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.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

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.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

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. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of 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. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers