Burger King, Wendy's, McDonald's, and Yum! Brands: 4 Important Changes

New payment platforms, management changes, and new products dominate the headlines in the fast food industry.

Apr 2, 2014 at 4:00PM

Established fast-food companies face serious headwinds in the form of intense competition from fast-casual chains, bad publicity stemming from China's bird flu scare, and changing consumer tastes and patterns of consumption. Recently, fast-food chains Burger King (NYSE:BKW), Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN), McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) made some announcements that shed light on their future.

Mobile payments
In a dual attempt to cater to a consumer base increasingly comfortable with making purchases on their mobile phones and to increase traffic efficiency, Burger King and Wendy's made successive announcements that they will begin taking mobile payments, according to Nation's Restaurant News. Wendy's reported a greater number of visits during tests, according to the Associated Press. The format for both Wendy's and Burger King will generate a number to be given by the customer to the cashier, which means customers will not need to hold up a device to a scanner.

The conversation in the media emphasized the lack of an app from industry leader McDonald's, which claims that it wants to get things perfected before release.  McDonald's executives gave indication that it may need to release "some things" sooner rather than later and work out the bugs as they go, serving as indication that McDonald's is running way behind in this race. 

McDonald's news
Tim Fenton, the chief operating officer of McDonald's, will retire effective October 1.. McDonald's will eliminate the COO role, with duties being divided between the CFO and its chief brand officer. The regional executives in charge of the United States, Europe, and APMEA (Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa) areas will report directly to CEO Don Thompson, eliminating a layer of red tape and a high-salaried position.

Management turnover such as this generally means that investors should stay alert and pay attention to changes good or bad in the near future.

In other McDonald's news, in order to lure customers away from competing chains specializing in coffee, McDonald's has decided to offer customers a small McCafe coffee from March 31 to April 13 free of charge.

Yum! Brands in the spotlight
Yum! Brands garnered a great deal of attention last week when its Taco Bell subsidiary released its much-anticipated breakfast menu. Taco Bell will now open at 7 a.m. to offer things such as waffle tacos, breakfast burritos, Crunchwraps, and orange juice, according to the press release. Everything on the menu comes with a price tag of less than $5. Taco Bell launched a sort of in-your-face marketing campaign featuring people named Ronald McDonald endorsing the new Taco Bell breakfast.  

Yum! Brands also decided to introduce a revamped KFC menu in China in an effort to reengage customers after the bird flu scare in that country last year. The company press release says that KFC China will update its menu at least once a year. This year, KFC China will introduce 15 new products, including chicken sandwiches, rice dishes, and desserts. 

Looking ahead
Wendy's and Burger King's acceptance of mobile payments will most likely boost traffic efficiency, resulting in higher volume and increased customer satisfaction -- in turn resulting in top- and bottom-line growth serving as catalysts for capital gains and dividend increases for its shareholders. When it comes to McDonald's, a lack of a mobile payment platform, management restructuring, and promotions only mean that it's grasping at straws for a new strategy to stay relevant. Yum! Brands indicates it wants to move forward from past issues with product and menu innovations. The restaurant industry is competitive, and companies must innovate in order to stay relevant. 

More companies innovating to make you rich
The one sure way to get wealthy is to invest in a groundbreaking company that goes on to dominate a multibillion-dollar industry. Our analysts have found multibagger stocks time and again. And now they think they've done it again with three stock picks that they believe could generate the same type of phenomenal returns. They've revealed these picks in a new free report that you can download instantly by clicking here now.

William Bias owns a share of Burger King Worldwide and shares of McDonald's. The Motley Fool recommends Burger King Worldwide and McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers