McDonald’s this week has escalated the burger battle in Europe with a bold one-two-three menu punch that competitors will be hard-pressed to match. In France, the chain’s “World Tour” promotion simultaneously adds three innovative new platforms:
● There’s a bit of cumin added to the ground beef and a slightly spicy sauce that give the new Oriental Spicy burger a flavor twist. More importantly, this is McDonald’s first burger to be served on pita bread.
● Its first burger on a bagel is the American & Bacon, topped with Cheddar and, yep, bacon.
The push comes as the importance of European sales increases for both McDonald’s and Burger King. McDonald’s domestic sales have been strong, with same-store sales at +4.4% through the first 10 months of 2010. But Europe has shown even more strength: year-to-date same-store sales are +4.5%. In October, European sales were up 5.8%, thanks especially to strength in France, the UK and Russia.
Burger King announced a 1.7% decline in global comp sales for its latest quarter thanks to a 4.2% dip in North America. Its Europe/Asia segment has positive comps (+1.4%). Burger King, too, has been aggressive with menu development in Europe. Among current limited-time items are bone-in chicken wings (King Wings) and Cheesy Bacon Nuggets in Germany and beef, chicken and veggie wraps in the UK.