McDonald’s Australian operation is determined to offer a “gourmet” breakfast. It loves that word. The latest attempt is the national introduction of a pair of “Gourmet Brekkie Rolls,” a pair of café-style morning sandwiches that look appealing, gourmet or not.
The Smokey BBQ Roll is a soft brioche-style bun with two bacon strips, a freshly cracked fried egg, BBQ sauce, Cheddar-style cheese, tomato slice and grilled onions. The Tomato Relish Roll combines the fried egg, two bacon strips, baby spinach, tomato slice and tomato onion relish on the same brioche-style bun.
Recall that last July, McDonald’s tested a “Gourmet Breakfast” menu in a few Australian markets. The menu included a Bacon and Egg Roll (bacon, egg, spinach and tomato relish on a toasted brioche-style bun) that was similar to was has made the national menu now. Also offered were a “Café Breakfast” platter (toasted sourdough bread, bacon, two chipolata (pork) sausage links, scrambled eggs, wilted spinach, grilled tomatoes, a hash brown patty and tomato relish); Belgian waffles with yogurt and fruit; avocado toast; a corn fritter platter and more.
How pervasive is the discounting/bundling value competition among burger chains? The NPD Group has quantified it: The average deal rate (percent of visits where an item was purchased on a deal) for QSRs of all types is 26%, but among burger chains offering combo meals such as McDonald’s revised McPick 2 for $5, 35% of visits are on deal. So if it feels like the burger arena is especially competitive right now, well, it is.
But the dealing works; consumers are coming for it. NPD says the increased deal rate for burger chains resulted in more than 100 million additional combo meals and a 1% increase in visits to QSR burger burger restaurants during the 1 months ended February 2016 compared with a year ago.
Some chains have found that they decline to play the discount game at their own peril. In March, Jack in the Box Chairman-CEO Len Comma told analysts it was too slow to recognize and adjust to the level of discounting. “Heightened competitive discounting in the latter part of the quarter hurt our results,” he said then, vowing to join the dealing. “We will get significantly more aggressive on the discounting side to be competitive,” he said, and Jack has.
But as operators know, consumers who go where they find the best deals aren’t the most loyal customers. NPD says “many of those who took advantage of the combo meal deals were value seekers and visited multiple chains to take advantage of all of the deals.”
At its franchisee convention this month, Brian Blosser, VP-Construction and Development for Southeast regional burger chain Krystal, announced plans for “refreshing and remodeling the system, one market at a time.” Augusta, Ga., is the first to get market-wide remodeling. The company says the modernized stores feature “a vibrant color package, LED lighting, enhanced digital menu board and artwork that is modern but maintains the brand’s heritage.” The new design is shown below.