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Monday Meeting: McDonald’s Extends Family Box to Japan

Multi-person boxed burger meals have taken a step closer to the U.S. with McDonald’s introduction of the concept in Japan. As it did in Australia when it originated the Family Box meal platform in 2010, McDonald’s offers three different price/component choices in Japan.

The basic Family Meal includes one Big Mac, a teriyaki burger and a cheeseburger plus a 5-piece Chicken McNugget pack, along with two large and one medium fries. It’s priced at ¥1,870 or $22.22.

A slightly smaller Family Meal option, for ¥1,700 ($20.20), combines one Big Mac, one chicken sandwich and two five-piece McNuggets packs with two fries. The most expensive option–¥1,990 or $23.64—is 15 McNuggets plus four pieces of chicken and four large fries with “Shake Shake” seasoning packets.

McDonald’s has been refining the multi-person boxed-meal concept for the past two years. It has tried two-person Mates Meals in Australia and presented the idea as a Chicken Box or Snack Box in Europe. Tactically, the idea is simply an extension of the “combo meal,” ensuring that customers purchase higher-margin sides and beverages as well as entrées. Last month, this site predicted that 2013 would be the year that one of the major burger chains would introduce multi-person boxed meals. It’s getting closer.

Red Lobster’s Wood-Grilled Burger

Boston-based UFood Restaurant Group, operator of the “healthy burger” UFood Grill chain, filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on Friday. The company intends to keep operations going as it reorganizes and resolves “its liquidity issues in the face of the slow recovery from the current economic downturn.” Just last month the company announced the resignation of Chairman-CEO George Naddaff and the board’s election of director Richard Golden to succeed him. Another longtime exec, COO Charles Cocotas also stepped down at that time.

UFood Grill, which markets itself with the slogan, “Feel great. Eat smart,” lists 12 locations, half of which are airport units. USDA Choice beef, turkey, veggie and bison burgers are the core of the concept’s menu.

Can burgers rescue the largest seafood chain? Darden Restaurants added a new $7.99 Lunch Specials menu at Red Lobster to buttress the concept’s sales, which were off 2.6% for the fiscal quarter ended in August 2012. One of those lunch specials is a Wood-Grilled Burger. Will Darden’s Olive Garden adopt burgers next?

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