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Ground Beef Prices Continue Their Rise

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Statistics/Consumer Price Index

Already high ground beef prices could go even higher by yearend and into 2014, according to some analyses of recent production and price data. The latest U.S. Department of Bureau Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index data for June 2013 show the average retail price for 100% [...]

Quarterly Calls Offer Mid-Year Updates

Quarterly earnings conference calls by Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, The Wendy’s Company and Jack in the Box provided interesting snapshots of where the burger-restaurant business stood through the first half of 2012.

Same-store sales reports were positive if not stellar. Red Robin’s comp sales for it Q2 ended July 8 were up 0.8% thanks to [...]

Ag Economist Sees Record Beef Prices Ahead

Higher food prices seem a certain result of the drought that has parched about one-third of the U.S. How high prices might go, which proteins will see the sharpest gains and when operators and consumers will feel the impact are the key questions, and there are disagreements and conflicting forecasts. Should burger-concept operators [...]

McDonald’s Lessons in Globalization

McDonald’s results for Q1, ended March 31, embody what’s good and bad about operating in 119 countries. CFO Peter Bensen said its multinational power allows it to be “leveraging our size and strength in ways others cannot match.” Being global also means that the chain knew Chicken McBites would sell in the U.S. because the [...]

Wendy’s Wrestles with Brand, Menu, Pricing Shifts

Wendy’s President-CEO Emil Brolick says there are a “lot of brain cells being burned” in the burger chain’s deliberations over how to remake the brand. The plan will be more clear next month when Wendy’s launches a new ad campaign, succeeding “You know when it’s real.”

Other components involve menu innovations, including upcoming launches of [...]

Burger King Sales Can’t Catch Beef Cost Rise

[Update on beef prices: Wendy's says it has had to up the price of its new W cheeseburger from $2.99 to $3.19.]

Burger King sales may be improving but not enough to avoid being flame-broiled by higher beef prices, the chain’s largest franchisee reported this week. But management told analysts they are encouraged enough by [...]

Wendy’s Orders a Hot ‘n Juicy Brand Reboot

Urban planner/architect Daniel Burnham’s mantra was “Make no small plans” and that philosophy ruled Wendy’s annual Investor Day event on Monday, an upbeat revival meeting for Wall Streeters that made Burnham’s plan for developing Chicago look timid. Wendy’s sees a path to its future, and its one that includes a new, secretive, code-named ad campaign [...]

Burgers of the Year: Good, Bad & Ugly

This turned out to be another tough year not just for burger joints but for every restaurant that isn’t named McDonald’s. Consumers may be more easily reached thanks to the rise of social media, but they are no more easily persuaded, as NPD’s recent report of flat customer traffic in 2011 attests. And that helps [...]