Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fast food industry generosity

It's been a good month for generosity in the fast food industry...

Taco Bell operators donate 10% of day’s sales to charity:
One hundred twenty-eight Taco Bell restaurants in the Northern California region participated in a one-day fundraiser Sept. 19 to benefit teen programs at local Boys & Girls Clubs. The "Taco Bell for Teens" Day awarded 10 percent of the day's proceeds, as well as a matching donation from the Taco Bell Foundation, to fund late-night recreation programs at the 12 local Boys & Girls Clubs.
Jack in the Box raises $275,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters:
The Jack in the Box Foundation held its annual charity golf tournament benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters and raised $275,000 for the non-profit organization, its primary charitable partner since 1998.
Carl's Jr. raises $300,000 for breast cancer:
Carl's Jr. announced last week that customers supporting an in-store restaurant fundraising program in May 2006 donated more than $300,00 for breast cancer awareness and support. During the month-long "Pink Star" charity promotion in May of this year, Carl's Jr. restaurant guests at nearly 1,000 locations across the western U.S. were encouraged to donate $1 to breast cancer when placing their order at the register. As a thank-you for the donation, these guests received a personalized pink Happy Star(TM) to put on display in the lobby and a coupon redeemable for a free beverage on a future visit. "We at Carl's Jr. are proud of our commitment to community involvement, and are pleased to see that commitment benefit others through this year's Pink Star breast cancer donation program," said president and chief executive officer Andrew F. Puzder.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Parachuting cows from Chick-fil-a

Chick-fil-a's newest TV ad featuring the "Eat Mor Chickin" cows has them parachuting into an NFL game and attacking the hamburger vendor. Funny stuff. Watch it here:


NY may ban trans fat

New York appears to be joining Chicago with a desire to ban trans fat from the city's restaurants.

The ban would prohibit restaurants from using partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (or any products than contain it), the source of artificial trans fat.

New York Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden acknowledged that the ban would be a challenge for restaurants, but said, "it is a dangerous and unnecessary ingredient," Frieden said. "No one will miss it when it's gone."

The ban will pose a serious problem for some NY fast food restaurants that use trans fats such as McDonald's, KFC and Dunkin' Donuts. Whether this should be a law or not, it is about time the fast food chains eliminate trans fat of their own accord, as Wendy's has done.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

A&W offers corn dog nuggets

Yes, you read that headline right: "Corn dog nuggets!" Seriously, why hadn't anyone thought of that until now! Oh right, because it's gross!

A&W Restaurants (of A&W Root Beer fame and a subsidiary of the ever-growing fast food empire: Yum! Brands), has added corn dog nuggets to their 'Fun Foods' menu.
"A&W takes mini hot dogs, coats them in a sweet cornmeal batter and fries them golden brown."
As A&W also says on their website, "They're sure to have you reliving those great childhood memories of fairs, carnivals and amusement parks." Maybe so, but they're also sure to conjure up visions of the batter-fried contents of a hot dog.

The 10-piece corn dog nugget combo includes french fries and a drink for $3.99. Or, for a quick bite of dog on the run, you can have the corn dog nugget snack; five nuggets for just 99 cents.

Super-small fast food creation

Forget super-sized fast food, how about some super-tiny fast food!

A member of and her husband created a super-small burger, fries and a coke... and then ate them. As she wrote with her creation: "Lots of people forget that cooking is a craft, nay an ART"

Check out her photos of the design, creation and cooking process for creating this tiny meal. It's pretty amazing.

via Neatorama.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hardee's new, huge breakfast buritto

Hardee's has re-introduced their 780 calorie Loaded Breakfast Burrito. It has 51 grams of fat. If that doesn't fill you up until lunch, nothing will!

And for Hardee's size is all that matters!

Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee’s, says the burrito's popularity "stems from its sheer size, since most fast-food breakfast burritos are small, skinny things that don’t represent much of a meal. The Loaded Breakfast Burrito is a delicious, satisfyingly big burrito that truly is ‘loaded’ with eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, cheese, has rounds and salsa.”

The Loaded Breakfast Burrito sells for $2.49.

This new burrito is different from Hardee's 550 calorie Steak 'N' Egg Burrito that was introduced earlier this year.

The Loaded Breakfast Burrito is loaded with 780 calories, 459 calories from fat, 51 g fat, 20 g saturated fat, 38g carbohydrates, 40 g protein, 495 mg cholesterol, and 1620 mg sodium.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

McSexy: McDonald's sexy TV ad

Actually I wrote about McDonald's sexy female Ronald-remake over a year ago, but I didn't see the actual video online until today.

So here it is, the sexiest McDonald's ad you probably (hopefully?) ever see, as televised in Japan with a gorgeous model dressed in Ronald McDonald's trademark yellow with red & white stripes:

(via Todd And)

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal just had an article about McD's sexy print ads in China, too.

McBreakfast all day?

Jim Skinner, Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's Corp., has announced the possibility of migrating the current breakfast menu into an all day item. The chain's breakfast menu has apparently been instrumental in its recent economic turnaround.

According to Skinner, items such as its McGriddle sandwiches and a revised blend of coffee have boosted sales, and the company is looking to expand upon that success. The CEO notes that some changes to the franchise would be necessary, however.

It would require the introduction of a new, more flexible operating platform, one which is being prepared for the company. "It's not compatible with our current operating system. But with this [new] system, that could be possible," said Skinner.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another fun fast food t-shirt

Another fun fast food t-shirt from my favorite t-shirt shop, Threadlesss. Fast Supper was the last one.

This one is called Dad? and pokes a little fun at the Colonel and KFC.

Big and little chicken in front of KFC's Colonel Sander's logo with the eye's blocked out (like in a TV interview with a suspect) and the big chicken says to the little chicken: "So he killed your dad?"

I just think it's kinda funny, but the freaks in the PETA cult... they'll LOVE it!!

You can see (and buy) the t-shirt here.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

McDonald's postpones food labelling in Canada

McDonald's announced last October that it planned to begin putting nutritional information on their food packaging in Canada. Yesterday they announced their plans would have to be delayed.

McDonald's excuse for the delay? They can't find a reliable source of trans fat free cooking oil.

They've said their afraid that they could run out of trans fat free oil and then their nutrition data wouldn't be accurate.

Most likely if McDonald's had begun eliminating trans fat when they said they would they would have found a supplier by now. But as we know, McDonald's made their trans fat promise over 5 years ago (in 2002) and have since increased the amount of trans fat they're reporting and have been successfully sued for negligence over their trans fat use.

Of course, the obvious solution would be to put the current, trans fat laden nutrition data on the packaging, but that might scare the informed consumer just a little too much!

(The labeling would likely have resembled the packaging unveiled at the Olympic games earlier this year; as shown.)


Spinach pulled at some fast food

You're not going to find very much spinach at fast food restaurants, but it is used.

With the current spinach/e. coli scare it's worth remembering that prepackaged spinach is used in fast food salads, for example, and should probably be avoided as part of the FDA spinach recall.

McDonald's has announced it has pulled all baby spinach from their menu items. California Pizza Kitchen normally uses spinach on one of it's pizzas; they're still serving the pizza, but are not using spinach.
more from Reuters.

Monday, September 18, 2006

New KFC Snacker and promo

KFC introduced a new 'Snacker' sandwich this month along with another 'hidden message' TV ad.

The new sandwich is the KFC Ultimate Cheese Snacker. It "features KFC's signature, 100 percent chicken breast strip, covered in a blend of cheddar and Swiss cheeses, topped with crisp lettuce and served on a warm sesame seed bun."

The Cheese Snacker has 280 calories, 11 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 5 g sugars, and 15 g protein. There's that trans fat again. Get with the program KFC and eliminate that trans fat (like Wendy's did).

If you don't feel like taping TV ads just so you can watch them in slow-motion frame by frame to find a hidden message, I'll just tell you what it is: "traffic jam". That's what you'll need to enter on KFC's Cheese Snacker page before October 7 in order to enter the sweepstakes and possibly get a coupon in the mail.

There's no guarantee you'll get a coupon. Here's the message you get after you enter your name, mailing address, e-mail address and date of birth: "If you are among the 1,000 eligible participants a day, you will receive a $1 gift check (via US Mail) worth $1.00 redeemable toward the purchase of products at participating KFC restaurants"

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"Talk Like a Pirate" day at Silver's

Long John Silver's will be celebrating "Talk Like A Pirate" day again tomorrow, September 19. The chain is inviting customers to join the pirate fun by celebrating the 'holiday.' The restaurant is named for the pirate in Robert Lewis Stevenson's classic book Treasure Island.

“Pirates have never been more ‘in,’ but that’s not news to Long John Silver’s,” said Don Gates, Long John Silver's Director of Marketing. “Long before Johnny Depp embraced his inner pirate by bringing the character of Jack Sparrow to life in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ we recognized America’s love affair with pirates and named our company after one.”

Kids and adults alike can get their own pirate hat when they visit a Long John Silver's restaurant tomorrow.

Talk Like a Pirate Day began in 1995 when creators Mark Summers and John Baur were playing racquetball in Albany, Ore. When one player reached for a tough shot, he exclaimed, “Aaaaarrrr!” Spontaneously, the two began speaking in pirate jargon, complete with accents, and the idea was born. The day is now an annual tradition and the light-hearted pirate fun has caught on with the media.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wingstop gets top honors at wing festival

Wingstop received best overall wing company at the fifth annual National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, N.Y.

“We were proud to be honored with the 2006 Wing King award. To be recognized by festival promoters as embodying the spirit, enthusiasm and flavor of the National Buffalo Wing Festival is truly an honor,” said Dave McDonald, director of technical services and Wingstop’s festival organizer.

For the third consecutive year, Wingstop’s Atomic sauce was ranked as one of the top three Traditional Extra Hot Sauces at the festival.

McDonald's to fund obesity research

As part of their constant battle to defend themselves against accusations of contributing to childhood obesity and an unhealthly lifestyle, as well as obesity lawsuits, McDonald's is now contributing money to scientific studies on the causes of childhood obesity.

McDonald's has donated $2 million to the Scripps Institute for a "collaboration regarding research and educational initiatives to drive progress toward a solution to childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes."

"McDonald's overall goal is to make a difference in the lives of children," said Ralph Alvarez, president and chief operating officer, McDonald's Corporation. "The collaboration with Scripps Research is an extension of McDonald's long-standing commitment to the well-being of children around the world."

Right. The collaboration with Scripps is something McDonald's can bring up in court when they're being sued for making kids fat!

"More than 13 percent of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight and the number is growing at a critical rate,"said Richard A. Lerner, M.D., president of The Scripps Research Institute. "With obesity often comes debilitating, even fatal Type 2 diabetes. These are epidemics that America cannot ignore. The McDonald's and Scripps Research alignment represents advancement in the effort to change the landscape of these severe pediatric health issues."

Doesn't Dr. Lerner realize that many of the kids in that 13% have gotten that way by eating nutritionally bereft meals made with high concentrations of HFCS at McDonald's, or does $2 million cause selective amnesia?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A real-life hamburgler

from the Arizona Republic:
Lake Havasu City police are looking for a real-life Hamburglar.

A man broke into a McDonald's early Sunday morning through a roof vent.

Surveillance video shows the man turning on the grill, cooking and eating a couple of burgers before fleeing.

When he fled, the burger bandit triggered a door alarm that a morning shift manager heard when she pulled into work nearly two hours later.

She found a piece of drywall on the kitchen floor, and another employee noticed the grill was greasy.

Damage to the McDonald's is estimated at $150.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Study: Fast food fans bad at estimating calories

A study from Cornell's Food Psychology lab published in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that the larger the fast food portion we choose, the worse we are at estimating how many calories we're getting.

"One of the big dangers of fast-food lunches is that we not only mindlessly overeat, but we mindlessly underestimate how much we've eaten," says Brian Wansink, lead author of the study. "The more we eat, the less we think we eat," Wansink says. "Nobody is immune from doing this, from the lightest person to the heaviest person."

Some of the studies findings include
  • People who ate larger meals estimated they had eaten an average of 675 calories but consumed 1,188, a 513-calorie difference.
  • Those eating smaller meals guessed they had eaten an average of 419 calories but consumed 514, a 95-calorie difference.
  • Overweight people's meals contained an average of 957 calories, compared with 683 for normal-weight people.
  • Both overweight and normal-weight people underestimated the calories by about the same amount.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another annoying Carl's Jr. TV ad

Carl's Jr. just can't leave well enough alone. There's now a second "Cow Shake" ad! This one, called the "Cow Shake-Off" has 2 dorky guys rubbing on cows to that annoying Kelis song, "Milkshake."

But hey, that's just my opinion!

The new ad promotes Carl's new shake and malt made with M&M candies.

The nutritional info for Carl's M&M Shake/Malt is as follows (the first number is for the Shake, the second for the Malt): 850/920 calories, 351/369 calories from fat, 39/41 g fat, 27/28 g saturated fat, 105/110 mg cholesterol, 250/320 mg sodium, 107/119 g carbs, 15/18 g protein.

Have a Pastrami Burger and a large order of fries with that malt and you've got an even 2,300 calories!

The shake and malt are $2.99 at most Carl's Jr. locations, but here's a coupon for $1 off good until 11/30/06.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mucho calories in El Pollo's new chicken nachos

El Pollo Loco has introduced their new Grilled Chicken Nachos.

The nachos feature tortilla chips topped with refried beans, Poblano Queso sauce, and shredded Jack & Cheddar cheese, citrus-marinated flame-grilled chicken breast, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, guacamole and sliced jalapenos.

“Prior to our launch of Grilled Chicken Nachos, I can’t recall a time when consumers have had the opportunity to enjoy authentic, restaurant quality nachos at a fast-food eatery,” said Karen Eadon, chief marketing officer for El Pollo Loco.

An order of Grilled Chicken Nachos has 1,150 calories, 57 grams of fat, 20 grams saturated fat, 109 mg cholesterol, 2,439 mg sodium, 98 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 28 g protein.

Yes, 57 grams of fat! That's equal to 8 McDonald's Hamburgers or 4 Big Macs!

And 2,439 mg of sodium? That's more than the NIH recommends for a whole day's intake.

So you'd better split these nachos with a friend, but as it says on El Pollo's web site: "El Pollo Loco’s new Grilled Chicken Nachos are large enough to share, but you probably won’t."

Subway seeks youth market

Subway has partnered with sneaker maker Vans to offer branded premiums and attract some younger consumers.

Subway Kids Paks will include either a Vans key chain, bracelet or sticker collection.

Speaking of Subway's Kids Pak, it is worth noting that that they offer a fruit snack and juice box in the Pak as an alternative to a cookie and soda. A welcomed and applauded healthy fast food alternative.

Subway also has a web site dedicated to their younger customers at


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Popeye's 360° safe program

I was pleased to find a logo on Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits web site touting the safety and 'quality' of their products. Of course, a logo doesn't guarantee quality, but it might mean they are at least thinking about it.

Unfortunately there isn't a great deal of background information on the program.

Clicking on the logo takes you to a page with a bigger version of the logo and a succinct description of the program: "Our quality goes full circle. Quality Product: We never compromise on quality. Quality Partners: We select food suppliers that meet our high standards. Quality Process: Our associates are committed to quality cooking standards."

I suppose these statements are a simplified version of what McDonald's is trying to do with their Farm to Table web site.


Dunkin D's Sausage Omelet

Dunkin' Donuts has been expanding their breakfast menu for sometime. They've added an array of breakfast menu items that go beyond donuts, and they've expanded their coffee offerings to better compete with Starbucks and the like.

The most recent example of Dunkin' Donuts' breakfast menu improvements is the Sausage Supreme Omelet. It is eggs scrambles with vegetables, a sausage patty and American cheese on a baked bagel.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

DQ's Blizzard of the month

In case you didn't know it, Dairy Queen has a new Blizzard of the Month each month. You can check the Blizzard of the Month page to see what it is each month.

This month's featured Blizzard is the Chocolate Malt Crunch.

From DQ: "By combining a mouthwatering mixture of chocolate, malt and scrumptious cookie crumbles with a soothing portion of creamy vanilla soft serve, the Chocolate Malt Crunch Blizzard satisfies customer needs for a deliciously invigorating taste."

The average price of the Chocolate Malt Crunch Blizzard is $2.59 for the 12 oz., $3.00 for the 16 oz. and $3.50 for the 21 oz.

According to DQ,
malted milkshakes were invented in 1922 by a soda jerk at a Walgreens drug store in Chicago. Today, malted milk is found in a variety of sweet treats, including a chocolate candy confection known as malted milk balls, as well as in malted waffles and pancakes. Malted milk has also long been used as an ice cream topping.

For fans of the Blizzard, DQ offers the Blizzard Fan Club, now boasting over 650,000 members.

A medium (16 oz) Chocolate Malt Crunch Blizzard has 680 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, 86 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 70 g sugars, 12 g protein.