Fast-food chains appear to have a new bag of tricks, with new promotional deals rolling out to lure in inflation-hit consumers.
Executives at fast-food chains have been grappling with a slump in foot traffic since July. For instance, McDonald’s, KFC, and Taco Bell ended the third quarter with declines of 3.7%, 2.1%, and 1.2%, respectively.
Consumers have been hit hard by inflation, and shifts in spending habits have been reported across multiple industries, including travel, retail, and real estate, as covered by The Dallas Express. Rising interest rates have dampened borrowing and show little sign of abating any time soon, with inflation still hovering at 3.7% in September.
Yet financial strain is not the only thing to blame for lower foot traffic at fast-food restaurants. The impact of appetite-suppressing GLP-1 medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy could also be playing a role. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, retail giant Walmart claimed its bottom line was being affected by weight-loss drugs, with the Arkansas-based company logging lower food sales among consumers known to be taking them.
Investors in fast food and restaurant chains have shown unease in light of such issues, with the stocks of several S&P 500 chains plunging this past quarter.
For instance, Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, reported a 13% drop. Meanwhile, McDonald’s tumbled about 12%, Chipotle dropped roughly 11%, and Starbucks fell about 8%. Their third-quarter earnings reports will not be released until next week.
Within this context, fast food chains have revealed new end-of-year promotional deals aimed at drumming up sales.
McDonald’s Serves Up Free Fries Fridays
Fridays become even brighter for the rest of 2023, with McDonald’s bringing Free Fries Friday back to the table.
Every week for the rest of 2023, the chain will serve up complimentary medium-sized fries to customers who spend at least $1 on an order placed through the McDonald’s app. Those wishing to benefit from this deal must also have contactless payment enabled and be enrolled in the chain’s rewards program.
Domino’s Pitches in for Student Loan Relief
Domino’s Pizza has rolled out an initiative specifically targeting cash-strapped student loan holders. Domino’s Emergency Pizzas for Student Loans allocates $1 million to distributing free medium-sized, two-topping pizzas to those grappling with student loan repayments.
Yup. We’re giving away $1M in FREE Emergency Pizza to help soften the blow of student loan payments resuming. Apply for your chance to win at dominos.com/student-loans. AVAILABLE WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. Open to 50 U.S./D.C., 18+. Daily Offer Periods end at 11:59:59 pm ET, or when Offers are depleted. 4,200+ Offers per period. Limit 1 per person. Restrictions apply. Terms: www.dominosemergencypizzaforstudentloans.com/terms.
Those wishing to benefit from the deal can head to Domino’s website, fill in the application, and await a code via email. There is a daily limit on free pizzas, but the campaign will run until all free pizza codes have been dispatched or November 9, whichever comes first.
Pizza Hut Extends Hours for Night Owls
While not a money-saving deal per se, Pizza Hut announced an extension of its operating hours to cater to the late-night cravings of younger consumers.
Certain U.S. locations will be open until midnight or even 2 a.m. from now on. Customers can order from the complete menu, whether for dine-in, delivery, or takeaway.
Extended hours are expected to bring in significant sales on Halloween, with Chipotle having seen a boost of 30% in orders after 8 p.m. after rolling out a similar initiative two years ago.