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It's Fryday: McDonald’s tests new foods, technologies, image

November 11, 2011 | 10:17 am

Mcdonalds
McDonald’s Corp.’s so-called “Plan to Win” is stacked with heavy expansion and remodeling efforts as well as a slew of new menu items, executives told investors this week.

At Investor Day on Thursday, the fast-food giant said it intends to spend $2.9 billion opening more than 1,300 new restaurants next year while also remodeling 2,400 existing locations.

Even as it projects commodity costs to rise up to 5.5% in the U.S. next year, McDonald’s says it’s drawing more customers –- up 3.3% so far this year and 10% over the past two years to 64 million visitors a day.

“This is a testament to our ability to grow our share and to stay relevant at a time when consumers are keeping a tighter grip on their pocketbooks and their expectations of leading global brands like ours continue to rise,” chief operating officer Don Thompson told investors.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain, which recently re-released its cult favorite McRib pork sandwich, also said it would start building out its technological capabilities with mobile ordering systems, “McDelivery” options and even in-store kiosks for customers to use to choose meals and pay.

The menu could see more additions soon, with an English-style “Pub Burger” under development and a retro-inspired “1955 Burger” spreading across Europe.

Executives also said they’re considering expanding on ideas such as large chicken wraps and popcorn chicken.

This week, the chain unveiled two limited-time seasonal beverages -– the McCafe Peppermint Mocha and the Peppermint Hot Chocolate.  Thompson also discussed test items such as the slushie-like Cherry Berry Chiller and the Magnum McFlurry dessert.

Today, McDonald’s is taking advantage of the palindromic date by launching billboards featuring six fries lined up to mimic 11/11/11, or “Fryday,” according to the Crain’s publication.

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McDonald’s income up 9% to $1.5 billion on new menus, modernization

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo credit: Tim Boyle / Getty Images

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