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The World Keeps on Turnin’, McDonald’s Keeps on Churnin’

Another week passes, and more news from McDonald’s hits the web. In just the span of a week, the company has unveiled a surprise, made promises to invest in technology, released overseas franchising and product details and even showcased a burger ATM.

Last week, we reported on McDonald’s Jan. 26 tease. Turns out, it wasn’t a new product launch at all. Instead, it was a giveaway: the company decided to release 10,000 bottles of Big Mac Special Sauce at participating locations across the nation, reported USA Today (Jan. 24). The limited-release offer lined up well with the launch of the Grand Mac and the Mac. Jr., and it might even represent an opportunity for the fast food behemoth to enter the retail channel in the future.

Speaking of Big Macs, the company will launch a “Big Mac ATM” at a Boston location on Jan. 31, reported The Boston Globe (Jan. 25). The one-day offering will provide Big Macs at no charge, but prospective eaters will need to enter their Tiwtter handles for the burger. “It’s really just a fun way to be modern and progressive,” said Vince Spadea, a McDonald’s franchisee who is part of a cooperative of owners. “I think we’ll have lines out the door.”

Further on the technology side, the company plans to reignite its momentum after domestic same-store sales fell 1.3% in its latest quarter via technological upgrades. Plans include adding self-serve kiosks at U.S. restaurants and offering accessibility to a smartphone ordering app at its 14,000 domestic locations, reported Bloomberg (Jan. 23).

McDonald’s and UberEATS launched a 134-store test of home delivery in Florida’s Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The test includes 55 restaurants in the Orlando market and 30 in the Tampa Bay area as well. If the tests are successful, McDonald’s may expand the service to markets across the nation, reported Miami Herald (Jan. 30).

Our neighbors to the North will be happy to hear that All-Day Breakfast is launching nationwide in Canada. Starting Feb. 21, the breakfast menu will be available at nearly 1,100 McDonald’s restaurants nationwide beyond 11 a.m. “When McDonald’s launched the Egg McMuffin more than forty years ago, we revolutionized how Canadians enjoy breakfast, and now we’re pushing the breakfast rules even further,” said John Betts, McDonald’s Canada, President and CEO. “Paired with our strong McCafé coffee credentials and newly transformed restaurants, we’re now excited to offer our guests our world famous breakfast whenever they want it.”

That isn’t the only international news the company shared. McDonald’s will sell its Nordic operations to UK-based equity firm Terra Firma. The deal includes 435 restaurants in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. About 95% of the stores are franchised, and a spokeswoman for the company noted the stores will remain virtually the same, keeping the name and products intact, reported StarTribune (Jan. 27).

A lot can happen in the span of the week, and the Food Institute is here to make sure you stay on top of all the moving parts. You can be sure that we will cover whatever news comes to light in Today in Food and the Food Institute Blog.