McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), Jack in the Box Inc. (JACK): Here’s the Beef

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They’re Always on Trend Concerning Menus

Hot trends aren’t exclusive to the health foods sector. Consumers want new taste sensations, and they’re getting them from fast-food burger chains. For example, Burger King has a new Avocado and Swiss Whopper. They also have new Bacon Gouda Sandwiches, and new Philly Chicken and Italian Chicken Sandwiches. They’ve even tossed in new Cheesy Tots for good measure. The company’s also expanded their specialty coffee menu.

Concerning Burger King’s 2012 full year results, investors should note this statement from the company in their Feb. 15, 2013 press release: “Successful new menu additions such as the Chicken Parmesan sandwich, Cinnabon Minibon Rolls, and our holiday sweets menu, including sweet potato curly fries and gingerbread desserts, helped drive comparable sales growth.”

While beef is core to the company, they’re also growing sales from offering “trendy foods” as well. For instance, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is set to offer a yolk-free version of their popular Egg McMuffin. Additionally, Jack in the Box has their new Hot Mess Burger, which includes sliced jalapeños on sourdough bread. Investors should consider burger chains that continually energize their product mix to suit consumers’ taste buds.

They Have Strength in Numbers

McDonald’s has over 34,000 locations in 119 countries. Burger King operates close to 13,000 locations in 86 countries and territories. Jack in the Box’s system total (at Jan. 20, 2013) consisted of 2,255 Jack in the Box restaurants and 636 Qdoba (Mexican Grill) restaurants. Jack in the Box opened 16 new restaurants in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and 9 new restaurants in the first quarter fiscal 2013.

They’re Always Strategizing

In December 2012, Burger King announced that in the Latin America and Caribbean region, they launched a new Facebook page, mobile portal, and a guest relations tool. This is all part of the company’s digital marketing strategy to connect with their customers.

Recently, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) reported that their priority in Europe continues to be growing customer traffic through concentrating on innovative premium menu offerings and strong value. They are also focusing on the expansion of their breakfast in Europe and restaurant operating hours as well.

In their fiscal 2013 guidance, Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK) reported their Qdoba Mexican Grill strategy. They expect to open 70- 85 new Qdoba restaurants, and they expect roughly 40- 45 to be company locations. Their strategy is to embrace consumers’ penchant for Mexican menu offerings.

What caveat is in place concerning companies who compete in the fast-food burger arena? More recently, it’s the press concerning horsemeat being an element of some burger patty offerings. It’s all a matter of perception and image. The scandal is taking place in Europe. Reports center on beef burgers containing some horsemeat and other non-beef elements such as pork, while being advertised as beef burgers. Eating horsemeat is not an anathema in some European countries; it is in North America, the UK, Ireland, and many other nations.

Fast-food chains are well advised to get the word out on what their burgers contain – and they had better be 100 percent beef, at least here in North America. A public relations campaign by burger chains in the U.S. and Canada highlighting the quality of their offerings is necessary to keep their customers and investors salivating.

So, this is where the beef is, in many ways. You probably don’t have too far to go in your community to find one or more of the popular burger chains. You don’t have too look too far to find some of them on the major indices either, where they’re grilling sales and building their businesses in an array of ways.

The article Here’s the Beef originally appeared on and is written by Michael Ugulini.

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