McDonald’s Spent $50 Million on TV Advertising in April

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“McDonald’s easily led all companies in TV ad spend last month for the second time in 2019, spending $50 million to promote its new any size $1 soft drink limited time offer, and mix and match 2 for $5 deal to customers.

The Illinois-based chain last topped the list in February when it introduced bacon as a new topping on its signature burgers. McDonald’s was pressed by analysts last week on its first quarter earnings call about when it would also delve into the growing plant-based food trend, which rival Burger King has tapped into with Impossible Foods. CEO Steve Easterbrook said McDonald’s is currently weighing additional complexities of launching its own product, while also assessing the sustainability of the consumer trend.

“Our menu teams are clearly paying close attention to it,” said Easterbrook. “They are discussing this amongst each other and with some of the options that are out there. So maybe more to come, but nothing much to say about it in the moment.”

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Why Teriyaki Madness CEO is confident about 500-unit growth strategy

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“Claiming to double your restaurant unit count in one year may seem pretty gutsy, but Teriyaki Madness CEO Michael Haith isn’t afraid to say it aloud.

Founded in 2003, the Las Vegas-based concept now based in Denver started 2019, with about 40 units but will end it with more than 80. The growth plan doesn’t stop there, however, as the chain will hit 500 by 2026. And that’s a “minimum,” said Haith, who purchased the brand in 2016, from the founding brothers, who still own five locations.

“500 is not our goal as much as it is a conservative forecast for the next five to seven years,” he said in an interview with FastCasual. “It is the number we will be at as a benchmark towards our 10-year goal.”

Since taking over, Haith — who came to Teriyaki Madness from Maui Wowi and Doc Popcorn — and his team have implemented processes and systems to focus on growth. And that team includes several industry veterans:

  • VP of Marketing Jodi Boyce, who worked for Quiznos and Smashburger.
  • CFO John Miller, Chipotle’s former CFO.
  • VP of Operations Janice Branam, whose tenure includes Smashbuiger and Quiznos.
  • Joe Gordon, who worked for Noodles and Co., is VP of Supply Chain.
  • COO Erin Hicks, formerly of Maui Wow.
  • VP of Real Estate Peter Harding, who came from Einstein Bros.
  • VP of Real Estate Hank Janik of Schlotzsky’s. (…)”

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KFC Is Ready For Nationwide Delivery Launch

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“KFC, which plans to launch nationwide delivery later this year, contributed to strong sales growth at parent company Yum Brands Inc., which reported global same-store sales growth of 4% for the first quarter.

Yum CEO Greg Creed said KFC’s strong numbers were driven by strong results in international markets, including double-digit same-store gains in Japan and Indonesia.

“This global powerhouse saw widespread strength, coupled with standout performances in some of our larger markets,” Creed told investors during a Wednesday morning conference call.

In the U.S., Creed said KFC delivery is now available in 2,200 restaurants through Grubhub. He said most orders are coming at dinner, where larger family packs are popular. He called the KFC classic bucket an “incredible delivery device” as food shows up piping hot.”

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McDonald’s Redefines Health In Terms Of Sustainability

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“McDonald’s is moving toward a menu free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, but every product has a unique challenge, said Amy Wilcox, director of quality systems and supply chain management for McDonald’s USA. She and her colleague, Cynthia Goody, chief nutritionist for McDonald’s, explained how “clean” ingredients are a key part of the chain’s sustainability initiative during the “Sustainable Approach to the Menu” panel at Restaurant Leadership Conference.

But “we can’t use the clean label description, because everyone has a different definition,” said Wilcox. “We had to create our own definition for suppliers, operators and customers. And that involved a lot of outreach to make sure all our suppliers were on the same page.”

The chain, in fact, announced this past September that is was removing artificial preservatives from its “classic” burger lineup in the U.S. “We have a great group of suppliers,” said Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald’s U.S., at the time. And now, the chain announced that a third of its eggs are cage-free—and it expects to source 726 million cage-free eggs this year. Right now, chicken nuggets fit the sustainability criteria, as do American cheese and burgers. As far as McDonald’s burger goes, “the pickle presented a problem,” said Wilcox. “We couldn’t find one that fit our definition, so we went forward with what we had and put an asterisk next to it on the menu. Being truthful and transparent is important to us.”

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China’s Fastest Growing Hotpot Chain Just Minted Two Billionaires

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“China’s insatiable demand for spicy hotpot is placing the founders of a restaurant chain atop one of the world’s fastest-growing fortunes, allowing them to outpace many of the wealthiest families globally.

As of Monday, Zhang Yong, chairman of Haidilao International Holding Ltd., and his wife Shu Ping, had grown $6 billion richer in 2019, a 79 percent jump in just over three months.

That pace is the fastest in Asia and globally only topped by Australian mining baron Andrew Forrest, who has doubled his fortune this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.

Haidilao went public in September, and it’s been a lucrative time for China’s largest hotpot chain, popular for the spicy broths in which diners cook their meats and vegetables. The company is pushing to make its restaurants more efficient by creating automated kitchens. Perks like the free manicures it offers waiting customers have kept families coming in. And the brand is expanding overseas with new locations planned in New York and London.

Last year, revenue surged 60 percent to 17 billion yuan ($2.6 billion), and that’s helping to push the stock up more than 75 percent this year. At about $21 billion, the company’s market value is now higher than Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.”

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McDonalds Buys Dynamic Yield For $300 Million to Bring Big Data to Drive-Thru

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“In a testament to the value of personalization, McDonald’s announced plans to acquire an Israel-based startup that uses data to serve up personalized offers to customers. According to people familiar with the matter, McDonald’s will acquire Dynamic Yield for upwards of $300 million.

The acquisition will inject technology into multiple areas of the traditional fast food restaurant, starting with a core feature: the drive-thru. McDonald’s tested the technology in a Miami location, where, according to Wired, the company’s algorithms took real-life factors like weather and traffic into account, suggesting appropriate menu items.

Thanks to new technology, restaurants collect plenty of data. But the practical application of that data is big business, and McDonald’s is seizing that opportunity with the Dynamic Yield buy.

“Upon closing of the acquisition, McDonald’s will begin to roll this technology out in the drive thru at restaurants in the United States in 2019 and then expand the use to other top international markets,” the company said in a statement on the news. “McDonald’s will also begin work to integrate the technology into all of its digital customer experience touchpoints, such as self-order kiosks and McDonald’s global mobile app.”

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McDonald’s Spent $48 Million to Push Bacon in February

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“McDonald’s led all companies in advertising dollars spent at $48 million, less than what the chain allocated in January. Taco Bell (second on the list) cut its TV advertising funding by nearly half, likely due to Grubhub picking up most of the tab for its joint commercial with the chain touting limited time free delivery. Grubhub reportedly spent just under $7 million in ad dollars in February.

The biggest surprise of the month was Arby’s, which catapulted up 26 spots from January to crack the top 10 in advertising dollars spent. The quick service restaurant has completed a large sales turnaround in recent years by relying more on promotions and new deli meats to entice customers, according to Forbes. The chain’s success also led its parent company to acquire both Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic in 2018.

Overall, quick service restaurants and pizza chains dominated TV advertising again in February, with Yum Brands’ subsidiaries — Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC — in the top 10 for the fourth consecutive month.  Olive Garden and Applebee’s, the casual restaurants that cracked the top 10 in January, ended February at 11 and 14, respectively, after shelling out more than $10 million each.”

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