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The fast-food giant’s revamped packaging shows it’s still too timid to fully adapt to the times

This is shaping up to be the year of the fast-food rebrand. First, Burger King unveiled a sharply executed redesign on January 7, announcing a total revamp across the entire brand, from its logo and packaging design to an updated digital and social media presence. It was an immediate smash hit, nodding back to the company’s classic 1969 logo while signaling the brand’s transition into a more digital-friendly brand. Less than a month later, on February 16, Burger King’s archrival McDonald’s followed suit and revealed a fresh new take on its product packaging. …


From the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish to the new Popeyes Cajun Flounder, the battle of the fish has become a spring tradition

A photo illustration of a generic fish sandwich wearing a crown, placed on a pedestal.
A photo illustration of a generic fish sandwich wearing a crown, placed on a pedestal.

Gastro-nomics is a new column about the intersection of food, business, and culture.

Around this time each year, drugstores lay their pastel eggs, Peeps appear in bins for impulse buys, and enormous hams take center stage in deli cases across America. If Easter-themed products are a neon-colored commercial iceberg, there’s also a lesser-seen segment swimming below the surface. I’m talking about fish sandwiches.

Typically, in the late-winter weeks following the Super Bowl, restaurant chains around the United States begin to unveil their seasonal fish offerings. And this year was no exception, with new sandwiches from several big chains, including Popeyes…

Restaurants are pivoting to drive-thrus—but it’s a foreboding economic indicator

If you’re looking to find somebody who is optimistic about the future, you might want to ask a McDonald’s franchisee. According to the latest survey of that group by Kalinowski Equity Research, they’re more upbeat than they have been in over a decade. The caveat is that they’re optimistic about the future of McDonald’s.

And Mickey D’s, which saw Q3 U.S. sales rise 5% and shares rise over 16% for the year, isn’t alone. …

Black customers and business owners have long loved the franchise, but does it love them back?

In 1979, McDonald’s ran a print ad aimed squarely at the African American marketplace. The headline read “Do Your Dinnertimin’ at McDonald’s” and let black customers know “you don’t have to get dressed up” and “there’s no tipping.” The ad resurfaced a few years ago and took a proper fisking in the Atlantic and NPR’s Code Switch for its then-stereotypical, now-racist portrayal of black vernacular, attire, and eating and spending habits. It’s as the internet kids say, “problematic” at best when seen through 21st-century eyes.

Georgetown Professor of History and African American studies Marcia Chatelain agrees that modern analysis of…

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