McDonald’s Skinner Talks Profits, McCafe and Smoothies

It was more than two years ago when McDonald’s Corp. announced its McCafe initiative, a plan to bring better beverages into its stores. After the successful launch of its drip coffee and espresso drinks, the world’s largest burger chain is now setting its sights on the second phase of the plan — cold drinks like smoothies and frappes. CEO Jim Skinner updated investors on how the effort is progressing during an earnings conference call on Friday.

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Uh oh, McDonald’s will offer free Wi-Fi

The Seattle PI reports that fast food chain McDonald’s announced today that in mid-January it will begin offering free Wi-Fi to customers — something Starbucks will do only for latte lovers with Starbucks cards, and only for two hours a day. Why free it up? Because McDonald’s wants to become a hangout, just like its rival.

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Nigel Travis on CNBC: Economy & Increased Competition

Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, has seen increased competition lately with McDonald’s McCafe and Tim Horton’s growing presence in the US. Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin Donuts, discusses the company’s outlook with CNBC.

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What’s Eating McDonald’s

Matthew Boyle writes in Businessweek that McDonalds strength through the recession was much ballyhooed, but now sales are slipping . You’d think McDonald’s (MCD) would be a can’t-miss recession play for global investors. Yet shares of the fast-food giant are flat in 2009 during one of the most dramatic stock rallies in history. While the burger giant keeps growing overseas, same-store sales in the U.S., where McDonald’s generates half its operating profits, dipped 0.1% in October and are likely to stay weak for the rest of the year. In response, McDonald’s will soon launch a dollar breakfast menu and add smoothies to its lineup.

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Starbucks CEO: McDonald’s McCafe Launch Made Starbucks Better

Reuters in USA Today reports that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said McDonald’s McCafe launch earlier this year made the cafe chain better. Starbucks (SBUX) executives have repeatedly said that the world’s largest hamburger chain’s entry into the market for espresso-based drinks, the first competitive pressure Starbucks had faced in the niche it pioneered, had no impact on Starbucks’ business. But comments beyond that have been few and far between

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McDonald’s October Same-Store Sales up, U.S. Slips

Lisa Baertlein and Jessica Wohl report at ABC News that McDonald’s Corp said sales at established U.S. restaurants fell 0.1 percent in October, as expected, but its stock ticked up 1.5 percent after sales from the rest of the world buoyed overall results. McDonald’s, which has been outperforming its peers, had signaled last month that U.S. October sales would be weak.

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McDonald’s Preparing to Take Breakfast Dollar Menu Nationwide

Mike Hughlett reports in the Chicago Tribune that McDonald’s Corp. appears to be planning to mate its popular dollar menu with its equally popular breakfast menu in a nationwide promotion, and not just in Chicago and a few other markets where it currently exists, according to documents obtained by the Tribune.

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McDonald’s Cautions on October sales

Mark Brandau reports in Nation’s Restaurant News that after posting another quarter of positive sales trends and profit growth, McDonald’s Corp. said October could be the month when its momentum finally falters in the face of the U.S. recession.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Looks to New Executives to Keep Up Buzz

Emily Bryson York reports in Advertsing Age that Dunkin’ Donuts is working with a new house blend: It’s got a new president, chief marketer and operations manager. Nigel Travis, who has been transitioning into the president-CEO role, has also hired new heads of communication and human resources. John Costello, Dunkin’ Donuts’ new marketing chief “It sounds to me like they’re looking for some fresh perspective and insights from the marketplace and not the just from the coffee and doughnut space,” said Technomic’s Darren Tristano. “After awhile, getting a fresh perspective on a pretty old brand can’t hurt.

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McDonald’s Profit Tops View, Sales Soar

Epoch Times reports that McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant chain, said third-quarter profits jumped to $1.3 billion, exceeding last year’s results and beating analyst estimates.

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