If it sometimes seems that McDonald’s has grown so large that it owns the sun, the moon and the stars, well, it’s so. Last month, McDonald’s Corp. filed separate federal trademark applications for the moon/stars and sun depictions that, back to back, form the logo for its 24-hour operations. The chain is beginning to incorporate this day/night logo into TV advertising, floating it above the Golden Arches at the close of some new spots.
The move to protect that late-night logo isn’t surprising, but it indicates how important in the long-term those hours are to McDonald’s and others. During its Q3 earnings call in January, outgoing CEO Jim Skinner credited the chain’s strong sales gains in part to its strategy of “broadening accessibility through extended hours.”
McDonald’s has increased the number of U.S. stores open around the clock to 40% (up from 36% a year ago), with 89% open by 5 a.m. The midnight-to-5-a.m. period is McDonald’s fastest-growing daypart, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year. Burger King, Jack in the Box and others are expanding late-night hours as well. Dunkin’ Donuts has about 2,300 24/7 locations.
McDonald’s knows that the moves into breakfast by Wendy’s and Taco Bell set them up for 24/7 operations in the future. Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick told analysts last month that breakfast “creates the incremental opportunity for considering 24-hour drive-through operations.”
◙ This Wednesday (April 18), McDonald’s introduces the much anticipated McBaguette for a six-week run at about 1,230 stores in France. This isn’t really news: the Wall Street Journal told us it was coming back in February. That won’t keep memory-challenged media from wide-eyed rediscovery of it, of course.
The burger-on-a-baguette (with Emmental cheese and mustard, shown at right) is part of the trend to localized European menus that this site in October 2010 called “burger nationalism.” Localizing menus is a companion to localizing sourcing, such as serving only UK-raised beef in McDonald’s UK units.
What will be interesting to watch is how well the McBaguette sells if it is, as expected, put on the menu at €4.50. That’s about $5.88 U.S. and at the high end even for Europe’s more-expensive McDonald’s menus.
◙ Also this week: Wendy’s today (April 16) will launch its full “Now That’s Better” ad campaign in full. We got a taste of it earlier with the new Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club TV spot, but now multiple channels (online, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) get put into play this week. The idea of a “defining moment” also is expected to be part of the new pitch as Wendy’s tries to show just why its fresh-never-frozen beef is better than competitors’.