McDonald's, Pokemon Pair Up

Pokemon Black·White-themed Happy Meals arrive in participating McDonald's stores across North America beginning June 17, 2011.

Pokémon fans visiting North American McDonald's locations June 17-July 7 can purchase a Happy Meal featuring one of eight McDonald's exclusive Pokémon figures, including Pikachu and brand-new Pokémon Reshiram, Zekrom, Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott, Zorua, and Zoroark, as well as one of twelve Pokémon Trading Card Game cards to celebrate what has already been a blockbuster year for the franchise.

In the Crosshairs: Kids’ Marketing

The demand for regulating quick serves' marketing to kids is growing.

Congress is encouraging the foodservice industry to self-regulate its marketing to kids, asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Agriculture—to create a list of kids’ marketing principles.

The new guidelines, which were announced April 28 and will be finalized in July, say that advertising should encourage healthier food choices, while minimizing the marketing of harmful food elements.

McDonald's Wants Its Healthy Options to Be 'Just for You'

McDonald’s is personalizing its healthy-menu efforts by launching a new “Made Just for You” platform. The company debuted the new platform yesterday at its First Taste Event in New York City.

McCafé beverages, chicken-based options, and salads have all been placed under the “Made Just for You” banner. McDonald’s also used the First Taste Event to announce the addition of two “Made Just for You” items: the Mango Pineapple Real Fruit Smoothie and the Asian Salad.

Leveraging Franchisee Diversity

Quick serves could be poised to step up their franchising efforts as soon as the credit market thaws and while available real estate remains cheap. Some experts say that minority-franchisee recruitment will be a particular area of focus, as franchisors pursue the value minorities bring to customer relations, new product innovation, and new markets.

Trust Roy, It's Worth a Grand

Once upon a time, there was a used car lot with a tan building, some pavement, and a lot of fast, gray cars, as well as one Volkswagen with no engine and a sign that read, “Great mileage.”

One warm day, lightning cracked in the West and pretty soon a storm hit. It hailed ball bearings for a full three minutes. When it stopped, those cars looked like they had been attacked by a herd of church ladies protesting medical marijuana.

Who’s Working in Your Kitchen?

Recent crackdowns signal to restaurant operators that the government is ready to end illegal hiring.

Recent government crackdowns on Chipotle and Pei Wei that forced both concepts to at least temporarily close locations have reminded restaurant operators that the government is taking illegal immigration very seriously.

The two incidents, in which illegal immigrants were found to be in each quick serve’s employ, came almost two years after the Obama administration decided to rein in the employers who hired illegal immigrants rather than go after the employees themselves, which had been the primary strategy up to that point.

Marketing to Kids 'Stix' on Minds of Operators

With family dollars and repeat business becoming more important for quick serves to capture, one company hopes its signature product will stick in the minds of operators as they increase their marketing efforts toward children.

Kem Clark, president and owner of Omnicor Inc., says her company’s product, Wikki Stix, is “the clean alternative to crayons.”

In Coffee, Who Has Most Loyalty? Not Starbucks

While there are many millions of coffee drinkers who rely completely on Starbucks to satisfy their coffee urges, more than half of Starbucks’ customers regularly visit Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonald’s for a hot beverage or breakfast over the course of a month.