Kent Bush: Clinton and Trump doing damage at drive thrus
Everyone knows that anything bad that has happened in the last eight years — or 12 years if you ask Donald Trump’s campaign spokesperson — is because of President Barack Obama.
Thanks to his reckless policies, my order was even messed up at a fast food drive thru this week.
It won’t stop with Obama. There are already problems being blamed on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
No not attacks on embassies in foreign lands or even lost emails that might have led to the death of an Iranian spy. Not even armed insurrections due to a candidate’s wacky remarks or violence at political rallies.
Clinton and Trump made America stop eating hamburgers and French fries. Thanks, Obama — ummm … I mean Donny and HRC.
At least that’s the story struggling restaurants are selling to investors.
“There’s a line of thought that to some degree people are concerned about global issues around kind of the state of country, election issues, those type of things,” Ruby Tuesday CEO J.J. Buettgen said during an earnings conference call Thursday.
The CEO of McDonald’s like that line of reasoning, too.
“I think generally, there’s just a broader level of uncertainty in consumers’ minds at the moment, both trying to gauge their financial security going forward, you know, whether through elections or through global events, people are slightly mindful of an unsettled world,” McDonald’s CEO Stephen Easterbrook said in a July earnings call. “And when people are uncertain, when families are uncertain, caution starts to prevail and they start to hold back on spend.”
Even Wendy’s CEO has joined the chorus supporting this scenario that Trump and Clinton are making people so nervous that they just won’t eat out.
“When a consumer is a little uncertain around their future and really trying to figure out what this election cycle really means to them, they’re not as apt to spend as freely as they might have even just a couple of quarters ago,” Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor said in an earnings conference call on Wednesday.
Alas, it seems the “experts” don’t necessarily agree that Clinton v. Trump is affecting the fast food market. They seem to believe that the fact that prices for food at the grocery store are coming down makes the relative value of food away from home less appealing.
These people obviously haven’t eaten my wife’s cooking. Trust me, restaurant food is still a great value.
“There haven’t been too many facts that can prove that. It’s a lot of speculation,” one analyst said of Wendy’s blaming the election for a slowdown in sales.
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!
Since when did we start having to report financial numbers with facts? It is obvious to everyone that the downturn in the sale of Frostys and Baconators (both fine products, by the way) is due to the pending doom all of America feels as they attempt to choose between a Trump presidency and a Clinton presidency.
If they were going to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, there would be no downturn in fast food sales because the munchies would driving the economy to record highs (pun intended).
I’m going with the analysts who see that food prepared at home costs significantly less than less healthy options that are handed to you in a bag through a window.
I’m pro restaurant. I am a faithful customer at locally owned eateries and national franchises alike.
I’m not a fan of people who make excuses for poor results. Making excuses keeps you from addressing the real issues. The CEOs can get away with it because they make millions of dollars a year. The people who work in their stores deserve better leadership and real solutions.
Clara Peller became famous as a Wendy’s commercial star in the 1980s asking workers at other fast food chains, “Where’s the beef?”
Fast food investors should be asking the same question to these CEOs. This isn’t a political problem. They rode higher food costs to pricier menu items and now that the costs are coming down they are trying to find the new balance between margin and volume.
But if the investors will buy the Clinton-Trump affect and give them a few months to adjust pricing models, more power to them. For the time being, I will keep doing my part to keep the restaurant economy strong.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.