Friday, October 31, 2008

Election Day Freebies: Ice Cream & Donuts

Ben & Jerry's is rewarding you for voting on Tuesday with a free scoop of ice cream at their stores.
On the evening of November 4th, from 5 – 8 pm, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream Scoop Shops will be giving away free scoops across the nation. “Originally, we planned to give free scoops away just to those who voted. We found out afterwards that certain laws may not allow it. So instead we’re celebrating our election with a national party,” said Walt Freese, Chief Euphoria Officer of the Vermont based ice-cream maker. “Democracy never tasted so sweet,” added Freese summing up the effort.

Evidently Krispy Kreme isn't as concerned about the legalities of offering freebies only to those who have voted.

They are requiring you to present an "I Voted" sticker in order to claim your free star-shaped doughnut with patriotic sprinkles:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

McDonald's Double Cheeseburger and the McDouble

The Wall Street woes have officially hit just about every Main Street in America today... every one with a McDonald's at least.

McDonald's is planning to take their much beloved Double Cheeseburger off the Dollar Menu.

They're replacing it with the new "McDouble." The McDouble still has 2 meat patties, but only 1 slice of cheese.

The Double Cheeseburger would still be available, but not on the Dollar Menu, it will be priced somewhere above $1.

There has been much speculation lately on the fate of the Double Cheeseburger, but these appear to be the final plans as laid out in a memo to franchisees. Franchisees will vote on the plans in November.

“The recommendation to add McDouble to our popular Dollar Menu reflects
that we’re . . . providing our customers even more choices, with the
everyday affordability our customers expect,” McDonald’s said in a
statement. “The recommendation to adjust the price of the Double
Cheeseburger allows us to continue to provide the same great-tasting
burger our customers know and love, still at a great value.”

McDonald's has been testing the Double Cheeseburger changes in some markets and have found that most people prefer to keep the second piece of cheese and spend a little more.

Removing 1 piece of cheese will save McDonald's about 6 cents per sandwich.

Evidently the Double Cheeseburger/McDouble changes could boost cash flow by $15,000 a year per restaurant.

“This sounds like a legitimate option to remove a piece of cheese, but
it seems odd to offer both double cheeseburgers,” says Larry Miller, an
analyst in Atlanta with RBC Capital Markets. “Any change to the Dollar
Menu is really important because it is in such high demand now.”

The Dollar Menu accounts for 14% of McDonald's US sales.

I suppose this was inevitable. When you sell as many burgers as McDonald's does, one piece of cheese can make a big difference to the bottom line.

But it does seem odd that they couldn't make up their mind to either raise the price or cut the cheese (sorry) and instead decide to do both.

Now, I guess, it will be up to us when we're in the drive-thru... more cash for extra cheese or a buck for 1 slice less?

What will you choose? Take the poll...

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Free Taco Fallout - Taco Bell

Last week I told you about the free taco on Tuesday at Taco Bell.

Hopefully some of you got to take advantage of the promotion and get a free taco.

There's been some other fallout from Taco Bell's Stolen Base/Taco promotion:

The Tampa Bay player, Jason Bartlett, who stole a base in the World Series and thereby activated this promotion has certainly heard from America about their free Taco.

Bartlett's cell phone has been inundated with messages and texts congratulating him on the stolen base and thanking him for the free taco.

He has had to change his number!

Also, a Consumerist reader who was checking his local police logs noticed that his local Taco Bell was having some problems with the folks lined up in the drive-thru waiting for their free taco.

Evidently this particular Taco Bell wasn't willing to give a free taco to everyone in a vehicle in the drive-thru. Although the rules only specifiy one per person (not one per vehicle).

Tell us about your free taco (if you got one)... was their a long line? did you have any trouble getting it?


McDonald's New Packaging

Beginning in November 2008, McDonald's will introduce its new generation of global packaging, the most comprehensive rollout in McDonald's history. All 118 McDonald's countries will participate in this rollout over the next two years.
"Through a blend of bold text and powerful images, the new packaging will illustrate the high quality ingredients and food prepared at McDonald's. McDonald's new global packaging will be consistent around the globe, using sophisticated graphics, photography and storytelling, with and without words."

"Our new packaging is a fresh way of sharing McDonald's food quality story with our customers," said Mary Dillon, McDonald's Global Chief Marketing Officer. "The more people know about our food the more they'll love it."
The new McDonald's fast food packaging will be introduced first in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States and continue rolling out worldwide through 2010.

Here is a look at the new Big Mac box and French Fry container (with the text enlarged for readability):


Peppermint Chocolate Chip Shake at Chick-fil-a

Coming in November to a Chick-fil-a near you is the Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake.

This new flavor milkshake will be at Chick-fil-a for a limited time, that is, for the holidays.


UPDATE: Since I wrote about the shake before the press release came out... here are some more details:

It's hand-spun with Chick-fil-a's "home-style" Icedream and topped with light whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. They come in a 20 oz. cup and are priced at $2.89. The shakes will be available until January 3, 2009.

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Carl's Jr.'s Big Country Breakfast Burrito

Carl's Jr. has introduced their Big Country Breakfast Burrito.

Appropriate for their "Breakfast As Big As Our Burrgers" campaign, this new breakfast item offers a complete country breakfast wrapped in a burrito.

The Big Country Breakfast Burrito has eggs, crumbled bacon and sausage, diced ham, shredded cheddar cheese, has rounds and "a generous ladle of sausage gravy," in a flour tortilla.

Wow. That's a big breakfast burrito alright. She weighs in at 2/3 of a pound, has 770 calories (420 from fat), 47 grams of fat and 165% of the daily value of Cholesterol (495 mg)!  Here's the rest of the nutritional info:

The Big Country Breakfast Burrito costs $2.69, or $4.49 for a combo which includes has rounds and coffee.

This the TV ad supporting the Big Country Breakfast Burrito, it's called "Not Much"

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McRib Plays A Tune and Rings Your Cell

I know. It happens every year. But once again, we'll mention that McRib is back.

It is a love/hate thing. It seems nobody has a neutral feeling about this processed and pressed pork BBQ sandwich (with the fake ribs!).

This year McDonald's has teamed up with Myxer and Pandora to ad some musical and cellular excitement to the McRib experience.

Pandora is a great online music station that learns what you like and allows you to create your own stations with your preferences.

McDonald's marketing folks have set up 4 'stations' on Pandora: "Move Your Buns Soulful Ballads," "Tender Love Tunes of Today," "Saucy Love Classics of the 80's," and "McRib Country Flavor Classics."

When I checked out the "Move Your Buns" station, the first 3 songs were "Around the Way Girl" by LL Cool J, "My Adidas" by Run DMC, and "Have You Seen Her" by MC Hammer.

McDonald's has selected Myxer's Bullseye hyper-targeting service for the mobile phone portion of their McRib campaign.

You can text MCRIB to 69937 (MYXER) for the McRib content. Or you can just point your browser (phone or computer)

There you'll find some wallpapers and screensavers for you phone like the one above, or the "McRib Kiss" (on the right).

But if you're a McRib 'hater' instead of a McRib 'lover,' we thought we'd supply you with a sexy shot of a naked McRib 'patty' with its BBQ sauce washed off (below left), or a close-up of the inside of a McRib 'patty' (below right). These are from our McRib Deconstructed special a couple years back. Now these are some appetizing wallpapers!

McDonald's also has some Ringtones at Myxer. You would definitely have to be a McRib 'lover' to have this one on your phone! (Click 'Preview' to have a listen.)

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Chipotle's New Online Ordering

Chipotle now has new, enhanced online ordering for all their restaurants.  You can place your order at

You can place specific orders for separate people.  There is an order summary at the bottom of the page after you add each person's 'bag' to the whole order.

There's also an expanded group ordering function that lets you place multi-item orders under a single group name and invite friends or co-workers (via e-mail) to add their single order to the group order.

There is a space for special instructions, too.  Which is good, because I didn't see a checkbox for pico de gallo for my burrito, so I added it to my 'special instructions.'

You can save your favorite orders, too.  So if you regularly order the same thing, it will be there with one click the next time you log in.

A screen grab of my most common order is below.

A note about logging in... be ready to come up with a password for your account that is 8 characters long, has at least 1 uppercase letter, at least 1 lowercase number and at least 1 number! A tad annoying, but great security!

All in all a great online ordering experience. And the burrito was great, as always.

Some words about the new system from Chipotle:

"This is another way we are making our high quality food available and affordable so everyone can eat better," says Steve Ells, Chipotle founder, chairman and CEO. "We can deliver a great Chipotle experience in a way that meets the demands of time-pressed customers."

"We asked our regular online users and our most tech-savvy customers how to best improve this system," Ells says. "This new version is faster, easier to use, and will enable us to add additional features and applications as new technology allows."

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Homestyle Chicken and Churro's From Jack, too

Okay, this is the third Jack in the Box post for today (and they would have been another if I didn't cover two topics in this one!), but that's just the way news happens... and, frankly, we haven't gotten any fast food news from Jack in the Box for quite awhile.

First, Jack in the Box is integrating their Homestyle Chicken Fillet into two new menu items, the Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club and the Breakfast Homestyle Chicken Biscuit.

The Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club puts the homestyle chicken fillet on a bun with bacon, 'swiss-style' cheese, lettuce and tomato, with ranch sauce. It has 760 calories and 38 grams of fat (complete nutritional information is below). It is priced at $4.29.

The Breakfast Homestyle Chicken Biscuit, is the chicken fillet on a warm buttermilk biscuit. No nutritional data yet. It costs $2.99. Both are served all day.

"Crispy chicken items are very appealing to consumers," said Teka O'Rourke, director of menu marketing and promotions for Jack in the Box Inc. "We've had great success with our Jack's Spicy Chicken sandwich and think the home-made flavor of our new Homestyle Chicken will also be a hit with guests."

Secondly, Jack is introducing a new dessert to "reflect a growing trend...toward smaller desserts."

The Mini Churros are bite-sized pastries with a cinnamon sugar filling.

The come in a 5-count and 10-count size. 5 Mini Churros are $1.00, ten cost $1.89.

"Bite-sized treats, like our new Mini Churros, have been increasing in
popularity," said Teka O'Rourke, director of menu marketing and
promotions for Jack in the Box Inc. "They're ideal for guests who want
just a little something sweet after a meal or as a snack."

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Jack Brings Back Teriyaki Bowls

Jack has brought back their Teriyaki Bowl. It was first introduced in 1993, but was taken off the menu in 2003. Now it's back.

"We've had plenty of products come and go over the years, but few made an impression like the Teriyaki Bowl," said Teka O'Rourke, director of menu marketing and promotions. "We've had lots of requests to bring it back, so we did, and it tastes just as great as the original."

The Teriyaki Bowls at Jack in the Box have steamed white rice, broccoli florets and carrots with a choice of either chicken or steak topped with teriyaki sauce. It is served in a sealed bowl and is priced at $4.29 for chicken and $4.79 for steak.

Both these Bowls are relatively low in fat, if that's what you're trying to avoid. And no Trans Fat! They do have quite a bit of sodium and sugars, but that is the nature of a Teriyaki dish. The Chicken version has 580 calories and 5 grams of fat, the Steak version has 650 calories and 10 grams of fat. Complete nutritional information is below.

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Jack's New Antenna Ball a Fundraiser

Jack in the Box antenna balls have been promoting the fast food chain from car antennas for over 10 years now.

But starting today, Jack in the Box is introducing a whole new breed of antenna balls and they'll be raising funds and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The new antenna ball, dubbed "Beanie Jack," features a classic Jack-style antenna ball wearing a multi-colored beanie cap topped with a propeller. Beanie Jack will be sold for $1, excluding tax, at all participating Jack in the Box restaurants, while supplies last. Seventy percent of Beanie Jack sales will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the primary charitable partner of The Jack in the Box Foundation for the past 10 years.

Big Brothers Big Sisters helps vulnerable children break negative odds. The movement relies on donations to help recruit volunteers and reach more children.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Consumerist: McDonald's Sauce Limits

The Consumerist has a photo of a sign at a McDonald's sent in by Jon from NJ.

This McDonald's is limiting your free sauces to 1 sauce for 3-piece Chicken Selects and 6-piece McNuggets and 2 sauces for 5 piece Chicken Selects and 10 piece McNuggets.

That's just not enough sauce! One container is only enough for 2 or 3 McNuggets, certainly not for 6!

They're charging 10-cents for each additional sauce.

The sign notes, "Ketchup and mayo still free!"

We know this isn't the policy at all McDonald's, but the way things are going, it might soon be.


Panda Express Celebrates 25th Year

The first Panda Express restaurant opened on October 31, 1983 in Glendale, California.

The Panda Express now offers Chinese fast food at 1,200 locations in 36 states, Puerto Rico and Japan.

"When I opened the first Panda Express I hoped the restaurant would be a success, but had no way of anticipating that it would be the start of such tremendous growth," says founder and chairman Andrew Cherng. "During these tough economic times, we are very fortunate to now be in our 12th consecutive year of same-store sales growth with continued restaurant expansion and over $1.2 billion dollars in sales."

In celebration of the 25th anniversary, Panda Express is premiering a new signature menu item, Beijing Beef.

Congratulations Panda Express!

UPDATE: Like the false In-N-Out Anniversary hoax, there is also one circulating about Panda Express anniversary discounts. It is false, too. You can read more at Snopes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Beats Starbucks

Dunkin' Donuts has been promoting their coffee as an alternative to Starbucks for some time now.

When they promoted their Latte with a TV ad, they spoofed Starbucks' odd names for small, medium and large. I enjoyed that, because when I rarely find myself in a Starbucks I can never remember what they call a medium. (It's "Grande" by the way, I looked it up!)

Now an independent study has found 58%, of 476 people tested that had a preference, prefered Dunkin' Donuts "Original Blend" coffee to Starbucks' "House Blend" coffee.

And Dunkin' isn't being shy about letting everyone know that they beat Starbucks and are going head-to-head with them to compete for their morning coffee business.

The first TV ad promoting this is below. And they've set up a new site,, to tell the world and let you spread the word, too.

About the test: The double-blind taste test involved 476 adults, each of whom had consumed regular, hot brewed coffee within the past week. For the test, A&G Research used fresh packaged coffee purchased in each brand's stores, tested each brand's most popular flavor (Dunkin' Donuts Original Blend versus Starbucks House Blend), brewed the coffee using equipment recommended by each brand and served it black.

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Free Taco Tuesday at Taco Bell

Taco Bell had their free taco for a stolen base in the World Series promotion again this year.

Last night Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett stole 2nd base in the bottom of the 5th inning of Game 1.  Result:  Free Tacos.

You can visit any Taco Bell location on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 from 2 to 6 pm (local time) to claim your free Crunchy Seasoned Beef Taco.

2007 was the first year for the stolen base version of this free taco promotion.  Jacoby Ellsbury stole a base in last year's World Series resulting in the free tacos.  In 2006 the free taco resulted from a home run.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Taco Bell: Triple Steak Burrito & Frutista

While Taco Bell is experiencing increased business during the current economic downturn due to their "Why Pay More" value menu, they've also introduced the most expensive menu item they've ever had, the Triple Steak Burrito priced at $3.99.

The Triple Steak Burrito is big.  It weighs in at 339 grams.  By comparison, the 7-layer Burrito weighs 283 grams.  The Triple Steak is also loaded with protein:  37 grams.  Of course, you get 25 grams of fat (230 calories from fat) with the Triple Steak Burrito, and 660 total calories.  (complete nutritional information below)

They've also introduced a fruit-flavored frozen beverage called the "Frutista Freeze."  The Frutista, priced under $2, is a high profit margin product for Taco Bell (as are most beverages).  It is basically a flavored-water slush.  It contains no fruit juice (only fruit flavors).Taco Bell/YUM! Brands Chief Marketing Officer, David Ovens, has called the Frutista Freeze "the goose that lays the golden eggs."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Long John Silver's Intros Freshside Grille

Long John Silver's, the fast food seafood chain, introduced a new menu concept today that they are calling "Freshside Grille." The new menu options are being promoted as healthy, premium seafood entrees.

The 3 new Freshside Grille entrees are (as pictured, top to bottom) Grilled Tilapia in garlic herb sauce, Shrimp Scampi in garlic butter sauce, and Grilled Pacific Salmon in a sauce of red bell peppers, black pepper, garlic and olive oil. Each entree is served on seasoned rice with a breadstick.

Long John Silver's and their nutritionist-for-hire are quick to point out that each of the Freshside Grille entrees have 10 or less grams of fat and no trans fats. But this is only true for the entrees, not the sides shown with them (rice, corn, veggies and breadstick)... the sides add more fat and do have some trans fat.

A statement from Long John Silver's "noted nutrition scientist, author and expert on seafood nutrition," Dr. Joyce Nettleton says, "Fish and shellfish are an important source of protein and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have health benefits for the heart, eyes, brain, immune system, and for pregnant and nursing women and their babies. Long John Silver's has taken an important step in offering low-fat, non-fried seafood choices with the new Freshside Grille menu."

Fast Food News has the complete nutrition information for Long John Silver's Freshside Grille entrees and sides below, but be certain to take note that the nutrition information for the entrees is not the nutrition information for the meals you see photographed above. It is only for the entrees, not the additional side items.

Long John Silver's is proud to point out that the Gilled Tilapia entree has only 110 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, but if you dine on the Grilled Tilapia as it is shown in the photo, with the rice it is served on, the Vegetable Medley, Corn, and Breadstick you will be consuming 760 calories, 22.5 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of Trans Fat. That's a big difference.

The bed of rice under the entrees come with the entree, but is not included in the nutrition data for the entree. The Vegetable Medley, Corn and Breadstick, along with the Rice add 650 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of fat, 2.5 grams Trans Fat and 1495 mg of Sodium.

Long John Silver's hasn't updated their main website ( for a long, long time, but now, to introduce their Freshside Grille concept, they've launched a new web presence at

New Freshside Grille Commercial:

There's also a behind-the-scenes, making-of, video showing the people in the commercial getting hit by the big splash.

Freshside Grille, complete nurtional information:

With rice and sides (as shown): 760 calories, 200 calories from fat, 22.5 grams fat, 2.5 grams Trans Fat, 1735 mg Sodium.

With rice and sides (as shown): 760 calories, 220 calories from fat, 24.5 grams fat, 2.5 grams Trans Fat, 2055 mg Sodium.

With rice and sides (as shown): 800 calories, 225 calories from fat, 25 grams fat, 2.5 grams Trans Fat, 1935 mg Sodium.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Consumerist: McDonald's Forgets the Meat in Cheeseburger

The Consumerist is reporting on Jarrett's recent trip to McDonald's. Jarrett wanted 2 plain Cheeseburgers... one of them not only had all the things that don't constitute plain (pickles, onions, ketchup), but it also DIDN'T have any meat!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wendy's Flavor Dipped Chicken Sandwiches

Wendy's is currently promoting their limited-time-only Flavor Dipped Chicken Sandwiches.

There are two versions, BBQ and Buffalo.

The chicken breasts at the center of these sandwiches are fully dipped in one of the two flavors.

The Spicy Buffalo Sauce dipped chicken filet comes with lettuce, tomato and blue cheese sauce (on a bun, of course, as shown in the photo).

The BBQ sauce dipped version comes with onions and pickles.

The BBQ version has 450 calories and 12 grams of fat. The Buffalo version has 530 calories and twice the fat (24 grams).

Here's the complete nutritional information for both sandwiches:

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Battle of the Tiny Hamburgers: North vs. South

Laughing Squid has a great little post about White Castle & Krystal, The War of the Tiny Hamburgers: North vs. South.

The post has some great restaurant photos of the 2 purveyors of tiny hamburgers and the tiny hamburgers themselves.

As you can see from the map below (that I've modified from the one at Wikipedia), White Castle's market is in the North and Krystal's is in the South.  The only 2 states with both restaurants are Kentucky and Tennessee.

And as Laughing Squid points out, "One thing is certain, the West Coast is missing out on all of the tiny square hamburger action."

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Subway Passes 30,000 Restaurants Mark

Subway had set a goal of having 30,000 restaurants by 2010.  They've already made their goal...2 years early!

Their new total (as is constantly updated on their web site) is 30,017 locations in 88 countries.

They recently opened 9 new stores in a 24-hour period in Sahuarita, Ariz.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Peachtree City, Ga.; Sneads Ferry, N.C.; Gronau, Germany; Hong Kong; Durham and Windsor, Ontario; and Stockholm, Sweden.

"The stores and their franchisees represent many of the diversified aspects of the Subway chain that have enabled it to grow so successfully over the years," said Subway spokesman Les Winograd.

Subway has a diversity of restaurant concepts across the globe. For example the new Hong Kong store seats only 10 customers, the one in Germany is only 140 square feet, the North Carolina restaurant is 1,500 square feet and the Windsor, Ontario location is inside a Home Depot.

"We’re constantly discovering places to put Subway restaurants," from college campuses to hospitals, Winograd said.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

McDonald's Muncher Tries to Pay with Pot!

from the AP:
VERO BEACH, Fla. - A McDonald's cashier called 911 after a Vero Beach drive-thru customer allegedly offered to pay for his meal with marijuana. The Indian River County Sheriff's Office said the cashier called Monday with a description of the vehicle the suspect had been riding in.

A deputy spotted the vehicle, found marijuana in the car and arrested its occupant, 27-year-old Shawn Alexander Pannullo (pictured).

Pannullo was charged with possession of cannabis and posted $500 bail. It was unclear if he had an attorney.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

A sheriff's report did not say what the suspect ordered at McDonald's or if he ultimately purchased the meal using something other than marijuana.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Chick-fil-a PEZ Dispenser

Chick-fil-a has partnered with PEZ Candy, Inc. (the Austrian candy company famous for its ecletic candy dispensers) to produce the Chick-fil-a "Eat Mor Chikin" Cow PEZ dispenser.

The dispensers go on sale today (10/13/08) and sell for $1.99 (at participating Chick-fil-a restaurants).  They will also be available online at the Chick-fil-a store.

The "Eat Mor Chikin" cows were introduced 13 years ago and have been entertaining us with their desperate acts of self-preservation aimed at converting beef eaters into chicken fans.  And now they're being immortalized as a PEZ candy dispenser.

“While our ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ campaign is an integral part of Chick-fil-A’s marketing, it has also become part of American pop culture,” said Steve Nedvidek, Senior Manager of Marketing for Chick-fil-A. “The collectible PEZ dispenser is a great way for fans of the Cows to enjoy these classic candies, as well as to provide an exciting and memorable new way to enhance the Chick-fil-A brand via collectible ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ Cow memorabilia.”


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jimmy John's New Ultimate Porker

Jimmy John's has unveiled their first new sandwich in 4 years.

Jimmy John's #17 is The Ultimate Porker.

The Ultimate Porker has applewood smoked ham and bacon with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
"We don't rely on gimmicks, promotions and new menu additions to fool people into coming in and buying our sandwiches," says Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. "We rely on the simplicity and quality of our food and the speed of delivery to keep our customers coming back for more--and they do. The Ultimate Porker is simply another option for people like me who like the taste of ham and bacon together and want it served freaky fresh and freaky fast."
The Ultimate Porker has 843 calories and 41 grams of fat. Complete nutritional information:

UPDATE: You can submit your brilliant slogan for the new Ultimate Porker at Jimmy John's site for a chance to win an election day catered party from Jimmy John's. "The top ten Ulitmate Porker campaign slogans submitted between now and Friday October 24th will be posted for a vote-off during the week of October 27th. The slogan that gets the most votes wins a fully-catered Jimmy John's election day party."

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Friday, October 10, 2008

More on Chick-fil-a's Trans Fat Elimination

Both Burger King and Chick-fil-a announced the elimination of Trans Fat from their menus last week.

Chick-fil-a has now offered more information on their announcement.

Of note is the fact that none of Chick-fil-a's core menu items, including it's signature Chick-fil-a Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-a Nuggets and Chick-fil-a Chick-n-Strips ever had any trans fat.  They are pressured cooked in 100% refined peanut oil which is naturally trans fat free.

But, Chick-fil-a's popular Waffle Potato Fries, it's breakfast biscuits and some dessert items did have some trans fat.  The Waffle Potato Fries have been trans fat free for the past year.  The trans fat will be phased out of the breakfast biscuits by November.  The only remaining trans fat will be in Chick-fil-a's Cheesecake which has .5 grams of naturally occurring trans fat (and zero grams of artificial trans fat).

from Chick-fil-a:

“While we are proud that we successfully removed trans fat from our lunch and dinner menus, we are especially proud of our accomplishments within our breakfast lineup,” said Woody Faulk, vice president of brand development and director of Chick-fil-A’s menu strategy. “Breakfast has proven to be an extremely competitive daypart for the quick-service industry in recent years, and we are confident the diversity of our menu and the fact we have removed trans fat from our breakfast items without sacrificing taste will continue to help position Chick‑fil-A as a leader in the breakfast category.”

“We are also honored that others in the industry have taken note of our efforts to offer customers a broader menu with healthier choices, especially within our Kid’s Meal offerings,” Faulk added, noting Men’s Health magazine editors David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding recently recognized Chick-fil-A in their new book, “Eat This, Not That for Kids,” as being ‘America’s Healthiest Restaurant for Kids.’ “We have been intentional about offering a variety of healthier options for children over the past several years. We now offer a fruit cup as side option as part of our Kid’s Meals, and children also have a variety of beverage choices, including milk, apple juice, or freshly squeezed lemonade. Offering a menu with zero grams of trans fat is a strong complement to our nutritional efforts for children.”

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McDonald's No Longer Gay-Friendly?

McDonald's had long been supportive of equal rights for their homosexual customers and employees, but there are a couple of indications that their policy has changed.

First, McDonald's has caved to the demands of the American Family Association (AFA), which has ended their boycott of McDonald's. The AFA called for a boycott of McDonald's in May after McDonald's joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and indicated a support of gay rights.

In accordance with the AFA's demands, McDonald's Vice-President, Richard Ellis, has resigned from the board of the NGLCC and the fast food giant has announced that they will not renew their NGLCC membership when it expires in December.

Second, the incident at a Louisville, KY McDonald's in July, where 5 McDonald's customers were subjected to harassment based on their sexual orientation (they were called faggots by employees), has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the ACLU of Kentucky, the Fairness Campaign, UofL's commonGround, Lambda Law Caucus and others. Evidently, McDonald's corporate office (or any local management) has not responded to complaints filed by the ACLU, so the above organizations have scheduled a "We're not lovin' it" protest at the McDonald's where the incident occured.

UPDATE: The protest took place at the McDonald's in Louisville today. Here are some comments from the Fairness Campaign and photos from the protest.
“For any business to treat its gay customers this way is beyond the pale,” said Becca O’Neill with UofL’s Lambda Law Caucus, one of the groups that organized the demonstration. Other groups involved in organizing the protest included ACLU of Kentucky, Fairness Campaign, UofL’s commonGround and Office of LGBT Services. “All we want is for all customers, gay or straight, to be treated with decency and respect. Nobody should fork over their hard-earned money for a meal and be treated this way.”

Carrying signs saying “Discrimination Don’t Belong in a Happy Meal”, “Homophobia Served Here”, “NOT Lovin’ It”, many protesters said they were shocked, hurt, and angered when they learned about the incident.

“We want to make it clear that this community will not stand for this kind of harassment and discrimination from any business in Louisville,” said Jeff Rodgers, co-coordinator of the Fairness Campaign. “We have a law against anti-gay discrimination in Louisville, but we want people to know that these incidents still happen and that businesses that take part in this kind of illegal discrimination will be held accountable.”

UPDATE2: The ultra-conservative WorldNetDaily gloats about AFA's success in pressuring McDonald's to abandon their attention to civil and human rights.


Offbeat: Banksy Uses McNuggets in NY 'Pet Store'

Banksy, the British street artist [wiki], has opened a new 'installation/shop' in New York called the Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill. It's a small, unassuming storefront at 89 7th Ave in Greenwich Village, NYC.

It's not a real pet store, or a real grill. The cases and cages feature unusual exhibits like an animatronic rabbit putting on her make-up, a leopard (not real) sitting in a tree, and, the reason for our interest here at Fast Food News, 2 chicken McNuggets sipping from a container of McDonald's dipping sauce under the watchful eye of their Hen mother (shown above).

You can see video of the McNuggets and other exhibits at the Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill in this video. There's a long shot of the McNuggets at 6 seconds and a close-up at 39 seconds:


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sonic's Banana Pudding Shake

Sonic Drive-In wants you to take a trip down memory lane this October with their Banana Pudding Shake.

The shake has Nilla wafers and fresh bananas blended into soft serve ice cream.

It will be available for a limited time only.

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BK to Open First "Whopper Bar"

Burger King has announced their plans to open their first Whopper Bar, a concept they first announced in March.

The Whopper Bar is a condensed, more contemporary version of the typical Burger King. It features a modern look and feel and a Whopper topper area to encourage customers to customize their orders. The menu will focus on the Whopper sandwich and other special versions of the Whopper, including the Angry Whopper, Western Whopper and Ultimate Double Whopper.

The first Whopper Bar will open in Spring 2009 at Universal CityWalk in Orlando, Florida, with plans for several more sites over the next 12 months.
"This striking concept is a new generation of Burger King restaurants," said Russ Klein, president, global marketing, strategy and innovation, Burger King Corp. "It's focused on serving the original "Have it your Way" burger in a forward-looking format designed for today's on-the-go burger lover."


In-N-Out Burger Anniversary Discount Hoax

There has been a rumor floating around the interwebs that In-N-Out burger will be celebrating their 60th anniversary on October 22 by offering 25-cent burgers.

Not true!

Yesterday, In-N-Out posted a message on their website:
"You may be aware of a rumor about our menu prices being lowered for our anniversary on October 22nd. This rumor is untrue. We’ve always tried to keep our prices as low as possible in order to give our customers the greatest value. One of the ways we accomplish this is by not discounting and our anniversary is no exception. We’re sorry if this rumor has caused any confusion."
Thanks to Fast Food Maven


Friday, October 03, 2008

Burger King & Chick-fil-a Eliminate Trans Fats

Burger King announced today that all artificial Trans Fats will be eliminated from their menu items by November 1, 2008.

"Removing artificial trans fats from our cooking oils and ingredients is another example of our BK Positive Steps nutrition program," said Burger King Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John W. Chidsey. "Many Burger King restaurants have been using trans fat free cooking oils for several months, and our customers tell us that their favorite menu items taste the same, or even better. This is a result of our rigorous operational standards, supply requirements, and extensive consumer taste tests."

Burger King will be transitioning to two proprietary blends of three oils.


According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chick-fil-a announced yesterday that they would be eliminating Trans Fat from their foods. We've requested more info from Chick-fil-a.

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Dunkin' Donuts: America's Latte Break, 99¢

Dunkin' Donuts new "American Latte Break" means that now through November 11, on weekdays between 2 and 5pm, small hot or iced Lattes at Dunkin' Donuts are only 99 cents.

Another 'Dunkin' Deal' is a 99¢ Egg and Cheese Sandwich with the purchase of a medium or larger hot coffee.

"Americans are facing more and more challenges every day, as the economy forces many hard-working people to make difficult choices to keep their spending down. Whether or not to treat yourself to an afternoon latte shouldn't have to be one of them," said Frances Allen, Brand Marketing Officer for Dunkin' Donuts. "Dunkin' Donuts has been serving great coffee for more than 50 years, and no one knows better than us how important a cup of coffee can be in keeping people at their best. With America's Latte Break, those who keep this country running can keep themselves running with a delicious, high-quality latte, without breaking the bank."


But the best thing about getting a Latte at Dunkin' Donuts is that you can order one by saying "small, medium, or large." That is, you're not forced to use the vocabulary invented by some coffee company's marketing department.

I was reminded of this when I watched this ad on Dunkin's site:

I know this is an old rant that's been beaten into the ground. But, yet, Starbucks is still insisting we use their terminology... so maybe this rant has been ranted loud enough yet for Starbucks to hear.

I just find it so hard, so insulting to my sensibilities to be forced to use Starbucks artificial, elitist 'words' to specify what size coffee I want from their "Baristas!"

So, to help make my point, I'll present you with this oldy, but goody:

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Hardee's/Carl's Upgrade to '3D' Interactive Web Sites

The web sites of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's have been re-launched in a 3D version. Here's a screen capture of the new Hardee's site:

The sites feature a "young, hungry guy's dream bachelor pad, starting with a virtual, 3D living room landing page and a large, flat-screen TV playing Carl's Jr. and Hardee's latest televsion ads."

Site visitors can now select a virtual roommate who will interact with them each time they login to the site. And because we all know guys like gaming, the site allows visitors to sign up for the “Burger Slayer” loyalty program, earning points that can be used to customize the look of the living room and eventually unlock “hottie” roommate options and other brand fan freebies.

“When we first partnered with Spacedog Interactive, now part of Mendelsohn│Zien Advertising, to design and launch state-of-the art Web sites for both Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s in 2005, the sites were unlike anything anyone was doing in the industry because they focused more on an aspirational lifestyle for our ‘young, hungry guy’ customers,” said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants. “But since that time, others have copied our approach – in some cases very closely, indeed - so we wanted to regain our leadership with revamped sites that take the virtual living room environment and the overall brand interaction potential to a whole new level. The new 3D capability and full live-action video capability will also allow us to do cool things like have special guests, including hot new bands, make exclusive appearances on the sites in the future.”

California Calorie Labeling Law

California's 'Governator' Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a law that will require any restaurant chain with more than 20 locations (that's most fast food chains) to label menu items with their calories on menu boards.

The net result will be calorie counts on over 17,000 restaurants statewide by 2011.

The Governator said:  "This legislation will help Californians make more informed, healthier choices by making calorie information easily accessible at thousands of restaurants throughout the state."

Similar local laws already exist in New York, Seattle and San Francisco.

KFC & Another UK Fast Food Parking Fine

Last year we wrote about McDonald's billing UK customers who stay in their parking lots too long.  The fine was about $225 if you parked in the parking lot for more than 45 minutes.

Now it seems KFC has adopted a similar policy in Britain.

The Sun reports that Natalie Jackson and her pal sat down at their local KFC to 14 pieces of chicken and 6 bags of fries.  They spent an hour and a half devouring their 5,456 calorie meal and that exceeded KFC's 75 minute parking limit.

Days later, Natalie received a fine in the mail of £150 (about $265).

She eats at KFC three times a week, but says she won't be going back (or paying the fine).

We're hoping this isn't a policy adopted by fast food restaurants on this side of the pond!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fast Food Facts: 'Nutrition Facts' Search Upgrade

Just a little FYI: I've upgraded the appearance of nutrition search results on Fast Food Facts (Fast Food News' parent site).

The fast food nutrition data search results now appear as the 'Nutrition Facts' panels you're accustomed to seeing on the food you buy in the grocery store. Hopefully this will make it easier to go right to the nutrition data you need. Like this one for Burger King's Whopper with Cheese, without Mayonnaise:

The '%DV,' or % Daily Value figures are based on a 2,000 calorie diet (just like the ones on food you buy in the store).

Many teachers use Fast Food Facts in homework/webwork assignments for their students (mainly in Health and Math classes) and I hope they'll find it useful to have their students looking at the same Nutrition Facts panel they're used to seeing everywhere else when they do a class project.

And hopefully everyone else will find it easier to read, too. This should make it even more fun to do some of the favorite searches on Fast Food Facts, like:
It's a lot of nutrition information that can be viewed in many different ways...and now it looks better and is easier to read!


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Sonic TV Ads Mimic 'The Hills'

Sonic Drive-In has 14 new TV ads that mimic the MTV drama The Hills. The Sonic miniseries is called The Stalls and Pete and T.J. are still the standard characters in their customary seats in their car at Sonic.

The first ad in the 14 week series is below. The ads end with "to be continued." According to AdWeek, "in subsequent [ads] Pete and T.J. discuss banana pudding shakes some more and decide to move to Los Angeles to pursue romance, only to discover they've fallen for the same woman."

The Stalls even has its own web site ( with complete episodes, cast bios, and 'food from the show!'

From the 'season' promo on The Stalls site: "This season on The Stalls: the drama heats up for T.J. and Pete over a couple of Shakes and Blasts. Who knows what will happen on each episode. But one thing's for sure, intensity is definitely on the menu."

Sonic sponsors "Backchannel." The game that you can play while watching The Hills on MTV. Sonic also sponsors The Hills Finale Fantasy Sweepstakes which gives the winner a trip to The Hills finale and $1,000 cash.

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Chick-fil-a Tops 'Best Drive-Thru' List Again

QSR Magazine's annual "Quick-Service Drive-Thru Performance Study" has ranked Chick-fil-a in the top spot for the 5th consecutive year. McDonald's came in at number 2, followed by Burger King and Wendy's.

The fast food drive-thru rankings are based on speed of service, order accuracy, menuboard appearance and speaker clarity. (the links take you to these individual rankings)

In individual categories Wendy's ranked best for speed, Krystal's had the best menuboard appearance, and Chick-fil-a was the most accurate and had the best speaker clarity.

Here are the overall rankings:
  1. Chick-fil-A
  2. McDonald's
  3. Burger King
  4. Wendy's
  5. Del Taco
  6. Krystal
  7. Taco Bell
  8. Carl's Jr
  9. Jack in the Box
  10. Checkers
  11. Bojangles'
  12. Arby's
  13. KFC
  14. El Pollo Loco
  15. Culvers
  16. Long John Silver's
  17. Hardee's
  18. Rally's
  19. White Castle
  20. Church's
  21. A&W
  22. Whataburger
  23. Captain D's
  24. Dairy Queen
  25. Popeyes

In related news, The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) has released their 2008 Wait Time Survey. One of their 25 categories was 'limited service restaurants.' Here are their rankings for best (shortest) wait times in this category.
  1. Dunkin Donuts
  2. Panera Bread
  3. Chick-fil-a
  4. Arby's
  5. Carl's Jr.
  6. Starbucks
  7. Sonic Drive-In
  8. Chipotle
  9. Dairy Queen
  10. Burger King

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Popeye's New 'Travelers' Snack Items

Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen is introducing an on-the-go snack menu called "Louisiana Travelers."

The menu currently features 2 permanent menu items:  Louisiana Nuggets and Louisiana Tenders.
"We know many of our guests lead busy, time-crunched lives, so it's important to offer them quality, delicious food that can be enjoyed in the car or on the road," says Dick Lynch, CMO, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. "Our Louisiana Travelers Nuggets and Tenders are perfect for anyone that needs a quick, easy snack or meal as a part of their busy day."
The nuggets are available in 6 or 9 piece sizes and as 'mild' or 'spicy.'

The Tenders come in 3 or 5 piece sizes in 'mild' only.

To go along with these 'to-go' items, Popeye's is now making their signature "Delta Sauce" available in a portable dipping package for the first time.

The introductory price of both these menu items is $1.99.

The 6 piece Louisana Nuggets have 220 calories and 12 grams of fat.  Complete nutritional information:

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