Keith Loria

It Starts at the Top

Every successful brand relies not only on its leader to craft and execute a winning brand strategy, but also on its executive team members to keep the concept running smoothly. A savvy CEO understands that his or her fellow C-suite members must consistently be inspired to be the highest-quality, top-notch executives possible.

For Phillip Chang, CEO of frozen-yogurt chain Yogurtland, treating employees with dignity and respect is of the utmost importance when it comes to motivating his team. He also prioritizes setting a good example for his fellow executives to follow.

Next-Level Feedback

It wasn’t long ago when quick-serve guests were asked to fill out paper comment cards to help brands gather both positive and negative feedback.

However, with advancements in technology and customers’ growing reliance on cell phones and tablets, traditional guest-satisfaction surveys are quickly becoming a thing of the past, replaced by digital versions that can often monitor comments and concerns in real time.

The Ultimate Investment

At some point, most customers have the unpleasant experience of walking into a quick serve, ordering food, and getting a less-than-warm greeting from an employee who seems disconnected from his work and guests. These diners may think the attitude is entirely the employee’s fault, but it may stem from a lack of corporate involvement at the unit level.

In fact, a recent study by Atlanta-based internal communications agency Tribe Inc. revealed that a disconnect between corporate and front-line employees can lead to poor customer service and low morale in the unit.

Beyond The Tablet

In an age when, according to Pew Research Center, one in three Americans owns a tablet and most adults use the Internet on their cell phones, it’s no surprise that businesses of all shapes and sizes are bringing in technology to bolster sales.

Innovative technologies are nothing new at quick-service restaurant brands, with many concepts employing digital menuboards, kiosks, iPads at the table, and other ways of letting customers tap into technology while inside the four walls.

The Paperless Office

Talk of an all-digital future where paper is nothing but a distant memory has been around for decades. But thanks to the rise of cloud applications and devices that keep everyone constantly connected, the dream of a paperless office is now becoming a 21st century reality—a reality that can work wonders for the environment. In fact, for every ton of paper that isn’t used, roughly 7,000 gallons of water and 12 trees can be saved, says Michael Oshman, founder and CEO of the Green Restaurant Association.

The King’s Evolution

Burger King’s brand overhaul moves into its next phase.

Burger King rolled out new coffee and donut options as part of a menu change.
Burger King's new menu changes have included coffee and donut hole products.

Burger King made waves in 2012 when it overhauled its marketing and menu items in an effort to compete more directly with competitors like McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

Turns out the brand wasn’t done with its evolution. In the last month, Burger King has refreshed its menu even further, a move that has included a new coffee program, a value-menu update, and product rollouts like the Turkey Burger LTO.

The new coffee program could prove to be the strongest long-term strategy, a direct play for the growing customer base turning to quick serves for their morning pick-me-up.

Clearing The Air

Renowned restaurateur Joe Bastianich wants to help the foodservice industry quit smoking.

A recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the food and hospitality industry is the second-highest occupation group in the U.S. hampered by smoking. But Joe Bastianich, renowned restaurateur and judge on FOX’s hit show “Master Chef,” has made it his mission to help foodservice professionals quit the habit.

Prepping for the Premium

How operators can soften the blow from climbing insurance rates.

Chicken Salad Chick is dealing with climbing insurance premiums in 2013.
Chicken Salad Chick's insurance premiums are expected to grow 4.8–9.5 percent in 2013, says president Kevin Brown.

Insurance experts say many restaurateurs, including quick-service operators, will be hit with significant increases to their property and casualty insurance premiums when they renew this year, with some policies rumored to go up by as much as 75–100 percent.

A 2012 filled with high-profile cases of food contamination, power outages, and weather damage like that brought on by Hurricane Sandy is forcing insurance actuaries to be more cautious about writing policies, the experts say.