And on a lighter note, let’s round off the week with some fast-food news, starting off with an item that I know many of you out there have been waiting to hear: Taco Bell is finally rolling out its breakfast menu (although we Canadians can’t get too excited – at this point it looks like the U.S. only for now).
The chain has tested breakfast before, but it’s now poised to add morning items to its 5,600 U.S. restaurants in either 2011 or 2012, according to Meat Trade News Daily, a fine publication I subscribe to (not really). As one fast-food industry analyst opined, the breakfast racket ain’t easy but “the long-term opportunity for Taco Bell is so large, and Taco Bell’s differentiated brand positioning [is] such a potential help, that over the long run we believe that Taco Bell will get it right, creating value for shareholders in the process.”
And what will Taco Bell be serving for breakfast? The Double Ham and Cheddar Melt for $1.79, and the Sausage Skillet or Sausage Skillet Burrito for $2.79; the Potato & Cheese Rollup for 79 cents, three varieties of Breakfast Burritos for 89 cents, and Hash Browns for 99 cents; and products from partner brands such as Cinnabon Delights for $1.49, a Morning Wrap and Morning Biscuit with Jimmy Dean sausages for $1.79, and Seattle’s Best Coffee.
Moving on to news from Taco Bell’s partner in crime KFC (they’re owned by the same company, Yum Brands), the Colonel has caused quite the ruckus in Swaziland by announcing that its meat is halal. Some Christian customers in the Southern African country were concerned by the news because of a misinterpretation of what halal is.
Once again, according to the fine folks at Meat Trade News, the customers believed that KFC’s halal chicken was dedicated to Islam, and the Bible prohibits the eating of “anything dedicated to idols.”
The chain’s franchisees were forced to clear up the situation and explain that in this case, halal only meant that the meat was clean and okay for Muslims and Christians alike to eat. It had always been so, one said, but the official proclamation was necessary for Muslims. I think the franchisee himself best summed up my thoughts on the matter: “KFC is just meat and has nothing to do with religion.”
Speaking of religion, we can’t talk about Taco Bell and KFC without also talking about the last third of Yum’s holy (or unholy) trinity, Pizza Hut. According to the Financial Express, food prices are soaring in India, which is affecting fast-food chains such as Pizza Hut.
The annual cost of food has risen about 13 per cent from last year, which means that Pizza Hut is having to increase its prices by about 4 to 5 per cent. An executive for the chain in India said Pizza Hut has managed to keep prices down for 18 months despite rising food costs, but it now has no choice.
Okay, consider yourself all caught up on fast-food news. Enjoy your pizza, tacos and chicken over the weekend!
(By the way, still no Double Down in Canada. John Bitove, if you’re reading this… I’m just sayin’)