Tag Archives: QSR

Now can we retire the “McDonald’s is Dying” stories forever?

I’m Lovin’ It! I’ve spent the last year calling BS on the argument that McDonalds is dying off. Every few years this story comes along when sales or the stock price dips. Every time it’s been market hysteria, click baiting and wishful thinking. Today we see with a few tweaks sales are up and share price is soaring to all time highs.
Keep in mind McDonald’s has the resources and experience to create the best systems and recruit the top minds in the food service business. They are not going away anytime ever.

While I am at it, those who attack the nutritional content of McDonald’s food should compare their published nutritional data with an analysis of the hipster fast feeders such as Shake Shack, In N Out, Chipotle etc. I believe a Big Mac has a lot less fat and calories than the most popular items on many menus that get a pass on health criticism. On the run, I’m good with an Egg McMuffin (no cheese) or a Quarter Pounder.  I don’t feel like taking a nap afterward like I would with Five Guys.

Check out the specifics on McDonald’s latest results here.  And even the enemies of fast food admit it here.

Eat a balanced diet and McDonald’s won’t hurt you now and then. Poutine will kill ya a lot faster!

Cheers – Tim

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All day breakfast has been one of the ingredients in McDonald’s tasty sales uptick.

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SURPRISE! Raising Wages = Higher Prices.

Chipotle just raised its prices in San Francisco 14%, exactly the same % as the raise in wages with the new minimum wage in the city. A popular chain like Chipotle has the option to do this, while most Mom and Pop restaurants and less trendy chains typically cannot raise prices.   They (we) just have to take a 14% hit.

There is no willingness of consumers to pay a little more so their fellow citizens who work in food service can make a living wage. Instead, “the dollar store mentality” rules with most customers. The lowest prices for the fattest burritos and self-throat-cutting “deals” drive sales. Thus, small businesses seem likely to lose out and possibly go out of business under the new inflationary scenario where operating costs rise but prices mostly cannot.

One lesson to be learned from Chipotle is great branding and marketing can help a business weather the storm.  Every business needs to give customers a compelling reason to look beyond the lowest prices.   Great marketing and branding can attract a high number of less price sensitive customers.  Volume plus profit margins equals survival in a time of rising costs!  This is something we are happy to say we’ve been able to help with for more than 40 hospitality locations.  Shoot us a note at A-List Marketing for a free consultation on how to beat rising costs and cheap customers.  It’s the only way to cover the ever rising costs in our businesses!

I liked this “Take Part” article about the Chipotle price hikes, as the writer seems shocked at basic economics.

Have a great day and enjoy every burrito! — TTBG

PS – I just want to add since I saw this – if you don’t tip because the minimum wage went up, you are a cheap ass.  You are not doing it on principle, you are a cheap ass.

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Taco Bell Planning to Sell Alcohol – Here’s the Drink Menu!

~ Now that Taco Bell is applying for a liquor license for its new location in Chicago’s Wicker Park, here are my Top 5 suggestions for the new TACO BELL DRINK MENU

~ Tacosmopolitan

~ Nacho Father’s Bourbon

~ MargaGordita

~ Beerito

~ QuesaTequila

~ Read about the new plans for the Alcoholic Taco Bell here thanks to Eater Chicago.

Cheers, and burp!

Tim

 

In N Out, not just great burgers, but a great place to work!

Proud to see a restaurant chain ranked “Best Place to Work,” top restaurant and #8 out of every company in the US by a site specializing in reviews by actual employees, Glassdoor.com.
Thanks to @adamlapetina and @Thrillist for the reporting and cheers to @innoutburger for the excellent burgers and working conditions!

Jimmy John’s Non-Compete Employee Agreements – Fair or Unfair?

A variety of recent articles report Jimmy John’s Subs requires all employees, even line workers and drivers, to sign an agreement not to work for any competing sandwich shop for 2 years after working for Jimmy John’s.  I have been getting some questions on email and social media looking for my take on this as a F&B business person.

The reality is that in most states a non-compete for workers other than management or technical specialists is not enforceable.  There’s a long history of rulings that non-competes can’t be used to prevent someone from making a living with skills they learned working at a company after they quit or are terminated.  I can’t imagine that Jimmy Johns corporate legal and HR staff would not know this.  So the most likely explanation for the existence of the non-compete clause is simply intimidation, to scare employees from leaving for another sandwich shop.  Low level employees don’t have the money to even consider any legal defense, so just the threat of even an illegitimate non-compete clause will almost always be enough to intimidate the worker.

Whether the existence of this clause is an unfair and objectionable move on the part of Jimmy John’s depends on if you think it’s OK to use employee agreements to scare workers with unenforceable clauses, relying on the worker’s lack of resources to force compliance to a legally and civilly illegitimate demand.

While I am a big admirer of the Jimmy John’s rags to riches success story, I don’t agree with this tactic, and professionally I believe a business would lose more than it would gain in genuine staff loyalty and performance with these types of demands.  Additionally it’s “bad PR” that could hurt a chain’s image with customers when it’s revealed.

Read some more information on this issue, the legal, civil, employment law and public perception aspects here, here and here.

 

JimmyJohnsFounder
Jimmy John’s Founder John Liautaud built his huge sub sandwich chain starting with a single shop in a garage in Charleston Illinois.

 

Today: Qdoba dumps a truckload of coins for customers to scoop up

Scoop up your free nickels and dimes today, as Qdoba adds  free ‘extras’ to the menu

To promote its new stand against “nickel-and-diming” customers, Qdoba on Friday will send a dump truck filled with nickels and dimes to an empty lot not far from its Denver headquarters. It will dump the coins in the lot, and let consumers scoop them up by the cupful for keeps.

The change dump is a stunt to publicize a move sure to be watched carefully in the restaurant business:  Qdoba will no longer charge extra for guacamole, which previously cost customers $1.19 to $1.50 per serving, queso (a hot three-cheese dip) that used to cost $1; fajita vegetables that went for 69 cents; and chile BBQ sauce that also cost 69 cents.

These sound like small numbers but can make the difference between profit and loss for quick service restaurants on some orders.  It truly is a “nickel and dime business!”

“We heard complaints from guests and from team members,” says Tim Casey, brand president of Qdoba Mexican Grill. “They view (the extra charges ) as nickel-and-diming them.”

There are few things restaurant customers hate more than paying for extras — particularly millennials.

Read about it here.  Thanks to USA Today.

coin dump