Daniel P. Smith

Daniel P. Smith is a regular contributor to QSR.
Fast food brands scale food safety efforts up as they grow across the country.
April 2014

As quick-service brands scale their business for growth, food safety can become a tricky—but necessary—piece to master.

Food trucks evolve quick service restaurant industry with innovative trends.
April 2014

Red-hot just a few years ago, food trucks are entering a new maturity phase.

Korean fast casual concept uses Chipotle ordering style in New York restaurant.
March 2014

New York City

On December 1, Subway rattled the quick-service world when it announced its latest promotional offer: $2 six-inch subs.

As a “Customer Appreciation Month” promotion, the $2 December-only deal may be Subway’s boldest play yet in the pricing wars to compete with other...

Earlier this year, Pizza Patrón faced rising commodity costs and stagnant numbers across the 100-store system. CEO Antonio Swad, feeling pressure to deliver value for franchisees and customers, saw daring change as his lone solution.

"In this business, being timid is the quickest...

While national unemployment remains at a steady 9 percent, many companies are planning to repeat their annual hiring surge to support this year’s holiday season.

Quick-service restaurants will play a visible role in the effort.

According to Chicago-based staffing consultants...

November 2011

When Don Fertman joined Subway in 1981, the company stood as little more than an ambitious regional player. Thoughts of the brand filling the corporate heavyweight shoes it does today seemed remote and distant.

But times have changed.

Rising commodity costs are threatening to destroy any kind of optimism operators held that they were climbing out of the nation’s economic woes.

The costs present a consistent challenge to Togo’s, for instance, as it plans on opening 50 units in 2012 and develop the franchised...

After two years of testing in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas, McDonald’s will launch its own in-store television network in 645 California stores later this year.

The McDonald’s Channel is expected to reach nearly 20 million people each month and integrate online and...

October 2011

Customer Service

1 From the full order of food and beverages to the utensils, provide the customer with everything he needs the first time. Frustrations arise when something is forgotten.

2 Mistakes happen; it’s...

Food manufacturers looking for a leg up on their competition in this bleak economy can be more active in educating and supporting the operators they serve.

This was the prevailing theme at the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) 40th Annual Forecast and Outlook...

With the 63rd annual Emmys slated for Sunday, it seems appropriate that the quick-serve industry also celebrate its top awards—from Zagat.  

This year’s results of the National Fast Food Restaurant Survey showed that several quick-serve categories are becoming...

In August, the NPD Group released its annual tally of U.S. restaurant closures, and the study proved a sobering reminder of the challenges independent restaurants face in any climate, let alone one sitting in recession-era shadows.

The NPD Group reported that 9,450 restaurants closed...

September 2011

It’s a rainy Monday morning in downtown Park Ridge, Illinois, a Rockwellesque suburb on Chicago’s northwestern edge. The overcast sky feels Seattle-like, a fitting day to observe the ebbs and flows of traffic at Starbucks.

At one stand-alone Starbucks location, once home to a...

August 2011

Sonic chairman and CEO Clifford Hudson knows the numbers, and although he may cringe, he certainly does not cower from the realities or the challenge.

After 22 consecutive years of same-store sales growth, Sonic’s systemwide sales numbers declined in both fiscal years 2009 and 2010...

Over the last decade, American quick-service behemoths such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut have surged into international markets and captured diners’ interests with American dishes. But new data shows the whole industry might pay a price for that global growth.

The...

Restaurant brands participating in the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) recently announced “Kids LiveWell” initiative are confident that the health-infused measure will help boost their...

On Sunday, July 3, dozens greeted a tour bus rolling into the parking lot of the Pizza Ranch restaurant in Carroll, Iowa. Out of the bus and into the drizzle stepped Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota representative who sits amid a crowded GOP presidential field.

Just one week before her...

On June 22, a burger joint in Huntington, Indiana, opened its doors with a traditional quick-service menu mimicking thousands of other independent eateries across the nation.

But this particular quick serve also had one very unique feature: its work crew was made up almost entirely of...

July 2011

In the hands of the quick-service restaurant operator, price might be the ultimate weapon, the key ingredient to swing a customer and prompt a purchase in today’s dollar-conscious market.

And the quick-service industry knows it all too well, an awareness that has sparked a decades-...

To many, the presentation seemed like a practical joke. But earlier this month, Jonathan Kaplan, the businessman who helped create the Flip camera, took the stage of the D9 conference and announced his latest venture: a fast-casual, tech-heavy grilled-cheese concept called The Melt.

Google recently announced its latest innovation to considerable fanfare, but it’s not just techies that will have a watchful eye on its development—the quick-serve industry will, too.

According to the company, Google Wallet—an app that will give smartphones the payment...

June 2011

For some, it’s an average sales-to-investment ratio nearing 2:1, dedicated corporate support that helps franchisees succeed, or a distinctive niche that carries marketplace allures.

For others, a good franchise deal boasts recent growth despite the nation’s economic woes,...