chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on July 5, 2012 04:04 PM
McDonald's, facing aggressive competition by quick-serve competitors including Burger King and Wendy's, needs more to crow about. It's been a tough year for the burger giant and a tough year for many of its customers. So what's the answer? Hint: It has wings, a beak, and a penchant for hot sauce.
Its new U.S. promotion — for Spicy McChicken Bites — is part of a global trend for the hamburger chain. Chicken may be flying to the rescue of a chain that withstood the headwinds of the Great Recession in pretty good shape but whose leadership senses more storm clouds building in the global economy. For McDonald's US CEO Don Thompson, offering more menu items based on chicken, compared with beef, poses "a tremendous opportunity," he said at a recent conference for analysts.
"Some great examples include our large wrap in Europe and snack items like Chicken McBites," which McDonald's introduced in the U.S. on a "limited-time basis" last year and which proved very popular, Thompson said. "Our customers have given us permission to stretch our brand, so we are entering new categories with new products," he said at the conference, according to Bloomberg.
American consumers' distress over persistently high unemployment rates, another stagnation phase in the overall economy, and household budgets that are stilll stretched thin would seem to help set the stage for them to embrace more chicken items. McDonald's sees similar consumer dynamics in a struggling Europe and a slowdown in once high-flying growth in China and elsewhere in Asia.
Cheaper than its beef-based burger menu items, chicken is perceived to be healthier than its bovine rival by customers at McDonald's, which continues to alternately fight and accommodate a sea of critics on nutritional issues. A Big Mac has 550 calories, while a six-piece order of Chicken McNuggets has just 280 calories.
Below, some of the U.S. spots promoting the Spicy Chicken McBites launch: