McDonald's is adding new bakery items for the first time in a nearly a decade as the breakfast wars heat up during the pandemic.
Beginning October 28, the McCafé bakery lineup is expanding with three new options: an apple fritter, a blueberry muffin and a cinnamon roll. They will be available all day across participating restaurants in the United States.
"We know our customers deserve a break now more than ever, and are excited to give them another reason to visit their favorite breakfast destination by offering delicious flavors they crave, any time of the day," said Linda VanGosen, vice president of brand and menu strategy, in a statement.
The additions come as McDonald's finds itself struggling in a part of the day it was once dominant. Its most notable competitor is Wendy's, which launched its breakfast menu earlier this year with a mix of sweet and salty items such as the Breakfast Baconator and Frosty-ccino. Breakfast now accounts for 8% of Wendy's total sales. Taco Bell and other rivals have also launched expanded breakfast menus and are taking share of the market away from McDonald's
McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said in the company's most recent earnings call that breakfast "was one area of pressure" because of new competitors. The chain also temporarily eliminated its all-day breakfast, among other items, to help restaurants' maintain costs. It hasn't said when, or if, All Day Breakfast will return.
"Any final decision will be made in partnership with our franchisees, based on consumer demand, and designed to drive the business while minimizing operational disruptions," a McDonald's spokesperson said.
Recently, McDonald's has slowly been rolling out new menu items and promotions once again. In September, McDonald's added its first new McNugget flavor in nearly 40 years: Spicy Chicken McNuggets. New meal deals from singers Travis Scott and J Balvin have also been added to the menu as limited time promotions.
Investors will learn how strong sales have rebounded from their earlier lows when McDonald's releases its third-quarter earnings, likely later this month.
Burger King's strange request ... and other weird news
Burger King thinks it deserves a Michelin star
The fast food giant's Belgian arm launched a petition demanding a sought-after star for its new Master Angus burger, encouraging followers to sign an online petition aimed at Michelin Guide inspectors.
"All right, we'll happily concede that 'star-rated' and Burger King aren't an obvious match at first sight," the fast food chain admitted.
But, the company added, "How many places does your little red book have that serve exceptional dishes that are on the table in five minutes?"
"We deserve that little star, don't you think?" the advertisement continued.
The stunt didn't exactly take off at first — fewer than 500 people have signed the petition — but it did prompt a response on Facebook from the Michelin Guide's social media team.
"Who said you needed silver service?" Michelin Guide wrote in response to a post by Burger King Luxembourg, which is also promoting the campaign, before suggesting that they would indeed try the burger.
Michelin jokingly promised that an inspector would judge the burger on its standard set of criteria, which includes the quality of its ingredients, the mastery of cooking, the harmony of flavors, and how much the personality of the chef comes through in the dish.
The first Michelin Guide was published in 1900 as a travel guide for motorists in France, and the publication has since become the foremost authority on gastronomy worldwide.
Inspectors use five criteria to judge a restaurant's output, and have awarded at least one Michelin star to more than 15,000 restaurants worldwide. Burger King has, unsurprisingly, never made the cut.
Some 105 restaurants are currently listed in the guide as having been awarded the maximum of three Michelin stars.
Paramedics test jet suit that can fly up mountains
The world's first jet suit-wearing paramedic could be coming to the hilly terrain of the Lake District in the United Kingdom.
Using the 1050 brake horsepower jet suit, a 25-minute hike was reduced to a flight lasting just 90 seconds, according to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), which collaborated on the project with jet suit manufacturer Gravity Industries.
The jet suit could be a game changer given the treacherous geographical features in the area, which is popular with hikers.
"We think this technology could enable our team to reach some patients much quicker than ever before," Andy Mawson, director of operations at GNAAS, said in a statement Tuesday.
"In many cases this would ease the patient's suffering. In some cases, it would save their lives."
GNAAS and Gravity Industries were in talks for a year ahead of the planned exercise, which took place on September 15.
The test was carried out at the Langdale Pikes, with Gravity Industries founder Richard Browning flying from the valley bottom to a simulated casualty site at higher elevation.
A UNESCO-protected heritage site, the Lake District is home to some of England's highest peaks.
Mawson thought the region, located in northern England, would be a good location for the test after analyzing emergency call data.
"It showed dozens of patients every month within the complex but relatively small geographical footprint of the Lakes," said Mawson.
"We could see the need. What we didn't know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well we've seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome."
Mawson believes the jet suit has huge potential to be an extra resource in delivering critical care to remote areas.
Browning said the collaboration was a "wonderful" experience.
"We are just scratching the surface in terms of what is possible to achieve with our technology," said Browning. "Emergency response is one of the areas Gravity are actively pursuing."
Browning told CNN about his jet suit invention in 2018.
He built it using 3D printed parts, specialist electronics and five jet engines. Once you've strapped it on and mastered the basics, you can soar at speeds of 32 miles per hour and ascend to altitudes of 12,000 feet, CNN reported at the time.
A Florida city is having a swan sale because it costs $10,000 per year to feed them
Attention, all swan lovers.
Officials in Lakeland, Florida, are making plans for a swan sale in the weeks ahead.
The reason for the unusual event?
The city spends $10,000 a year feeding and caring for them. The picturesque birds are also largely overpopulated, which causes quality of life issues for them, according to Lakeland's website.
"We currently have 80 swans here on Lake Morton to feed and care for, so we are looking to sell around 30 to 40 to ensure proper care for them all," Bob Donahay, Lakeland's Director of Parks and Recreation, told CNN.
Donahay says because there are too many swans in one area, they often fight over space in the lake and surrounding areas, and they roam onto streets and into traffic. Two were killed this year by motorists.
Prior to the swan sale, the city will conduct an annual "wellness check" on the entire flock.
"We are fortunate to have veterinarians in town who donate their services to our annual wellness roundups where we check the health of all our swans," Donahay said.
While the city does not conduct background checks on each buyer, Donahay says they do try to get to know each prospect before selling.
"We will have a great conversation about who they [the buyers] are and what their plans are for the swan or swans. And then we also make ourselves readily available if any of the swans experience medical issues down the road," Donahay said.
What do the new owners do with the animals? Donahay says everyone who buys a swan has some body of water in or near their homes, where the swans can live comfortably.
Others place their swans in wedding venues, or funeral or nursing homes, Donahay says.
The price is $400, a number Donahay proudly says is below market value.
Parrots in wildlife park moved after swearing at visitors
Five parrots have been removed from public view at a British wildlife park after they started swearing at customers.
The foul-mouthed birds were split up after they launched a number of different expletives at visitors and staff just days after being donated to Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in eastern England.
"It just went ballistic, they were all swearing," the venue's chief executive Steve Nichols told CNN Travel on Tuesday. "We were a little concerned about the children."
"I get called a fat t**t every time I walk past," Nichols complained.
The African grey parrots -- named Eric, Jade, Elsie, Tyson and Billy -- were given to the park from five different owners within the same week, and shared a quarantining facility together before being placed on display.
But staff immediately noticed that the birds shared a propensity to fly off the handle.
"They literally, within a very short period of time, starting swearing at each other," Nichols said. "'F**k off' is the most common one," he explained -- "it's a very easy one for them to learn" -- but the birds would utter "anything you can think of."
Most customers enjoyed the talent once the parrots were displayed. "The visitors were giving them as much back as what they were giving to them," Nichols said.
But concern for younger customers forced staff to split up the birds and temporarily remove them from the park's public areas. Staff now hope the birds' language will become more family-friendly now that they have been separated.
"To take in a swearing parrot isn't an unusual thing, it's something that happens probably three or four times a year," Nichols said.
But the pandemic has led to a surge in donations, as owners spend more time with their birds and decide to give them to parks that can provide them with a larger living space, he explained.
"We would normally take in one or two parrots in a fortnight. Today we took in eight," he said.
African greys are among the most popular species of parrot. Around 1.1 million indoor birds were kept as pets in the UK in 2019, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association.
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