Are Burgers Still King?
By George Anderson
It sounds implausible, but will there come a day when McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food hamburger restaurants sell more chicken than beef?
That may never happen, but it is clear from the numbers included in a USA Today report that consumers are increasingly looking to the national chains and local burger joints for chicken.
Today, 60 percent of chicken bought by consumers in restaurants is through fast feeders. The National Chicken Council says chicken strip sales in fast food restaurants was up 12.5 percent for the one-year period ending Nov. 2004.
McDonald’s is looking to build on this momentum with a national sampling program of its Chicken Selects breast strips. The chain plans to hand out more than 4 million samples between tomorrow and Sunday.
Ron Paul, president of Technomic, told USA Today, “McDonald’s is preparing for the end of America’s love of the burger. The low-carb fad has slowed and so will burger sales.”
Christopher Muller, director of the Center for Multi-Unit Restaurant Management at the University of Central Florida, said of McDonald’s Chicken Selects sampling program. “It will help McDonald’s capture traffic from competitors,” he said. “It will nudge some consumers to switch.”
Moderator’s Comment: Will McDonald’s sampling program be successful in bringing in new consumers to its restaurants to purchase Chicken Selects and other
chicken-based menu items? What lessons are there in this for others in foodservice and retail looking to build chicken or other product sales?
Wade Thoma, vice president of U.S. menu management for McDonald’s said, “People still think of us as a burger place. It will take a long time to convince
people we’re a great chicken place, too.”
According to the National Chicken Council, the typical American will eat 87.5 pounds of chicken this year, up from 78 pounds in 2000. –
George Anderson – Moderator