Are consumers turning their backs on fast food?
It looks like consumers around the world aren't willing to keep trading down in their eating habits just because their incomes have stalled. In fact, it looks like some are just going to quit eating out altogether, particularly at the lower end of the fast-food chain.
McDonald's just reported its first monthly decline in same-store in a decade, BrandChannel reports, never a good sign when you're looking for economic indicators.
And trusty Canadian icon Tim Hortons, while in slightly better shape, has seen its growth slow as well.
“Our growth rates were below those we have typically delivered in recent years,” Tim Hortons chief executive officer Paul House told analysts recently.
Typically, fast-food outlets hold their own when the economy slides as even cost-conscious diners view them as a fairly low-cost indulgence. Except that doesn't seem to be the case this time around.
Which is why both chains have been offering more deals lately, upping their merchandising at the same time.
McDonald’s is offering free coffee every other week it seems while Tim Hortons has trimmed some prices and begun to offer new items like panini sandwiches to pique consumer interest.
And, with Burger King getting into the delivery business, it's clear that everyone is fighting harder to attract consumers.
Will you be one of them?
Has your fast food spending decreased over the past year? Was is it about budget or health concerns? Do you think you'll be coming back anytime soon?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money