Disney to Put Fast-Food Unit in Deep Freeze
Hold that Mickey Burger.
After a two-year “experiment,” the Walt Disney Co. said Thursday that it has decided to close Mickey’s Kitchen, a would-be chain of fast-food restaurants.
Instead, the company will focus on expanding its successful Disney Store operation over the next four years, particularly overseas.
Disney originally had planned to roll out Mickey’s Kitchens alongside the popular Disney Stores across the country. But only two prototype restaurants opened, one in Montclair and the other in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Ill.
“We will continue to test new concepts in the Disney Store, but as much as we like Mickey’s Kitchen, results to date do not warrant the management attention required,” said Steve Burke, executive vice president of Disney Specialty Retail.
Disney said that all 60 Mickey’s Kitchen employees affected have been offered jobs at nearby Disney Stores.
Analysts observed that the fast-food business is already over-saturated and that start-up ventures face a very difficult time.
“There’s a lot of competition out there right now,” said Douglas Christopher, a retail analyst with Crowell Weedon in Los Angeles. “They were going head-to-head with a restaurant mostly appealing to kids. But McDonald’s is the leader in that.”
Mickey’s Kitchen offered such fare as the Meatless Mickey Burger, Pinocchio Pizza and french fries shaped like Disney characters.
Disney said it will now focus on expanding its company-operated Disney Store chain by opening at least 65 new stores this year, including 13 in Europe and two in Japan. A total of 126 Disney stores have opened since the chain’s launch in 1987.
The Disney Stores sell items ranging from Disney videos to Mickey Mouse T-shirts and Disney character memorabilia.