November 2011 Articles

“Waiter, WAITER, I demand to be SERVED!” - November 30, 2011

Better luck next time.

A wild turkey flew through the windows of an unnamed restaurant in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania on Thanksgiving Day, per the Toronto Sun. No diners were injured as the restaurant was closed, according to police responding to the location’s alarms. The turkey, well, he’s probably in a pot-pie somewhere by now.

Mini-skirts - November 30, 2011

Just $.10 more for a crowning achievement.

Well, the nanny-city of San Francisco enacted the formally-titled Healthy Meal Legislation to ban the automatic inclusion of kids meal toys in kids meals, hoping to wean the young, helpless children off the festively-boxed nutritional wastelands. But, per NRN.com, the brain trusts at both McDonald’s and Burger King have deftly figured out how to skirt the stifling legislation. Each chain, who had made their kids meals more nutritious anyway, will simply charge the parent one extra dime if they would like their child to have the toy premium. And in BK’s case, they’ll even throw in their new kids meal packaging as a bonus, compared to a simple bag the kids would receive without the $.10 charge. Who says you can’t fight City Hall?

Kicking the Bucket - November 30, 2011

Don’t let this be the next challenger.

KFC has taken quite the whoopin’ in public opinion. In Fall of 2010 Popeye’s Fried Chicken trumpeted their taste test victory over KFC in a significant TV campaign, an effort that boosted Popeye’s sales by +5.4% while KFC’s sales declined -8%. A little earlier this year, Church’s Chicken announced that its Spicy Chicken beat Popeye’s in a National Spicy Chicken taste test. By osmosis, this implies that Church’s Chicken could be superior to KFC. Meanwhile, KFC’s same store annual sales comps have been negative as of 2007, and 2011 is shaping up no differently. So KFC may be in a quandary. Their higly-guarded Original Secret Recipe is almost their brand signature, yet it is possible after so many years that the recipe and or cooking process needs a little tweaking or updating to ensure the strongest competitive product. But the chain doesn’t need a “New Coke” on its hands, either. As it stands, the chain may continue to lose share to competitors and to value-priced supermarket deli-counter fried chicken, which has taken category share. Moreover, KFC’s grilled chicken line along with LTO’s like the Double-Down just haven’t worked to reverse the long-term sales decline. So KFC needs to do something, before even lower-rung competitors start taking their best shots. Perhaps KFC could consider developing a new line of fried, bone-in chicken, or revamping the Extra Crispy line without dropping its heritage-laden Origin Secret Recipe as a way to re-energize their sales.

Throne for a loss - November 30, 2011

By the end of 2010, Burger King and Wendy’s ranked #4 and #5 respectively in total domestic sales according to Technomics 2010 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, behind #1 McDonald’s, #2 Subway and #3 Starbucks. With Burger King declining 2.2% to $8.7 billion in 2010, Wendy’s, with $8.3 billion in 2010, was already nipping at BK’s heels. Now, analyst Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Markets expects Wendy’s to overtake BK in total annual sales ranking, with Wendy’s up about 1.1% for the year and BK down -3.9% YTD. If those sales trends remain through the calendar year’s end, Wendy’s will inch by BK with an estimated $8.4 billion in total domestic sales, as BK declines to an estimated $8.36 billion. Now both chains are feverishly rolling out new products in hope for sales improvement, and new unit contributions will also factor into total sales. But from our perspective, it will take an unprecedented level of sales improvement for BK to retain its current position.

Top 10 2010 U.S. Restaurant Chains based on sales, per Technomic

  1. McDonald’s
  2. Subway
  3. Starbucks
  4. Burger King
  5. Wendy’s
  6. Taco Bell
  7. Dunkin’ Donuts
  8. Pizza Hut
  9. KFC
  10. Sonic Drive-Ins

LTOMG - November 15, 2011

Well, once again we celebrate the annual November feast, giving thanks for the signature delicacy of the holiday timeframe — McDonald’s McRib.

Whatever you think is in there, it’s probably in there.

Don’t worry, downing one of these puppies is only slightly less healthy than partaking of a nice serving of free-range turkey with a side of Gramma Phyllis’s brussel sprouts. According to Chicago Magazine, the patty contains pork shoulder “and is also composed of restructured meat products such as tripe heart and stomach and blended with salt and water to extract salt-soluble proteins, which act as a “glue” that helps bind the reshaped meat together” — just over 70 ingredients in all. Meanwhile, the ingredient “paste” is shot into a McRib-shaped mold, much like something out of little Junior’s Play-Doh set, and cooked. So the Arches gives us this nutritional bonanza every November, in order to exceed the prior November’s McRib-based sales contributions. There are apparently enough ravenous McRib lovers to boost the sales where they need to be, based on the chain’s strong November sales.