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Food and Beverage

McDonald’s Pranks Aspiring Vegas Performers for Promo Stunt

The concept of a zombie-themed musical extravaganza in Vegas is apparently believable enough to fool a group of theater devotees who happened to be gathering in the general area for an “art walk event”. McDonald’s, Dr. Pepper and Vegas theater The Arts Factory (which has LOTS of vintage bike nights) collaborated on this stunt with, we presume, an agency that will choose to remain nameless.

The purpose of this surprisingly high-budget event was to promote the chain’s new “After Midnight” menu, and the resulting video resembles a collection of clips from “American Idol” rejects.

You’ll have to pardon us for being a bit skeptical…and a little sad for the “crowdsourced” passersby who didn’t seem to realize that it was a joke. Steve Hall of MarketingLand writes:

“To promote ‘Hunger in the Night,’ McDonald’s outreach efforts incorporated advertisements, media support and branded promotional materials, including a wrapped tour bus to attract participants to the open casting.”

That’s quite an effort. We’re not even sure these would-be stars of stage and screen are representative of the target audience for AM munchies. But if the brand needs a PR who can speak to that particular demo, we do have someone in mind…

McDonald’s Voted America’s Least Favorite Fast-Food Chain

mcd's drive throughThe most recent study from the American Customer Service Index shows that McDonald’s is America’s least favorite fast-food chain. For the report, the organization, which measures customer satisfaction in a number of industries, finds that the average customer satisfaction rating is 80 out of 100. Pizza Hut and Papa John’s are two of the few chains that scored the average. Burger King and Taco Bell were below the average (76 and 72 scores respectively). And McDonald’s comes in last with 71.

Also noticeable from the chart: a number of fast-food chains scored below average. Many more this year than last actually.

But when you talk about fast food in America, it’s McDonald’s that’s synonymous. That’s where larger trends become key factors.

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Where’s the Beef? Whole Foods Has 4,000 Pounds of Meat Recalled for Mad Cow

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Moo, damnit!

America is going healthy, which is why stores like Whole Foods Market are so popular these days. I shop there for most of my produce and dead animals (shout out to PETA), but some unfortunate news may cause loyal shoppers like me to reconsider those options for a while.

According to the Los Angeles Times, by way of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there has been a massive two-ton beef recall over fears of possible contamination with substances that could lead to bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

That’s “Mad Cow,” which equals two more words: Crisis communicationsRead more

KFC Asked 3-Year-Old Girl to Leave Because Her Face ‘Scared Customers’

killed your dadI suppose after hearing this story, we will have an answer to the new marketing question #HowDoYouKFC? Answer: Sure as hell not like this.

This unfortunate story hails from Jackson, Miss. inside a KFC location. As the story goes, many people who work hourly shifts at fast-food joints are rumored to be unhappy fops and take it out on customers.

One such simpleton gnome blamed her miserable existence on a girl with a few cuts on her face. The KFC employee asked said girl to leave the store because “[her] scars made the customers nervous.”

Two things: The girl was three. The scars were caused by a pitbull attack. Your move, KFC.

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Starbucks Partners with Duracell to Introduce Wireless Charging Stations

I1402518899000-XXX-San-Jose-2f you’re accustomed to working on your tablet for hours on end at your local Starbucks, but hate crawling surreptitiously underneath strangers’ chairs to access one of the few electrical outlets when your battery dies, the coffee chain’s new partnership with Duracell Powermat was made with you in mind.

Thanks to the scheduled rollout of wireless charging stations, it will soon be even easier for you to stick around and buy that second cup of overpriced coffee without worrying that your device will crap out on you and you’ll actually have to read a book or make conversation (heaven forbid).

The rollout will begin with stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, where customers will be able to simply set their devices down on certain parts of their tabletops to charge them. The company plans to install more that 100,000 such charging stations at Starbucks locations nationwide over the course of the next three years (that’s roughly a dozen per store). Read more

Restaurants Can ‘Review’ Their Own Customers Now

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Restaurants may soon have a chance to ask their customers: how does the shoe feel on the other foot?!

The founder of Dimmi, which is basically the Australian equivalent of OpenTable, told the Good Food blog this week that his service will allow member restaurateurs to share information about specific patrons: how much they order, which dishes and wines they prefer, whether they leave generous tips and even “whether [they] continued to camp out at the table long after [they'd] finished dessert.”

With whom would they share this information? Other restaurants, of course.

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Millennials Are A Big Reason Panera Bread Will Dump The Additives In Its Food By 2016

panera tweetPanera Bread isn’t stopping with the bread. The company has announced that it will rid its food of all artificial additives by the end of 2016. “That means no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives in any of the hundreds of food items it sells,” reports USA Today.

Consumers have become much more cautious about what they eat. With issues like allergies, obesity, and just overall good health at the forefront, restaurants — whether fast food, cafe chains, or anything of the like — that can build a brand on being good for you (or at least not bad for you) have a new and very powerful selling point.

“I want to serve food that I want to eat,” Ron Shaich, founder and CEO of Panera, told the newspaper. Beverages could be next, with high-fructose corn syrup on the chopping block.

Among the ingredients that will be nixed are maltodextrin, ascorbic acid and potassium lactate. If it’s too much like a chemistry class, people will be wary. Panera believes this is especially true for millennials.

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Alleged Bigot Sues Red Lobster, Waitress for Accusing Him of Bigotry

red lobsterLast September, Toni Christina Jenkins was waiting tables at her local Red Lobster in Tennessee when some jackleg fool left an unfortunate, highly racist note in the tip section instead of money (pictured in its original NSFW fashion after the jump).

To wit, Jenkins posted it on Facebook and the thing went viral faster that the flu. And for her efforts to “show that racism was still alive and well,” she was suspended from her job for “violating the company’s policy prohibiting the posting of receipts online.”

Stay classy, Red Lobster.

Anywho, things went very well for Jenkins but the guy who allegedly went all backwoods trailer park on her receipt is suing Red Lobster — and Ms. Jenkins — for $1 million. His claim: She did it.

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QuestLove Clearly Has a Thing for Nilla Wafers

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I’m Old School — no question.

As a disc jockey in a former life, I couldn’t stand new music because it lacked the panache of the classics. Regardless of the genre, I played it, broadcast it, and definitely bobbed my head to it. Anything new, I avoided like a Kardashian does to poor white people.

New music offered me nothing, until the legendary Roots Crew. (And we’re talking long before Jimmy Fallon, like 1989.) Anywho, other than the most underrated lyricist outside of Talib Kweli, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, The Roots are known by the presence of ?uestlove.

Most dig his full afro, mad vibe on beats, and whatever else he likes. Over the weekend, America discovered his affinity for Nilla Wafers…and now, they love those even more.

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THIS JUST IN: Study Says ‘Cheap, Fast Food Could Contribute to Obesity’

THIS JUST IN 2I know, right?!

I mean in this world of microwavable news and drive-thru headlines, you would think this country would not have missed this before now. Fret no longer, fellow Americans. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has put those fears to rest, thanks to its latest press release.

In this “groundbreaking” release, the ACS cites a review that says fast food and its dastardly inexpensive price points are to blame for obesity.

Reasons for this rise in obesity have been suggested in the review, such as “snack food, automobiles, television, fast food, computer use, vending machines, suburban housing developments, and portion size.”

*facepalm*  Read more

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