graphic above from the National Restaurant Association shows. But they're also starting to span the globe, bringing gustatory delight to Paris and London as artisanal food trucks, such as the Cantine California food truck in Paris, dispense tacos stuffed with organic meat (and brand USA) overseas.Continue reading...

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