by Kyle Woodley | January 11, 2012 7:00 am
Fast-food companies face a two-headed monster after every New Year’s Day: empty resolutions and even emptier wallets. While most people who swear off greasy-bag lunches will fall back off the wagon at some point, they’ll spend January testing their self-control — and usually, their holiday overspending will help keep the debit cards sheathed, at least for a month.
So, as USA TODAY recently reported, fast-food companies have to get aggressive. In addition to warding off the January lull, the industry is coming off a 0.6% drop in third-quarter foot traffic, and NPD Group research expects visits to be flat — in the whole first half of 2012! To you and I, that means a solid month of gooey, cheesy, melty, lettuce-y deals.
Here’s a look at the best bargains at a drive-thru near you.
Taco Bell: At the behest of this Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) chain’s clamoring fans across social media, the 99-cent Beefy Crunch Burrito is back. It was a hit upon its 2010 debut, and while it has come and gone at varying prices, the Beefy Crunch Burrito’s originally perfect mix of “cheap,” “filling” and “marginally tasty” picked up a zealous following. So much so that a man was charged with aggravated assault against a public officer in 2011 after firing an air gun at officers — all in response to discovering the burrito’s price was jacked up to $1.49. In the spirit of life, Taco Bell spared us the extra 50 cents this time around.
Papa John’s: The Papa’s making it happen for a little less coin. Large pizzas at Papa John’s (NASDAQ:PZZA) are going for $11 – even specialties! Of course, it’s trumped by …
Pizza Hut: Which is doing the exact same thing for a buck less. And that’s not even Pizza Hut’s best deal by a longshot! For just $9.99 more, Pizza Hut offers the Big Dinner Box — two medium one-topping pizzas, eight wings and five breadsticks. Anyone ordering “just a pizza” is being taken for a sucker.
Wendy’s: The House that Dave Built marches on with its 99-cent value menu, but Wendy’s (NASDAQ:WEN) most recent commercials are pushing a pair of dollar burgers that blur the line of responsibility. The Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe shows a beef patty, a slice of cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce and pickles. The Cheesy Cheddaburger eschews the ground-grown components of Junior for a “layer” of cheddar. Your reward for going veggies? More calories, more carbs, more fat. Go figure.
KFC: Speaking of healthy choices, the Colonel is hacking off $4 from the price of its 10-piece chicken buckets with “$11 Weekend Buckets.” But everyone knows they get you on the sides — no one just sits down to a bucket of drumsticks and calls it a day.
Jack in the Box: The value meal is far from new, but Jack in the Box’s (NASDAQ:JACK) current January deal is the stuff people in the Northeast can only dream about: A Jumbo Jack burger, two tacos, small fries and a small drink for $4.29. That’s right: Burger. Tacos. Same restaurant. And more than half the country is missing out!
Of course, not everyone is trying to lull customers by pulling back prices. Among other plans in the works:
USA TODAY‘s report on these and other fast-food deals can be found here.
As of this writing, Kyle Woodley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.
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