Fast-food outfits are changing their marketing strategies fast. As traditional outlets become saturated, corporations look for new twists to sell their products.
In several test markets, McDonald's now carries, eggs, milk and other convenience items. Domino's has met with Minneapolis' Target Center management to discuss selling pizza during events.
Now, Little Caesars and Kmart Corp., two famous no-frills operations, have announced plans to open 400 sitdown pizza restaurants in Kmart stores across the country in the next year or so, and up to 1,200 within five years, according to Knight-Ridder Newspapers.
Little Caesars founder Michael Ilitch and Kmart Chairman Joseph Antonini made the announcement recently at the Rochester Hills, Mich., Kmart store, where the alliance has been tested for the past year.
``We found our organizations really meshed,'' said Ilitch. ``They're no-frills and we're no-frills.''
Little Caesars will continue operating take-out counters at Kmart stores in Mount Morris, Mich., and Battle Creek, Mich. The Marshall Kmart has a prototype 50-seat Little Caesars restaurant, the type that will roll out nationwide.
Kmart hopes to open Little Caesars restaurants in 1,200 of its projected 2,500 stores in the next five years, as part of a long-term project to refurbish older stores and open new ones.
Little Caesars has 3,300 outlets.
The two companies were secretive about details of their alliance and how much the expansion would cost, but obviously the test-run was a winner. This is only the beginning of similar ventures.
Junk bond nightmares
Now that Michael Milken is behind bars, you thought you were safe, but fallout from the excessive 1980s is still coming. Many large life insurance companies have nearly twice the amount of junk bond holdings previously revealed by the authorities, according to a recent study.
Martin D. Weiss, president of Weiss Research Inc. said his firm has discovered an insurance industry junk-bond cover-up of unbelievable magnitude.
``This new data finally shatters one of the greatest industry cover-ups ever perpetuated on insurance policyholders,'' he said. ``Until now, the state insurance commissioners had failed to reveal the true magnitude of the junk bond problem because they incorrectly classified a lot of junk bonds as `investment grade.'''
As prime examples, Weiss pointed out several such instances from 1990 data:
First Capital Life Insurance Co., a California firm, appeared to have about 20 percent of its invested assets in junk bonds, based on 1989 data. The new official data, which uses a more realistic bond classification, shows that First Capital actually has more than 40 percent of its invested assets in junk bonds.
Fidelity Bankers Life Insurance Co. in Virginia shows a surge in reported junk bond holdings to about 37 percent of invested assets from the previous 18 percent.
The junk bond holdings of United Pacific Life Insurance Co. in Washington jumped to about 33 percent from about 14 percent.
Weiss advises consumers to buy policies only from insurers that have largely avoided junk bonds and other speculative investments, while maintaining strong financial health. `Baseball bee' buzzes off
A woman who's a big Pittsburgh Pirates fan has shown her support by dressing like a bee. But the majorleague baseball team's officials are not enticed by the black-and-yellow costume.
Donna McConaughy wears the bee costume, complete with bobbing antennae, to support Pirates players who are nicknamed the ``Killer Bees,'' especially shortstop Jay Bell, according to the Associated Press.
The Pirates asked Miss McConaughy, 31, to change out of the bee costume during a recent game against the Houston Astros at Three Rivers Stadium.
Pirates spokesman Rick Cerrone said the team has an informal policy against allowing fans to wear what appear to be professional costumes.
Professional mascots such as the Pirate Parrot are trained to deal with children and are insured against accidents, Cerrone said. The Pirates could be sued if someone was hurt trying to pet an unauthorized mascot, he said.
``I made the costume myself,'' Miss McConaughy said. ``It is all felt and polyester stuffing. The costume is cute. It is not in poor taste, not obscene and not going to scare a young kid.''
People dressed like chickens and turtles recently were asked to remove their costumes at Three Rivers, Cerrone said.
``We do it for the safety of our fans, including the person in costume,'' he said.