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Food and Beverage

Pizza Hut Is Getting Fancy and Fit for November 19 Rebrand

CherryPepperBombshellPizza Hut has announced the date — November 19 — when they’re going to introduce to the world five new “drizzles” (balsamic vinaigrette among them), 10 new crusts (one with Asiago cheese) and six sauces (including honey sriracha). There’s also going to be a Skinny Slice that has 250 calories. There’s even going to be a new pizza box and logo. So the company is really going all out.

USA Today is calling it the biggest rebrand in Pizza Hut’s 56-year history. The company’s CMO Carrie Walsh tells the newspaper, “We’re redefining the category.”

But when you look at the top comment on the Pizza Hut Facebook page, it’s from a customer asking them to bring back the Bigfoot pizza.

Is the world ready for Pizza Hut with sriracha?

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Olive Garden Gets Its Super Size Me Moment With ‘Never Ending Pasta Pass’

olive garden pasta passPeople got so excited about the Olive Garden “Never Ending Pasta Pass” that they sold out in 45 minutes back in September. Yay! So much pasta! But we all knew this wasn’t going to end well right? Right.

A Business Insider staffer got his hands on one — $100, 49 days, all the pasta you can eat with breadsticks, salad and Coke beverages — and went to work. Well, he went to Olive Garden. And started to get sick after the first 20 days.

Word to the wise: Any restaurant, food or beverage company that’s thinking of doing an all-you-can eat special should probably think twice.

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McDonald’s Not Going with ‘Lovin’ Beats Hatin” After All

So your friendly neighborhood chain restaurant isn’t too happy about its marketing secrets being leaked…especially when they’re not true. Last week we told you that McDonald’s was going to make its “rebrand” public next year with the tagline “Lovin’ Beats Hatin.’”

Now, however, the brand is pushing back. A spokesperson told Businessweek that the phrase wasn’t supposed to leak and that it might never appear anywhere at all — even on social! That said, the company has sought to trademark the remarkably similar phrases “Lovin’ > Hatin’” and “Lovin’ Is Greater Than Hatin’” (in case you needed it spelled out).

We can’t figure out how this sentiment could play into McDonald’s plans to reinvent itself. Does the brand simply want to encourage its customers to be better people, or does it want to ask the world why everyone’s always pickin’ on McD?

Lovin’ may beat hatin’, but do you know what beats both of ‘em? Questions. Questions like, “Why is the McRib seasonal?”

We would tell you that someone wrote an entire Simpsons plotline explaining the strategy, but director of PR Molly McKenna Jandrain already did it for us. SPOILER: people like exclusive stuff.

Why is McDonald’s so cheap?” is another good one if you like one-word answers that begin and end with “bulk.”

Don’t Be Fooled By The Taste: Fireball Isn’t Just a Bottle of Antifreeze, Says Fireball

fireball videoFireball, the cinnamon-flavored whisky that recently played a starring role in a GoPro wedding video, has been pulled from store shelves abroad for containing too much of a chemical that’s also found in antifreeze.

Finland, Sweden and Norway have nixed Fireball over the level of propylene glycol in it, though here in the US, you can still buy it at your leisure. Usually, the formula for Fireball that’s sent to Scandinavia doesn’t contain this chemical. But a batch accidentally shipped.

Here in the US, the chemical is allowed and people have been drinking it liberally up to this point. But if there are a number of countries raising a red flag, it might prompt people to reconsider those nasty shots.

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McDonald’s Will Launch a Weird New Tagline Next Year

McDonald’s just reported some pretty bad numbers — a drop of 4.1 percent in same-store sales — so, of course, they want to turn things around. Faced with changing tastes and the behemoth known as Chipotle, McD’s is looking to help turn things around with its marketing.

Chipotle touts the conditions under which their food is raised, winning a Cannes PR award this year for its campaign promoting its sustainable methods. On top of that, hello, burrito bowls. People love burrito bowls so much, it’s actually having an impact on many fast-food dining menus.

In response, we’ve already seen a McDonald’s ad in which people on the street ask about pink slime and what’s in the McNuggets. On their YouTube page, McD’s has a video showing where their food comes from and how it’s made.

Next up will be a new tagline in some new ads. The company is adding to its “I’m Lovin’ It” motto with “Lovin’ Beats Hatin’,” which makes no sense.

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Q&A: Targeting the ‘Conscious Consumer’


Last week, Edelman’s second annual brandshare survey told us that a large majority of consumers (83 percent) aren’t satisfied by their “relationships” with brands. They want more in the way of information, but they feel like brands are only out to promote themselves.

This is especially true in the food/health space, where concerns about safety and nutrition occupy the minds of many.

Gibbs & Soell and rbb Public Relations recently joined forces to create New York-based Gibbs-rbb, a joint venture designed to target this very sort of “conscious consumer.” The new firm then produced a study that we discussed with managing director Jeffrey R. Graubard.

By the firm’s own estimate, the “conscious consumer” market was worth $120B in 2013. It’s growing quickly — and its members are willing to spend more money to get the kind of products they prefer.

So how do we reach them? Findings, questions and answers after the jump.

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Wheaties, Redefining ‘Champion,’ Puts Madeleine Albright on the Box

Well that’s a curve ball, isn’t it? Usually, when you’re sitting down to a bowl of Wheaties, the face staring out from the box belongs to a sports figure.

The cereal decided to go in a different direction this time around by putting Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State, on a commemorative box. And the former Madame Secretary celebrated with the tweet above. According to Wheaties, they’re now defining what it means to be a champion by a different set of standards.

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Guy Fieri Restaurant Thriving Despite One of the Worst Reviews in History

guy fieriRemember that time The New York Times‘ Pete Wells went all the way off in a restaurant review of celebrity chef Guy Fieri‘s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square?

“Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?” Wells asked, one of a lengthy series of over-the-top questions that made up the entirety of the article.

“Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?… Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste?” it continues. It is brutal poetry.

Despite the acerbic review, that restaurant is one of the top moneymakers in all of New York, proving that people on vacation really don’t care what they eat so long as they don’t have to do the dishes.

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Chipotle Sticks Its Organic Nose Up at Pizza-Making Italians Everywhere

Chipotle PizzaEditor’s Note: Possibly not a Chipotle official photo. Also, possibly not an Editor’s Note.

Late last year, the progenitors of fast-casual food with a little added integrity decided that, because the burrito business has done them a solid for a minute, it was time to bring the Chipotle mania to another sector: pizza.

Much to the chagrin of the little box delivery chains across this great land of ours, Chipotle’s presence on the pizza scene is a legitimate threat. And although there are no holes to shoot in Chipotle’s dough, the burrito giants have decided to throw down.

Almost a year later, here’s the shot fired: Pizza people, you’re doing it wrong!

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Crumbs Is Back, Now with More Than Just Cupcakes

As promised, Crumbs is back. The former cupcake shop that went bust back in July has been resurrected by Dippin’ Dots owner Fischer Enterprises and CNBC host Marcus Lemonis after a $6.5 million deal that closed in August. The relaunch began in New York City today with 25 additional locations set to open in the next month. There are two new cupcake flavors – Sweet Pete’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcake and Key West Key Lime Pie Cupcake — along with the Cronut-like Crumbnut, a bagel/croissant called the Baissant, a line of cookies and a chocolate bar and frozen desserts including dessert bars.

Choosing National Dessert Day to reopen its first store is a smart play. But did Crumbs do enough to change the outcome this time around? Read more