Pushing Fast Food Like Never Before

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The beginning of the year is a tough time for the fast-food restaurant business, when there’s something of a post-holiday lull, if not a mini backlash. Overeating and overspending among consumers is common during the holidays—and so dieting, scaling back spending, and avoiding fast food is common in the period afterward. Or at least attempts to avoid fast food are common.

As USA Today reports, the major fast food chains sure don’t make it easy on consumers trying to stay away from calories and grease and impulse eats in the new year. Fully aware that this is a slow season for business, and that unemployment remains high—especially among younger people, who represent fast food’s core demographic—nearly every chain is pushing a deal (or four) to tempt diners into the restaurant and up to the counter.

For example:

Two-for-ones. Burger King is touting two-for-one chicken sandwiches (normally $3.79) through Jan. 16. It appeals to customers who don’t want to reach “deeper into their wallets,” says Jonathan Muhtar, vice president of marketing.

Not down for meat? How about:

Cheap pizza. Papa John’s and Pizza Hut have $10 large pizzas. Domino’s has two mediums for $5.99 each.

And for good measure, this one, which has me running to the bathroom just thinking about it:

Big deals. Jack in the Box has a $3.99 Jumbo Deal with a burger, two tacos, fries and a drink.

Also in the department of gluttony, here’s a deal not mentioned in USA Today: the return of IHOP’s all-you-can-eat pancakes. The special costs $4.99, and is available until February 27. Note that with this promotion, the waitstaff will bring diners three pancakes at a time—but only for one sitting. In other words, don’t expect to pay $4.99 for all the pancakes you can eat now through February 27. Now that would be a DEAL.

The beginning of the year is also a popular time to roll out new fast food menu items. (It’s not like there’s an unpopular time to do this.) Nation’s Restaurant News reports on a new Burger King offering that everyone will be talking about soon—either out of revulsion or shock, or perhaps, desire. It’s the BK Stuffed Steakhouse Burger. And what, exactly, is it stuffed with? Bits of jalapeno pepper and cheddar cheese.

That’s right: The cheese and peppers are nestled inside the actual burger, not plopped on top.

Topped with lettuce, tomato, and a creamy poblano sauce, this creation will cost $3.99 and be featured in national advertising starting next week. NRN also says:

The Miami-based burger giant is also promoting the burger on Facebook and inviting fans in three select markets to “stuff” local Burger King units: By showing up at the specified time, date and location, customers will get free stuffed steakhouse burgers while supplies last.

Participating BKs around the country will be selling the new burger through mid-February. By then, perhaps you will have given up on your resolutions to stop blowing money on food that’s not good for you.

RELATED:
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The Rich Eat More Fast Food, Kids See More Fast Food TV Ads, and Other Consumer Trends

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