John Morell

Quick service brands are using big data to streamline and improve business.
May 2013

Brands must cope with a new analytics trend to get the most out of marketing and operations.

Tin Drum Asia Cafe used equity firm investment to stay debt free in growth.
March 2013

For brands seeking outside investment, strong momentum and the perfect partner are a must.

Burger King went public again in 2012 to gain needed financing.
October 2012

More brands are going public, but determining whether it’s time to jump on the IPO bandwagon can be a lengthy process.

August 2012

Offer a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder to casual McDonald’s customers, and they might shrug. But offer a Shamrock Shake or a McRib, and there’s a good chance they’ll salivate. These menu options have become hugely successful at the fast-food giant, despite being offered for only...

July 2012

With economic and climate pressures forcing commodity costs upward, many quick-serve C-suites are facing the grim task of raising menu prices. But with fears that such increases could impact sales and customer loyalty, executives are left to figure out how to best introduce these higher prices...

April 2012

The term bankruptcy tends to elicit doom-and-gloom thoughts from business owners. But experts say bankruptcy doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, by filing for bankruptcy, operators can shed the weight of their debts and get back on the course toward success.

As the U.S. economy shows signs of new growth in 2012, many quick serves are cautiously looking at expansion plans to see if they can jumpstart the growth that stalled with the recession.

Some franchise concepts are banking on the fact that cheaper, smaller footprints might be more...

November 2011

The quick-serve industry has taken its share of blows from media and government alike as they suggest fast food is contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic. And while the industry has risen to the challenge of offering lower-calorie, lower-sodium, and all-around healthier menu...

October 2011

Enter a Souplantation in New Mexico and you might be enticed to try a bowl of Posole Soup, a Southwestern concoction made with pork, chilies, and tomatoes. “It’s one of my absolute favorites, I always get it,” says Souplantation CEO Michael Mack.

However, despite being...

August 2011

Most businesses can’t get off the ground without a little financial help, a fact that is especially true in the quick-serve industry. Opening a quick serve, be it through buying a franchise or starting a new concept, requires cold hard cash, meaning any entrepreneur who intends to be a...

June 2011

It’s always been difficult to own and operate a successful quick serve, and in the next few years, it might get tougher. That’s because some proposed rule changes in the way a company’s balance sheets are organized could create mayhem by showing that, on paper at least, a...

May 2011

Business partnerships, like marriages, start with a courtship, a honeymoon, and then either years of bliss or a torturous separation. Although most partnerships have their own form of prenuptial agreement with ownership arrangements and corporate papers, those can’t prevent turbulence and...

March 2011

Marketing executives have known for years that using hard-at-work, nice-looking, real employees in a TV spot can symbolize a brand’s corporate commitment to quality and service. But any marketer getting ready to take this idea to his ad people should first take some time to consider that...

February 2011

In 2007, Togo’s, a 242-unit, 40-year-old West Coast sandwich chain, was purchased by San Francisco equity firm Mainsail Partners, which quickly saw a problem.

“Throughout the system there were six logos on the exterior signage,” says Renae Scott, vice president of...

December 2010

Keeping crewmembers happy may not be on the top of an operator’s mind when he’s dealing with distribution issues and sales problems brought about by the recession, but new research suggests that it probably should be.

November 2010

The times are changing for many of the industries that fortified America’s capitalistic society. With banks trying to figure out how to thrive under new financial regulations, quick serves are facing a challenge to their classic business model: the franchise.

October 2010

Marketing professors over the years have lectured students that they should never give a customer too many choices. Quick-serve operators must have missed that class. A look at several successful quick-serve menus reveals some form of a Choose Two option, where...

September 2010

At an Independence Day parade this year, a Mustang convertible rolled down the route decked out in red, white, and blue—and lots of signage for frozen yogurt chain TCBY. As the car came into view, someone with trays of yogurt samples approached folks watching the...

August 2010

There’s a Wingstop in Dallas where the counters aren’t so neat and the owner drips batter onto the floor, and when tongs fall into the deep fryer, managers stare inside thinking of ways to get them out.

Welcome to Wingstop U. Not a real store, but a...

March 2010

Richard Leivenberg, executive vice president for Jody Maroni’s Sausage Kingdom in Venice, California, knows a thing or two about relationships. He practices his people skills each day as he goes toe-to-toe with folks for the sake of his quick-serve operation....