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Reno test for Mini Bundts

John Seelmeyer
jseelmeyer@nnbw.biz

Sometimes, the relative isolation of the Reno-Tahoe market from other metropolitan areas pays really wonderful benefits.

Like now, when customers of the McDonald’s restaurants in the region are among the first in the nation to test Mini Bundts that the chain is considering as an addition to its McCafe menu.

The Reno-Tahoe market along with Florida’s West Palm Beach are the only two markets in the nation where McDonald’s is gauging reaction to the Mini Bundt cakes.



Why Reno?

For starters, the approximately half dozen owners of the 41 franchised McDonald’s locations in the region were enthusiastic to try out the new product, says Clay Merrill, a spokesman for the franchise group.



The locations involved in the test include northwestern Nevada — Lovelock to Reno, Hawthorne to Sparks — as well as Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Susanville.

McDonald’s also likes the region’s demographics, which provide a good cross-sampling of the customers it would target if it decides on a nationwide rollout of the Mini Bundts early next year.

Other companies that have selected northern Nevada for test marketing in the past also have cited the region’s clean media markets — remote enough that advertising messages aren’t influenced by neighboring markets.

McDonald’s rolled out traditional advertising — including a heavy component of billboards — and a public relations push to support the test.

Merrill said McDonald’s also wants to see how the new product affects kitchen operations at its locations before a larger rollout. The three flavors of Mini Bundts — cinnamon coffee cake, lemon and double chocolate — are baked daily at individual McDonald’s locations.

Robert Humason, one of the franchise owners, said one of the attractions of the cakes is the potential for all-day sales, ranging from breakfast to after-dinner snacks for evening customers.

A serving of two cakes is priced at $1.99.