Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Root beer, roast beef, fish & chips: Who’s buying?


There’s a new batch of quick-service restaurants on the block – Arby’s, A&W and Long John Silver’s – and according to YouGov BrandIndex, A&W is the most popular of the three.

A&W, founded in 1919 and known for its root beer, had the trio’s highest satisfaction rates, said YouGov BrandIndex, which does daily consumer perception research on brands. 

A&W and Arby’s had higher satisfaction scores than an average of about two dozen fast-food chains, while Long John Silver’s fared worse. (See graphic below)

“A&W and Arby’s have a core group of supporters and satisfied customers,” said Ted Marzilli, global managing director for YouGov BrandIndex. “If I’m a buyer, that’s a strength.”

Check Out Line: Burger King goes for a pricey $3.26 billion


BURGERKINGCheck out Burger King agreeing to be bought for $3.26 billion.

Burger King is letting itself be bought out by the relatively unknown New York-based private equity firm, 3G Capital, for $3.26 billion, or $24 per share, net of debt.

That is a Whopper (sorry, we couldn’t resist) of a premium – 46 percent – over Burger King’s stock price earlier this week, before all this buyout chatter started.

Why Carl’s Jr is happier in L.A.


carlshappyHere’s another reason to love L.A.

The city’s downtown business district is home to the only Carl’s Jr restaurants that serve beer.

“We market to the young, hungry male. He’s also thirsty,” said Julie McLean, a spokeswoman for the chain, which has used controversial celebrities like Paris Hilton to push its generously-portioned, indulgent hamburgers.

Check Out Line: Weak euro to take bite out of McDonald’s too


mcd1Check out the weak euro’s latest victim.

McDonald’s reported better-than-expected global sales in May at stores open at least 13 months, but warned that full-year profits would be hit by unfavorable currency exchange rates, specifically calling out the euro.

 The No. 1 hamburger chain gets about one quarter of its operating income from the euro zone, and that region will result in foreign exchange rates hurting the full-year profit instead of being slightly positive as it previously forecast. However, the company said that issue would not affect second-quarter results and the European stores posted far stronger-than-expected May sales, so the real impact of the weak euro is still to come.

Check Out Line: A smorgasbord of consumer earnings to parse


tide1Check out the smorgasbord of quarterly earnings in the consumer sector.

Among the many companies to report earnings on Thursday were P&G, Burger King, OfficeMax, Colgate,  Fortune Brands, Bunge, Kellogg, Safeway and Mead Johnson. As usual, there was something for investors of all stripes.

P&G, for example, posted a better-than-expected profit, helped by its biggest volume gain in more than four years. That would please the optimists.

Check Out Line: Snow’s impact in the eye of beholder


snow1Check out the the bad and the good of the severe weather last month.

In the bad camp are restaurant chains Ruby Tuesday and Burger King, which both blamed the bad weather for keeping diners away.

Squarely in the good camp was sporting goods retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods, which posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong demand for cold weather gear.

Check Out Line: Twilight’s return to a burger near you


USA/Check out Burger King’s bite from the vampire.

The hamburger chain said it will sponsor the third Twilight movieThe Twilight Saga: Eclipse - after the success it saw with its tie-in to the second one, The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

Burger King said fans can expect more exclusive access but was quiet about details.  Last time around, Twihards got goodies such as Bella, Edward and Jacob-themed gift cards and New Moon water bottles.

Check Out Line: Trading the $1 burger for the $3 latte


mcdCheck out profits rising at McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain.

But while profits rose, the results showed the chain’s U.S. business continued to lag its international operations.  U.S. same-store sales rose 1 percent in December, after two months of declines. Globally, same-store sales rose 2.3 percent for the quarter and 2.7 percent in December.

Applebee’s and Nutrisystem share pitchman


berman1Celebrities often lend their name recognition to big brands, but sometimes such advertising can be downright confusing.

Take the companies ESPN anchor Chris Berman is pitching these days: Applebee’s restaurants and weight loss center Nutrisystem. 

Check Out Line: Global downturn – burger division


Check out the slumping global economy for burgers. FOOD BURGERKING
Burger King said it had an unexpected slowdown in traffic in March, which cut into the margins at the company’s restaurants.
The biggest culprits were Germany, the company’s second-largest market, and Mexico, the only market in Latin America where the company owns restaurants.
Burger King is attacking the traffic decline with “value” menus. In Germany, it is offering “King Deals,” which are “value-priced” combo meals. It has also relaunched the 99 euro value menu and is also opening more during breakfast.
In Mexico, the company is promoting its “Come Como Rey” (Eat Like a King) value menu. Apparently in Mexico, kings eat Whopper Jr.’s. (Or is that Whoppers Jr.?)
The company said it is seeing some improvement in April. 
Also in the basket:
Wal-Mart CEO doesn’t see quick end to the recession
Consumers prices fall as energy demand slumps 
Apparel firms partner with Yankee stadium (WWD, subscription required)

(Photo: Reuters)