business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

Barron's had a story over the weekend about how Chipotle, which was severely wounded by a series of food safety problems in a number of locations around the country, may be experiencing a resurgence.

The story says that a company called LikeFolio is reporting that "about 68% of Chipotle’s social media mentions were positive, its best showing since November 2015, before most of the food illnesses were reported. Positive mentions fell as low as 63% (which actually seems surprisingly high!) earlier this year as the company dealt with the outbreak."

LikeFolio evaluates the situation this way: "Customers are reacting to Chipotle’s delicious burritos again, rather than complaining about throwing up. That’s a good thing."

Nothing like setting the bar high...

Business Insider reports that "McDonald's is expanding a test of its most dramatic menu change in decades: the addition of fresh, never-frozen beef ... Switching to fresh beef represents a massive challenge for McDonald's, but one that could potentially pay off through an improved public image and better-tasting burgers.

"The company has long relied on an extensive network of suppliers who make, freeze, and ship beef patties to its more than 14,000 restaurants in the US.
Expanding the test would require a massive shake-up to that supply chain."

The story notes that McDonald's "is adding fresh beef patties to 75 restaurants in Northeast Oklahoma, following a test that started earlier this year in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. The fresh patties will be used in McDonald's Quarter Pounder burgers, which include the Quarter Pounder with cheese, the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese, the Quarter Pounder Deluxe, and the Bacon Clubhouse Burger."

I've always argued that the most important thing that McDonald's needs to do is work on taste. They got the fries right, but if they can make the burgers tastier, it has to help. There may be expanded food safety issues to be dealt with in the use of fresh meat, but it should be work it.
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