McDonald’s hasn’t finished testing new ideas in San Diego. The latest is the addition of a “Signature Sriracha” flavor package with the Signature Crafted Recipes menu it began testing in February. These are burgers customers can customize with one of several flavor/toppings packages. Ask for a Signature Sriracha burger and you get new Sriracha Big Mac special sauce, white Cheddar, crispy onions, a new spinach/kale blend and tomato on your beef or chicken. The chain says the combo of spinach and kale was specifically chosen to balance the spiciness of the sauce.
The other Signature Crafted topping options are Pico Guacamole, Maple Bacon Dijon or Deluxe (tomato, red onion and lettuce). A Sweet BBQ Bacon topping combo also has been tried in some markets.
Said Bob Sutherland, president of San Diego County McDonald’s Owner/Operator’s Association: “The new flavor and Signature Crafted menu are just a few of the many ways we’re changing to meet the evolving needs of our customers—including table service, using Chobani Greek Yogurt in smoothies and parfaits, offering Breakfast Bowls, and more—by giving customers the options they’re asking for.”
A March 2015 study from The NPD Group found that 56% of American homes have hot sauce in their kitchens. At that time, NPD said sriracha was in 9% of homes, but that likely has risen significantly in the past year.
McDonald’s is being even more daring in Finland, where it has introduced Pulled Pork Salads (at l.). Greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, tomato relish and barbecue sauce accompany the pulled pork.
This is part of new summer menu that also includes a BBQ Smokehouse burger (beef with spicy BBQ sauce, bacon, aged Cheddar cheese, lettuce, red onion rings and tomato relish) and a BBQ Smokehouse Chicken with the same toppings.
Boston restaurants are having a good 2016. The average restaurant there has enjoyed revenue of $657,680.93 over the past six months, which is the best among the nation’s 25 largest cities, according to Alignable, a small-business networking firm based in Acton, Mass. In addition to a 4.8% year-over-year increase in revenue during the period, the average Boston restaurant posted a 10.6% rise in transactions (to 14,941), but saw its year-over-year average meal price fall to $44.12 (still the nation’s highest).
San Francisco restaurants have the second-highest average meal price ($40.96); Washington, D.C., restaurants follow Boston with the second highest average six-month revenue ($612,945.76), according to Alignable, which worked with First Data on its report. Austin, Texas, restaurants are the busiest, averaging 17,714 transactions over the six-month period.
On the rise are Memphis restaurants, which saw revenue grow by 30% year-over-year, and Austin restaurants, up 21%.
Meal prices at Phoenix restaurants were up 9% year-over-year on average, by far the biggest jump among the major cities. Los Angeles placed second with a 4% increase. Restaurants in 13 of the Top 25 cities saw their average meal price decline during the December 2015-June 2016 period. Meals at the average Detroit restaurant dropped 6%. Detroit restaurants also averaged the fewest weekly transactions—272—among the top cities.
Alignable gives this caution on understanding the numbers: “Although a great indicator of overall trends, this is just an average, and does not represent the performance of every restaurant in the cities we studied. Over the past six months, the overall revenue for the 25 biggest cities in the U.S. has increased despite some locations experiencing a decrease in the total price per meal ticket. This hike in revenue is likely due to the overall increase in number of total transactions coming through the doors each day.”
Umami Burger announced its first venture outside the U.S. The Los Angeles-based chain has formed a partnership with Japan’s Medeiros Holdings Co., Ltd., calling for development of 10 Umami Burger restaurants across Japan over the next five years. The first restaurant is expected to open in Tokyo by the end of 2016 with future locations in Kanagawa, Osaka, Aichi, Hyogo, Kyoto and Fukuoko prefectures.
This week, Umami Burger opened in Santa Monica, Calif., with some new additions on its menu there. These include a Filipino-style Loco Moco burger (shown below) with a beef patty, rice patty buns, gravy, fried egg and chives. There are also Gochujang & Guava Short Rib Sliders with cucumber, green onion and Thai chili peppers; and Umami Wings with a soy glaze and a shichimi pepper mix.