Taco Bell Discontinues Kids Meals as McDonald's & Burger King are Accused of Misleading Marketing

PLOS One, a scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science just released a study accusing fast food giants McDonald’s and Burger King of “potentially misleading” when marketing to kids. According to the study, movies and toys as opposed to the food are predominantly marketed. Dr. James Sargent (one of the six researchers), a professor of pediatrics in Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine, commented, “when we first saw the ads, we were shocked. It’s hard to tell with the kids ads what they are marketing; food was an afterthought.”
National TV advertisement from July of 2009 to June of 2010 revealed that McDonald’s accounted for 70 percent of fast foods ads targeted at kids. Burger King accounted for 29 percent making the two almost the Restaurant POS Point of Sale Now.jpgsole fast food advertisers intended for children. Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Niktoons  were the channels utilized about 80 percent of the time for such ads.
Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CRAU) which offers guidelines to the industry on advertising states, “since children have difficulty distinguishing product from premium, advertising that contains a premium message should focus the child’s attention primarily on the product and make the premium message clearly secondary.” Referring to CARU, Dr. Sargent commented, “the industry’s own guidelines say companies need to be careful with premiums and tie-ins because children aren’t capable of fully understanding them,” however, CARU director Wayne Keeley questioned the study’s methodology and explained, “CARU does not require that a specific number of frames be focused on the food versus the premium and certainly the fact that ads directed to adults may show food images in a larger size than a child-directed ad is not dispositive. The content of the entire ad and net impression guide CARU’s determinations.”
Fast food restaurant including smaller franchises have been catering to the kids demographic for years. The timing of this study interestingly coincides with Taco Bell’s, a division of Yum! Brands, Inc. which also is partner to KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), Pizza Hut, Wing Street, and Long John Silver’s & A&W Restaurants in 2011, announcement earlier in June the elimination of its kids meal. The franchise’s decision ItsYourTurnwas a strictly business decision as Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed bluntly stated, “The future of Taco Bell is not about kids meals. This is about positioning the brand for Millennials.” Taco Bell is the first major fast food chain to drop its kids meals; however, this menu items only accounted for less than one percent of total sales. Senior analyst at restaurant POS company Sintel System who engage in franchise related data analysis were not surprised by Taco Bell’s move. One staff member commented “no one considers Taco Bell a major participant in the kids meal arena when it comes to QSR [quick service restaurant] given the dominance of such giants as McDonald’s and Burger King where happy meals account for roughly 10 percent of total. Product sales which run in the low single digits typically have much lower margins or are losses for the company, so Taco Bell just improved its margins by the elimination.” While Taco Bell was not included in the PLOS One study, one cannot see it as good timing on the public relations front.
In making its decision, Taco Bell utilized sales data generated by the point of sale (POS) systems throughout its franchise network to gauge the sale of kids meals. The sales data is generated locally at each restaurant and sent back to Taco Bell Corporate Headquarters in Irvine, Ca where periodic franchise royalties and marketing fees are also calculated.
Sintel Systems, a provider of point of sale (POS) systems to the restaurant industry including the Model5iMidnightvarious Mexican restaurants (from neighborhood taqerias to franchisees) serving burritos, tacos, tostadas and other tasty Mexican food, assists its growing customers success in turning POS data into strategic decisions. A true single source POS provider, Sintel Systems focuses on offering its restaurant (including the even growing gourmet burger market) clients which allows large franchises to grow and provides startups the foundation for future growth. The company credits its growth in the Central and South American countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, and Chile in its ability to deliver full service analytical POS services to emerging markets.
While the brains and functionality of a POS system are paramount to any restaurant operator, as the innovating leader the company has taken a leap in also placing an emphasis on design on a style starved market that has had to desperately turn to iPAD or tablet consumer products for enterprise solutions. Recently, Sintel Systems released its newest 5i POS intended for a variety of retail and service customers seeking style. The company offers various tablet solutions, but places an importance on understanding its clients’ needs instead of simply an iPAD.
Need help starting a restaurant? Call Sintel Systems first at 855-POS-SALE and let them help. Contact Sintel Systems