Breakfast was once the bright spot for fast-food franchises, with sales of items like French Toast Sticks, Croissan’Wiches, and Breakfast Burritos growing 64 percent between 2003 and 2007. But then the recession hit and unemployment climbed to 10 percent. So what happened to breakfast sales? They fell off a cliff, reports the Washington Post. When you’ve got no job to go to, it stands to reason that you won’t be waking up at 7 a.m. for an Egg McMuffin. Chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, 7-Eleven and Denny’s are desperately trying to breathe new life into breakfast. McDonald’s recently added five breakfast items to its dollar menu, while 7-Eleven has rolled out its own $1 breakfast sandwich. Meanwhile, Burger King is dumping its BK Joe coffee brand and replacing it with Starbucks Corp.’s Seattle’s Best Coffee. We all know how important it is to start the day off with a good breakfast. But for fast-food chains it could be a matter of life and death. At McDonald’s, for instance, breakfast accounts for one-quarter of all sales, and an estimated 35 percent of its profit. Clearly, breakfast is not a meal it wants customers to miss.
Mmm, donuts. Want to get breakfast sales to sizzle like a side of bacon? Try selling pork-flavored donuts. That’s what fast-food entrepreneur Patrick Lin is doing in China. Forget about honey glaze and rainbow sprinkles. Lin’s donuts come with toppings like red spaghetti sauce, spicy beef and seaweed flakes. “The American-style doughnut doesn’t sell well in China because it’s too much like bread,” Lin told the Assoicated Press. “It just won’t be accepted.” Dunkin’ Donuts found that out the hard way. The company’s first foray into China over a decade ago ended in abject failure. DD is now trying again, with plans to open some 100 franchise locations in Shanghai over the next 10 years. But will it embrace Lin’s philosophy of tailoring the product to local tastes? The answer is yes. Dunkin’ has just introduced a new donut with pork filling. Mmm.
Who is America’s top chef? It’s not Rick Bayless, Thomas Keller, Anthony Bourdain, or any other celebrity chef with a cooking show. Actually, it’s the guy responsible for Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets. His name is Daniel Coudreau and no less than Time Magazine says he’s the most influential chef in America. Officially, Coudreau is “Director of Culinary Innovation, Menu Management” at Mickey D’s, but he prefers to go by Chef Dan. And, despite evidence to the contrary, the guy has some serious chops in the kitchen. He trained at the Culinary Institute of America and was head chef at the Four Seasons Resort in Dallas. These days he’s whipping up new concoctions, like the Mac Wrap, that are keeping the burger chain hip and current. As for whether he’s really America’s top chef, keep this little factoid in mind: 26 million Americans eat his food each day.