Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for McDonald’s

Plus, the biggest TikTok food trend of the year, and more news to start your day

Scott reportedly made $20 million from the deal, which also boosted sales for McDonald’s

The Travis Scott meal at McDonald’s — a medium Sprite, a quarter pounder with bacon, and fries with barbecue sauce — was a bona fide phenomenon when it was introduced in September. Ordering one became a TikTok trend, to the point where McDonald’s trained workers to recognize internet catchphrases and the lyrics to Scott’s “Sicko Mode” as they were processing drive-thru orders. Scott made it to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, where the magazine called him a “brand whisperer,” and he admitted to making $20 million from the McDonald’s deal — $5 million from the original endorsement, and $15 million in merchandise sales. Which, yeah, that chicken nugget pillow was pretty good.

Scott was apparently very hands-on in the deal, which happened after McDonald’s, losing money throughout the pandemic, saw Scott post on Instagram about eating at McDonald’s and reached out to him. Scott named the meal (which is something he’s been ordering since he was a kid), drew animation for the TV ad, developed his own merchandise, and came up with the catchphrase “Tell them Cactus Jack sent you.” According to Forbes, “McDonald’s debuted the meal in September, and its U.S. same-store sales, a key indicator of a restaurant company’s health, swung from an 8.7% drop in the second quarter, at the height of virus lockdowns, to a 4.6% gain in the third,” thanks in no small part to Scott.

Forbes also reports that Scott is working on a line of hard seltzers with Anheuser-Busch InBev, so he’s not slowing down anytime soon.

And in other news…

  • A new study from Korea shows how quickly COVID-19 can spread inside a restaurant — in one case, a person was infected from about 21 feet away in under five minutes. Which is why, once again, the government should cancel rent and pay restaurants to stay closed instead of forcing them to operate in dangerous conditions in order to stay in business. [JKMS]
  • Pancake cereal was TikTok’s top food trend of 2020. [Food Network]
  • And we didn’t need hard data to tell us the spicy chicken sandwich is still reigning supreme. [ABC]
  • Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are filming a new show in Italy, which will debut in January on discovery+. [Delish]
  • Bill Palmer, the founder of Applebee’s, died yesterday at the age of 70. [NRN]
  • Nestle is investing $3.6 billion “over the next five years as part of its long-term goal to cut in half its emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.” [Fooddive]
  • *Muppets’ Pigs In Space voice* Radishes! In! Spaaaaaace! [CNN]
  • The new “viral” Dunkin’ drink is very purple. [Dunkin’]

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