chew on this

From Waiters to iPads, McDonald’s UK is Breaking Its Own Mold

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 16, 2012 03:06 PM

As the fast-casual sector continues to rise and wallet-watching consumers keep seeking out culinary alternatives that don’t break the bank, the fast-food nation is trying to find ways to keep drawing in customers.

McDonald’s, in the midst of a $3 billion global image upgrade, is trying to impress Chinese consumers with specialized promotions. And now it's completely turning the fast-food experience on its head in the UK, where it's in the spotlight as the official restaurant sponsor of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Its British franchisees have been offering limited "Great Tastes of America" menu items evoking regional favorites, from Texas BBQ and Chicago to this week's Arizona Nacho Grande.

Now the word from the Daily Mail's ThisIsMoney website is that Mickey D’s is testing out waiter service at a handful of its 1,200 UK outlets. “If you have lots of bags, kids or are a large group, table service can be easier and less stressful,” commented McDonald's top UK exec Jill McDonald.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Watch It, Wendy's: Burger King Wants Its Crown Back

Posted by Dale Buss on May 16, 2012 11:37 AM

Earlier this year, Wendy's dethroned Burger King to become America's second-largest burger chain, based on the chains' 2011 U.S. sales figures, for the first time. But the pinnacle (well, sub-pinnacle, as both are way beneath McDonald's) must be slippery, because Wendy's foothold at the top already appears to be weakening.

For Wendy's, the first quarter was a big disappointment and produced only a 2-percent revenue increase compared with a year ago, to $593 million, forcing the chain to lower its 2012 outlook. But for the ever-hungry Burger King, first-quarter sales rose by more than 3 percent, to $570 million.

Both burger icons tried some tweaks that were new and different during the period. Burger King's innovations seem to be working out better for now.Continue reading...


Did 'American French Fry Brother' Soften McDonald's China Price Increases?

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 16, 2012 10:03 AM

McDonald's is basking in the glow in the halo effect glow of some tremendously good PR in China. A young American working in Nanjing recently purchased some french fries for a homeless elderly woman — and proceeded to sit and share them with her. Faster than you could say "I'd like to buy the world some friends," the incident became the talk of the Chinese social web.

While the brand itself was not a proactive participant in the act of charity, thousands of mentions of "American French Fry Brother" came along with a mention of McDonald's. It was a bit of good fortune for the chain in China just before the new China Daily headline: "McDonald's raises prices again."Continue reading...

mobile marketing

Domino’s CEO Whets Customers' Appetite for Apps

Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 04:01 PM

Domino’s has gotten a lot of attention lately for its groundbreaking TV commercials, but now the brand’s CEO wants to become known for something else as well: Mobile innovation.

The big pizza chain posted lower sales and profits during the first quarter, in large part due to some extraneous factors. But CEO Patrick Doyle wants the chain to do a much better job helping its franchisees do well financially.

He wants to set the stage for long-term growth in the U.S. for Domino’s by helping shore up the entrepreneurs who own Domino’s outlets — and helping customers order more easily, via mobile and social apps.Continue reading...

health matters

McDonald's UK Faces Heat Over Five-a-Day Fizzy Drink for Kids

Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 11:44 AM

While there's plenty of attention given to getting children not to eat junk food, as a countermeasure to childhood obesity many brands are putting substantial efforts into persuading kids to eat healthier. This week two companies — one a veteran of "better-for-you" foods, the other not heralded for nutritious fare — have stepped forward to promote childhood consumption of fruit and vegetables.

McDonald's is the unlikelier player here. McDonald's UK is getting ready to launch a fizzy drink for children as an option with its Happy Meal packs on May 16th that claims to provide one of the recommended five-a-day portions of fruits and vegetables.Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Increases Limited (Promotional) Attention Span

Posted by Dale Buss on May 4, 2012 04:14 PM

McDonald's has come a long way in its menu variety from variations on burgers, its iconic fries, the Fillet-O-Fish and Coke. And now the chain has incorporated its accelerated menu diversification as a main driver of sales and profits around the world.

In particular, McDonald's is relying on more "limited-time" offerings. The latest examples are a seasonal banana nut oatmeal, which will be available nationwide in the middle of May, and Cherry Berry Chiller, an iced drink that already is available everywhere. McDonald's began focusing on limited-time offers on a national scale last year after research showed that variety was a top priority for consumers, Wendy Cook, vice president of U.S. marketing, told USA Today.Continue reading...

diversity watch

McDonald’s Seeks More Diversity In Its Workforce and Menu

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 3, 2012 11:01 AM

McDonald’s is doing all right in building up a diverse employee base, as incoming CEO Don Thompson commented in January 2011 (above). But this week he told the Chicago Urban League that the company has a lot more it could be doing to keep the company’s diversity numbers going up.

"Diversity fuels innovation, and innovation fuels success," Thompson said, according to the Chicago Tribune. He also noted that the company’s work on diversity as well as inclusion "was the reason we were the No. 1 company on the Dow last year."Continue reading...

chew on this

Catching Up With McDonald's Cross-America Listening Tour

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 2, 2012 07:54 PM

As part of McDonald's cross-USA "listening tour" to discuss nutrition, health, sustainability and its menu and marketing (especially to kids), the fast-food brand recently sent Julia Braun, Director of Nutrition, and Jessica Droste-Yagan, Director of Sustainable Supply, to meet with Duke University students and professors to discuss nutrition and sustainable food practices. Listen in above, and check out earlier discussions on the tour that were held in March and August.

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