Christine Blank

Mobile Makeover

Mobile marketing use increases as quick serves try to attract on-the-go customers.

Burger King used a geo location marketing campaign with its french fries launch.
Burger King used a geo-location marketing campaign with its french fries launch in 2011.

Quick-service operators increasingly have the ability to target their customers right where they are. The industry’s use of mobile marketing has grown exponentially over the last two years, and marketers are projected to spend $1.2 billion on mobile display advertising (not including smartphone apps, mobile coupons, and other mobile ads) by 2014, according to eMarketer.

The Table Service Upgrade

Firehouse Subs, BurgerFi add table service to score real estate in Florida town.

Fast casual brands added table service to open on Winter Park's Park Avenue.
Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida, only allows restaurants with a table-service model.

The city of Winter Park, Florida, was in a quandary. Up-and-coming fast-casual concepts Firehouse Subs and BurgerFi wanted to move into the town’s upscale dining and shopping district, Park Avenue, but business owners and city officials were worried that the posh image would become tarnished with the addition of limited-service operators.

As a compromise, the two brands did something unusual in the quick-service industry: They added table-service components.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Burger King’s new delivery service could open doors for other brands.

Wrap concept BSkis in Chapel Hill successfully delivers food to campus students.
College eateries like [B]Ski's in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have already found delivery to be a major sales vehicle.

Burger King hopes its new delivery service will be a great profit-driver for the chain, as the company is banking on customers to put in large orders for office lunches, birthday parties, and other gatherings in the select cities where the service is offered.

But it may not be the only brand with a careful eye on the BK Delivers service. Other non-pizza quick serves might be hoping for its success to validate investing in the space, which could open new sales opportunities in urban communities.

Nurturing Boston

Quick serves step up to support volunteers, responders after Boston bombings.

The Boston Fire Department was treated to free meals at Firehouse Subs.
The Boston Fire Department was treated to free meals at Firehouse Subs' Copley Square location.

As soon as he learned about the April 15th Boston bombings, Dave Tucci, the New England area representative for Firehouse Subs’ DMA, called the Firehouse franchisee closest to the bombings.

Tucci was relieved to find out that all employees at Firehouse’s Copley Square location, just one mile away from the first blast, were OK. The store’s only damage was its sign, which was lying on the ground. Still, the atmosphere in the area was chaos.

A Quick-Serve Rebound?

Technomic report shows strong growth for some chains in 2012.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit enjoyed the best growth among quick service restaurants.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit enjoyed the best growth among quick-service restaurants in 2012.

In a sign that the economic landscape might finally be rebounding for quick serves, early results from Technomic’s upcoming “Top 500 Restaurant Chain” report reveal that the fastest-growing limited-service restaurant chains in the U.S. realized average sales increases of 22.3 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Fast Casual: Savior of Seafood

Fast-casual seafood chains hope to bring the category back from the brink.

Fast casual Boneheads hopes to revive struggling seafood segment.
Fast casual Boneheads hopes to revive struggling seafood segment.

The seafood quick-service category has performed poorly in recent years, but budding fast-casual chains hope to capitalize on customers’ desire for healthier options and premium experiences to bring the category back to prominence.

Ivar’s Seafood Bar in Seattle, California Fish Grill in Los Angeles, Fish Express in Dallas, and Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Santa Ana, California, are a few of the up-and-coming fast-casual companies offering an alternative to quick-service stalwarts like Captain D’s and Long John Silver’s.

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