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Turnaround report: McDonald’s expands breakfast test; what’d that minion say?

happy meal minion toy

McDonald’s non-effing toys

McDonald’s can’t seem to catch a break. The chain has aligned itself with “Minions,” undoubtedly the hottest movie of the moment. Miniature versions of the flick’s star characters—gibberish-spouting worker beings—are being provided as the premiums in Happy Meals, a strong lure for kids and families to be sure. But some parents turned the offer into a controversy by reporting that the minion figures actually delivered an “F” bomb when squeezed.

At least one video allegedly capturing the cussing was posted on the internet. I’ve listened to it three or four times, and all I hear is undecipherable squawks and squeals. McDonald’s quickly responded to the allegations, saying there’s no profanity programmed into the minion figurines.

No matter. A Google search reveals that 1.5 million comments on the alleged cursing have been posted to date. Sanity’s loss is McDonald’s detriment.

Breakfast test expands

Meanwhile, the burger chain is expanding its test of all-day breakfast service. About 130 restaurants in Kentucky and Tennessee are now offering a limited menu of morning staples through lunch, dinner and popular snack times.

Egg McMuffins are not part of the all-day breakfast menu, but such grill-filling items as pancakes are.

About 100 restaurants in San Diego were the first to try selling breakfast items ‘round the clock.

Olive Garden calls for media review

After sticking with the same ad agency since Don Draper might have worked there, Olive Garden is calling for solicitations.

The Italian chain has invited agencies to bid for the account that has been serviced by Grey Advertising since 1986, when the chain was in its infancy.  Ad Week pegs Olive Garden’s ad budget for the last year at $155 million.

Lack-of-confidence move?

Lloyd Miller, holder of the largest stake in the Cosi fast-casual chain, has been whittling down that investment, a discouraging indication to investors betting on a turnaround. This week Miller sold 6,400 shares, after selling 350,000 in one selling spree and about 362,000 shares shortly beforehand.

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