Beef prices squeeze chains

When you're running a fast-food business and the price of ground beef shoots up by anywhere from 14 percent to 32 percent, what do you do? Raise prices, of course. But the big chains aren't planning to raise prices because they don't want to lose customers. Industry leader McDonald's says it will suck up the increases, which means the smaller competitors have no choice but to follow suit. From the WSJ:

Jack in the Box Inc. recently began selling deli-style sandwiches with turkey, salami and ham. Other chains are seeking to boost profits with premium drinks and other higher-margin menu items, most of which don't include beef.


Wendy's, once famous for its "Where's The Beef?" advertisements, is focusing on promoting a new flavor of "boneless wings" and planning to launch a new line of premium salads later in the summer. Burger King, meanwhile, is readying a limited-time launch of bone-in pork ribs.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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