Service Management Group Inc. (SMG) has been selected by McDonald’s USA to provide a customer feedback program to approximately 14,000 U.S. restaurants. Customers will be able to offer real-time feedback on their restaurant experiences by accessing an easy-to-use website via any internet-enabled device.
Whether or not consumers are flocking to the better-for-you items they’re demanding from quick-serve restaurants is up for debate, but there’s really no argument about yogurt’s success. The dairy product’s growth is hard to ignore; according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, yogurt production doubled between 2002 and 2012 to meet demand.
GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition announced that McDonald’s USA will be the newest participant in its How2Recycle Label Program. A member of the SPC since 2005, McDonald’s is the first national restaurant chain to join How2Recycle, a program dedicated to clearly and consistently communicating recyclability to the public.
The McDonald’s All American High School Basketball Games unveiled the official rosters for the 37th Annual Boys Game and 13th Annual Girls Game during the McDonald’s All American Games Selection Show on ESPNU. The nation’s top annual high school basketball all-star event will again be played at Chicago’s United Center on April 2.
With less than one month until the start of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, McDonald’s is launching a new social media campaign to connect fans from around the world with Olympic athletes. Supporters can send personalized messages and good luck wishes to their favorite athletes and teams competing in Sochi by using the hashtag #CheersToSochi on Twitter or visiting www.cheerstosochi.com.
During any given year, a restaurant company that records a 50 percent increase in its stock price could expect to crow pretty loudly about the accomplishment. But even that type of gain wasn’t good enough to crack the top 10 among publicly held limited-service restaurant operators in 2013, as equities market soared.
“It’s been a very good year for the market and for many restaurant companies,” says R.J. Hottovy, a dining industry analyst at Chicago’s investment firm Morningstar. “There were some pockets of weakness, but most restaurant [stock] values have had good gains.”
Since the days when fliers, posters, and billboards ruled the marketing world, brands have searched high and low for the newest, smartest, and easiest ways to connect consumers with their products. And for several years, sports marketing has provided quick-service concepts the ability to reach a widespread audience while investing in something consumers are passionate about.
Recent technology enhancements by White Castle and McDonald’s show that even traditional quick-service burger chains are considering letting patrons customize their orders.
Last month, White Castle added two touch-screen ordering kiosks at a renovated restaurant in its hometown of Columbus, Ohio. It is the only restaurant in the family-owned, 406-unit chain to feature the kiosks, which are part of a pilot project. The large screens allow customers to order their burgers exactly as they like them in the privacy of the kiosk area, says White Castle vice president Jamie Richardson.
The last decade in quick service was a transformative one. Fast-casual restaurants moved from novel ideas in urban markets to competitive powerhouses with seemingly no ceiling. Health and nutrition became critical filters through which brands vetted their new menu items. And the Great Recession reset growth strategies, with limited-service players shifting their focus to more efficient, streamlined, and calculated expansion.
My year-end top brand stories recap was well received last year, and I decided to do it again. I’ll break from my usual Q&A format to recap this year’s most important brand developments in fast food.