January Crammed With Hot Fast-Food Deals

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[1], 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[2]) 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[3] 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[4]) 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[5]) 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[6]) 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.[8]

As of this writing, Kyle Woodley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.

  1. recently reported: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2012-01-05/fast-food-deals/52397242/1
  2. YUM: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=YUM
  3. charged with aggravated assault: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/The-Beefy-Crunch-Burrito-incident-1226571.php
  4. PZZA: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=PZZA
  5. WEN: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=WEN
  6. JACK: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=JACK
  7. MCD: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=MCD
  8. USA TODAY‘s report on these and other fast-food deals can be found here.: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2012-01-05/fast-food-deals/52397242/1

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