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Fast Food

McDonald’s To Close Hundreds Of Restaurants Worldwide

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Looks like all the poor sales numbers are finally doing some damage to McDonald’s. NRN reports that due to a disappointing Q1, McDonald’s will be closing down 350 of its most underperforming restaurants.

Targeted for closures are 220 restaurants in the United States and 130 in Japan. Same-store sales have been falling around the world ranging from 0.6 percent to 8.3 percent. McDonald’s Corp., which has yielded a net income of $1.2 billion in the previous year, fell to $811.5 million. This is roughly a 26 percent drop.

McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, says that the company is still evolving and that it’s still trying hard to meet consumer needs. According to a statement by Easterbrook, McDonald’s Corp. is currently working on a plan to improve its performance. The CEO says plans on sharing details will be announced publicly May 4.

While the stores closing are only a small percentage of McDonald’s massive global span, it could very much be the beginning of a growing trend of closures. Unless Easterbrook hatches a great recovery plan.

 

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Hit-Or-Miss

Well-Known Chicago Chef Found Dead In The Brewery He Planned To Open

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Homaro Cantu, the creative mind behind the Chicago-based restaurant Moto was found dead, Tuesday. Cantu’s death appeared to be the result of a hanging, reports the Chicago Tribune. The authorities are currently investating the death as a suicide.

The body of the 38-year-old chef was discovered in a building on West Montrose Avenue. He was in the middle of renovating the space and turning into a brewery, reports say.

The chef was known for his elaborate menu presentations involving molecular gastronomy. This included tabletop-cooked fish in a box, carbonated fruit and even edible menus.

Cantu’s approach to his food stemmed from his family growing up in poverty. His innovative dishes were a combination of both food and science.

Earlier last month, Cantu was in the middle of a lawsuit between a former investor of Moto. The investor, Alexander Espalin, claimed that the chef had used Moto’s bank account for personal use. These allegedly included business trips, legal fees, meals and other forms of personal spending.

Cantu’s death is currently under police investigation. His autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Photo: Facebook

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Fast Food

Pizza Hut Crushes Online Sales Record by Super Bowl Halftime Despite Lack of Ads

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To say it was a good weekend for Pizza Hut would be an understatement. The international pizza chain hit a record high with their digital sales Sunday during the big game. According to a spokesperson for Pizza Hut, the company sold over $10 million in pizza online by halftime.

An impressive feat for a brand that had no advertisements during the game, nor any sponsorship of it.

The Yum Brands-owned company could easily have hit record lows, as this was the first Super Bowl featuring Pizza Hut’s rebooted menu and website. We’re assuming folks were responding well to the new array of ingredients and customizations the pizza chain had to offer.

After all, nothing says football like a curry-flavored crust.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Our Loud Eating Is Why Super Bowl TV Commercials Don’t Work Anymore

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If you’re a corporation paying big bucks for a Super Bowl ad, you may want to take a beat. In a recent report by NPR, consumers have a harder time absorbing Super Bowl ads thanks to a phenomenon referred to as oral interference.

Shankar Vedantam, who runs a byline for NPR, recently stated in an interview that the more folks eat while watching the Super Bowl, the louder they chew. This causes oral interference, making it harder for them to absorb the commercials they watch.

According to Vedantam, a researcher named Martin Geisenberg, Ph.D., analyzed the effectiveness of ads based around major sporting events. In doing so, he set out to determine if it was more effective to spend $4 million for a 30-second game day ad or the same amount for multiple ads throughout the year.

Analyzing 206 different brands shown over sporting events in the UK over four years (Olympics, World Cup), Geisenberg discovered that companies definitely have a handicap when it comes to advertising during a big sporting event. At least when it comes to immediate sales. Brand recognition, however, seems to still be effective.

Think about it. It would definitely be harder to fully immerse yourself in a commercial when you’re crunching on a mouthful of Cool Ranch corn nuts.

Looking back, we can actually remember the visuals of an advertisement, but not the actual product it’s trying to promote.

Guess it makes sense that some brands are releasing their ads a bit before game day.

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Fast Food

Here’s Why McDonald’s Had a Lousy 2014, Their Worst Year in a Decade

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We’ve all had a year that was rough for us. Whether it’s as a student, a blue collar employee, or a multi-billion dollar fast food corporation. 2014 was indeed McDonald’s year.

The fast food chain announced that it is laying off 63 corporate employees at its headquarters in Illinois. The layoffs are a part of what’s said to be a $100 million cost-cutting and restructure.

As of late, McDonald’s appears to be struggling to find their footing in today’s fast food game.

Last year, the chain announced many changes to their menu for the 2015 year. This included cutting menu items to make for a simpler customer and kitchen experience. However, they also decided to make their customizable burgers available nationally.

Wouldn’t those just cancel each other out?

According to a spokeswoman for the company, McDonald’s is internally reviewing their main and national corporate structures. We’re guessing this means they can do without the 63 corporate employees.

This is most likely in response to poor sales consistently through 2014. Finally, in November, the company reported its lowest sales numbers in a decade.

What’s interesting is that it seems McDonald’s is pooling their resources into digital technology and new restaurant platforms.

Wouldn’t it be better if they spent that money on fresher ingredients?

Fast food establishments like In-N-Out and Shake Shack have always maintained a menu made with simple, fresh ingredients. Heck, even Carl’s Jr. is throwing their hat into that ring. They haven’t gone tech crazy with their brand. Rather, they keep the same consistency through the decades. Their fresher ingredients are less expensive than McDonald’s now.

Fresher ingredients can wait, apparently.

McDonald’s Chicago office is reportedly expanding their digital staff from 20 to between 200 to 250 by the end of 2015. Wait, didn’t they just lay off 63 from corporate?

Granted, the salary of a regular staff member compared to a corporate staff member is noticeable different. Though the 200 or so extra hires should add up to a pretty hefty expense.

Take a minute and reflect, McDonald’s. You’re a mess.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Eye-Opening Study Shows Fast Foods Destroys Kids Mentally and Physically

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We know fast food makes kids fat. Apparently, it can also make them dumb.

A recent study showed that kids living on a heavy diet of fast food, three or more times a week, have been found to produce lower test scores than their non-fast-food-eating classmates.

The study was conducted by Dr. Kelly Purtell of Ohio State University.

Data was used from a national representative sample that included 8,500 school kids from the United States. Their fast food diet was measured at the age of 10.

The kids were asked how often they ate fast food in a week from chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut. The data ranged from those who had fast food one to three times in a week, four to six times and every day. An academic test showed that those who never ate fast food scored a total of 83 points, while those who ate it every day averaged 79.

Two possible explanations as to why a decline in academia could be caused by that Crunchwrap Supreme are offered.

The first says that the lower presence of iron in fast foods can be blamed for decelerating development of certain processes in the brain. The second is that diets high in fat and sugar can have a negative impact on learning.

Either way, kids, time to put down that McDouble and pick up a McBook.

h/t Daily Mail

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Hit-Or-Miss

Pizza Hut in America Is The Saltiest, Study Shows

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Sometimes, nothing says Friday like a nice cheesy pie to go with that Kristen Wiig movie you just Red Boxed. Even though, halfway through the movie, you feel like you just washed your taste buds with a big helping of salt.

A study shows that Pizza Hut pizzas in the United States contain more sodium than 11 other countries examined with the same products. These included Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Finland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Since most Pizza Hut locations around the world tend to have varying menus, the data was examined with select pies that were a staple on the 11 international menus. This included the Pepperoni Thin N’ Crispy, Veggie Lover’s Thin N’ Crispy and the Meat Lover’s.

Specifically, Pizza Hut’s Thin ‘N Crispy pepperoni pizza has the most salt of any of the chain’s offerings. At 1,080 milligrams per 3.5 ounces of pizza (large slice), the pie has more than enough salt to last a lifetime. Or at least a two-hour rom-com.

As a whole, US Pizza Huts boasted nearly 70 percent more salt than some of the other countries they were compared to. Another study compared the sodium levels of pizza to other fast food menu items. It’s said that a single large fast food pizza could equal to the same amount of salt as seven Big Macs.

Better get yourself a glass of water after you finish that pizza. Probably a blood pressure test, also.

h/t CSPI

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Hit-Or-Miss

Say Goodbye to These McDonald’s Menu Items in 2015

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Last week, we reported that McDonald’s would be axing eight items from their menu beginning early 2015. It looks like the fast food company has officially begun testing lighter menus, reports USA Today.

Noteworthy items on the chopping block are the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, the Premium Chicken Sandwich and the Snack Wraps. At least all the extra variations of them.

While the brand isn’t completely cutting the three options from their menu, they are drastically decreasing the options for the Quarter Pounder from four (Bacon Habanero Ranch, Bacon & Cheese, Deluxe) to one. The Premium Chicken Sandwich (Ranch, BLT, Club) and Snack Wraps (Premium, Mac Wraps, Regular) will also be reduced from a choice of three to one.

Current test locations include select McDonald’s in Delaware, Texas, California, Georgia and Tennessee.

The McDonald’s menu has been known to be overly complicated. This has caused profits to decline, especially in the month of November. It’s also become difficult for those working in the kitchen to keep up with so many different items, while maintaining expected service times.

McDonald’s is heavily monitoring these new lighter menus, as well as essential ingredients, to see what else needs to go.

Fans of the Quarter Pounder, Premium Chicken Sandwich and Snack Wrap variants may want to stock up on them quickly. They might be gone for good.

h/t USA Today