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    2010 in Review

  • It’s been a heck of a year, from Burger King’s buyout to BP’s oil spill. We deliver the stories that rocked our industry.

    69. McDonald’s $1,000 Success

    The Foursquare social media tool, in which users “check in” at various locations, spread quickly among quick serves in 2010. But no chain had quite as much national Foursquare success as McDonald’s. The Golden Arches participated in the nationwide Foursquare Day on April 16, offering the chance for Foursquare users who checked in at a McDonald’s to win $5 or $10 gift cards. The offering led to a 33 percent increase in check-ins on the day of the event over the previous day and a 40 percent increase in check-ins the week of the event over the previous week.

    The cost of Foursquare Day for McDonald’s? A mere $1,000. —SO

    70. The Double Down Debut

    The KFC sandwich that by now has earned Internet fame and consumer activist contempt was launched in April and originally thought to be a hoax. To consumers’ surprise, the menu innovation was real and part of parent company Yum! Brands’ effort to introduce more portable options at the chicken brand. Made of two fried (or grilled) chicken fillets sandwiching slices of Monterrey Jack and pepper jack cheeses and two slices of bacon, the Original Recipe Double Down clocks in at 540 calories and 1,380 mg of sodium. Despite the item’s unusual appearance, consumers flocked to try it and even sparked a second Internet rumor—that KFC was creating a sandwich made of only fried chicken skin. That one ended up being a hoax—at least for now. —BC

    71. BRIC Countries Debut at Dine America

    Goldman Sachs has been watching Brazil, Russia, India, and China (arguably the world’s strongest emerging markets) for years, but quick-serve executives were introduced to their incredible buying capacity at Dine America just this year. One piece of advice for companies interested in international expansion: “It’s not like America,” says Bob Kaufman, vice president of business development for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. “If you expect everything to be the same and everyone to follow your standards exactly, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed when you go into these markets.” —BC, SO

    72. Taco John’s My Town Mania

    My Town Mania not only gets customers craving Taco John’s West-Mex food, it also gets them revved to win challenges that promise worthy rewards. Accessible from its website and on Facebook, My Town Mania rewards customers for posting online photos and videos of themselves, family, and friends eating Taco John’s food and interacting with the brand. Each mission, which features local neighborhood landmarks and settings, has a value of free food, coupons, or points toward Taco John’s merchandise. —LZ

    73. 125,000 Free Songs from Bruegger’s

    In an effort to build its Facebook fan base, Bruegger’s decided to do a sweepstake for all of its fans. But instead of doing the traditional food giveaway, Bruegger’s partnered with various music labels to give away free tunes to new and existing fans through its “Music Showcase.” The result was 50,000 Facebook page hits and 125,000 downloaded songs. —SO

    Reporting by Blair Chancey, Sam Oches, Daniel P. Smith, Robin Van Tan, Barney Wolf & Lori Zanteson