After years of playing into the mass-affluence trend by trying to get their consumers to trade up to pricier fare, McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King are all deploying the 99¢ price point
as a key marketing tactic going into a year when consumers' budgets are expected to be stretched thin. But it's a ploy that has some franchisees worrying about value customers eating their
"It's a classic case of trying to defend market share and hoping that you can squeeze out a couple more visits from customers," says John Moore, an ex-Starbucks marketer who
blogs at brandautopsy.com.
Dick Adams, a former McDonald's franchisee turned consultant, says that a few franchisees have experimented with taking the double cheeseburger off the value menu, but that the sandwich's position has proven very important to the parent company. Wendy's franchisees also have expressed concern over the marketer's decision to sell its Stack Attack double cheeseburger for 99¢. Nevertheless, Wendy's has a long history of value pricing.