chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on April 24, 2012 10:33 AM
What does a brand do when most of its competitors are recasting or overhauling themselves in a highly competitive industry? If you're McDonald's, well, you keep doing what you've been doing. Because everyone else is — still — trying to catch you.
And as he takes over from Jim Skinner as skipper of a smooth-sailing ship in a high-profile year with the London 2012 Olympics looming, new CEO Don Thompson has pledged to do exactly that: double down on the fundamentals that have enabled McDonald's basically to skate above the Great Recession and global economic stagnation even since then, and keep finding ways to improve its brand, menu and customer experience.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on April 20, 2012 05:05 PM
Someday, the moves being made by Taco Bell brand stewards may be considered in business schools as a textbook case of how to turn things around. For now, they're at least bringing some smiles to executives of Yum! Brands — and to Taco Bell aficionados everywhere.
It seems that the introduction of the widely awaited Doritos Locos Taco, as well as a breakfast rollout on the West Coast, boosted the company's fortunes considerably during the first quarter, with Taco Bell same-store sales up a remarkable 6 percent during the period compared with a 2-percent drop in the fourth quarter.
The brand had been dragging cheese lately because of a certain boredom with its products by its teen-male cohort; a faux scandal over the content of its beef filling didn't help matters.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 19, 2012 05:37 PM
While fast-food chains are responding to nutritional criticism by enhancing their kids menus, American children appear less and less interested in what they're peddling. NPD Group calculated that visits to fast-food restaurants in which kids meals were purchased have declined every year since 2007 and fell by 5 percent last year from 2010.
It's not that parents don't want healthier fare to their children when they eat out. In the U.S., analysts are suggesting that the notion of kids' meals is becoming increasingly outdated as family eating patterns change. And for that reason, they say, even sales of McDonald's iconic Happy Meal might be only flat these days at best — and at a chain whose other product lines are growing robustly, that's not good performance.
One factor, for example, is tight budgets that continue to afflict many American households — especially fast-food consumers — at a time of high unemployment and continued economic uncertainty. Mothers have "probably switched to the value menu because it was cheaper than the kids meal" at many chains, Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant-industry analyst, told the Chicago Tribune.
It also appears that kids are becoming disenchanted with the licensed toys packaged in the meals, at a younger and younger age, dropping from age 12 to eight. Blame digital entertainment, cell phones, and other rivals for kids' attention. But all of that apparently doesn't hold true in the UK, where McDonald's is using the revamped Happy Meal as a marketing hook to win over parents (via their kids) around its London 2012 Olympics sponsorship.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on March 26, 2012 06:31 PM
McDonald's announced a cross-country "listening tour" last August, a local market effort to get feedback in local markets about its nutritional messaging.
Above, watch a recent session led by Dr. Cynthia Goody, McDonald's USA director of nutrition, who spoke with a group of parents, educators, PTA members and local community organization members in the greater Washington, D.C. area about the company's commitment to improved nutrition choices and children's well-being. And yes, Ronald was there.
The video was released as new research indicates that McDonald's customers were the "unhappiest" with their health last month out of the eight top U.S. fast food chains.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on March 26, 2012 01:28 PM
McDonald's is promoting its Dollar Menu deals in two commercials aimed at men — one in English, the other in Spanish. In the English-speaking spot, above, the guy gets the girl — in the Spanish-language spot below, he doesn't — but at least there's someone else to come home to:Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 22, 2012 02:22 PM
Polystyrene may get banned in California since it isn’t such an environmentally friendly material so coffee drinkers in the Golden State may find themselves carrying around their coffee in a different, but very familiar material soon enough: paper.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the fast-food chain is testing gout paper coffee cups and the change would be a nationwide one.
"(Consumers) care about where their food comes from, how people are treated, impacts on the earth," said Bob Langert, VP of sustainability at McDonald's USA, the Trib reports. "And they want to do business with people who care about the same things they care about."
The test of double-walled paper cups started in January, is lasting into the summer, and is taking place in a whopping 2,000 locations, the paper notes. The claim from the Golden Arches is that the California legislation didn’t lead to the test and that the company has been considering alternatives for “decades.”Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 9, 2012 02:13 PM
The fast casual market is growing rapidly and Panera Bread Co. doesn’t want to lose its grip. The company is increasing its media spend this year in order to keep pace with the growing marketing, according to the Wall Street Journal.
And it's not just growing its ad spending incrementally. The Journal reports that the increase is expected to be on the 26 percent range up to somewhere between $55 million and $60 million. However, Panera isn’t expecting its customer base to grow much this year, the paper notes.
"A lot of people think, if you do nothing, you will stay at zero. But the reality is, if you do nothing, you'll be at a negative," said founder and chairman Ron Shaich to WSJ.
Part of that spend will go towards producing more commercials in the vein of last year's "Make Today Better" campaign featuring Shaich and his employees.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on March 9, 2012 12:33 PM
Talk about vertical integration! Starbucks is taking the concept to new heights — er, depths — with its announcement of the imminent introduction of its own machine to make single cups of coffee.
The product, named Verismo, will be launched soon and sold at some Starbucks stores as well as specialty retail locations right away and then more heavily marketed and sold in the fall. The machine was developed with Krueger, a German-based company, and it "combines Starbucks signature Espresso Roast and drink recipes with precise Swiss engineering and a patent-pending high pressure extraction capability," Starbucks said in a press release.
The move is yet another bid by Starbucks to broaden and deepen its franchise over the last couple of years. The company also today, in Amsterdam, was scheduled to open its first "concept shop" laboratory meant to imbue its retail outlets with more "local flavor." Inspired by concept stores in its hometown of Seattle, the new Amsterdam store features in-house-baked cookies, for instance, and will test other ideas. It's housed in an old bank vault in the city's historic Rembrandt square.Continue reading...