Because of the popularity of its Happy Meals, McDonald's is one of the top toy distributors in the world. McDonald's is not alone in enjoying the success of kids' meals; chains including Wendy's Arby's ( WEN), Sonic ( SONC), Yum! Brands' ( YUM) Taco Bell and Burger King, among others, also offer free toys in their kids' meals. Fast-food kids' meals toys have been called into question lately after a New York City councilman, following in the footsteps of a measure adopted in San Francisco and California's Santa Clara County last year, proposed that free toys be banned from fast-food meals intended to appeal to children unless the meals meet certain healthfulness guidelines. (Even McDonald's time-honored icon Ronald McDonald was called on to retire for the clown's peddling of fatty foods to kids.)
For Jack in the Box, its Los Angeles stores stopped offering toys with kids' meals as of Thursday.
Luscomb conceded that a small percentage of Jack in the Box's $2.9 billion in annual revenue came from the sale of kids' meals, a menu item the chain has offered for decades. Carmical added that Jack in the Box chose to focus more on the food its children's meals, rather than the toys; it recently began offering customers the option to substitute a portion of sliced apples with a caramel dipping sauce instead of French fries. "We believe that providing these kinds of options is more appealing to a parent than packaging a toy with lower-quality fare," Carmical said.
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