Kevin Hardy

Test Run

When Tom Ferguson wanted to develop a burger food truck, he had a few advantages. By working out of his existing facility at Durham Catering Co. in Durham, North Carolina, he had ready access to a kitchen, staff, and equipment. It’s the same way he tested a now-shelved pasta concept and then launched his quick-service brand Rise Biscuits and Donuts; by working out of the pre-existing kitchen, catering employees were able to experiment in a makeshift doughnut lab for six months.

Order’s Up

More than two decades ago, Pizza Hut sold its first pizza online—reportedly the first thing ever sold on the Internet. Ever since, the nation’s pizza chains have been leading the way in online sales innovation. And this year, that innovation is expected to continue as pizza brands fight off a stiff competitive field.

Roll of the Dice

Forget the classic buffet of stale, day-old fare once prevalent in America’s casinos. The dining landscape in these establishments is now just as competitive and diverse as the world beyond blackjack tables and slots. In casinos, excess is everywhere. People expect an array of choices for gambling, entertainment, and, of course, food. That’s why several quick-service operators are investing in the space.

The Digital Revolution

Acquiring new restaurant technology can be a tricky business. Because of ever-decreasing prices, an operator may not want to be the first to buy a new application or software system. Plus, no one wants to invest in untested equipment, regardless of its technological prowess.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

It might seem like quick-serve concepts and hospitals are headed for an epic breakup, as some brands have come under fire for their presence in places meant to heal. The American Hospital Association labeled unhealthy foods “environmental inconsistencies,” whether they’re served out of vending machines, cafeterias, or franchised units in hospital food courts.

Holding It Together

Grab-and-go items, once a staple of nontraditional spaces like college campuses and airports, have gone mainstream.

Today, operations ranging from convenience stores to standalone quick-service restaurants are adding prepackaged items like fresh carrots with ranch dip, pre-made chicken wraps, or yogurt parfaits. And they’re doing so for a good reason: Every day, 28 million Americans eat a grab-and-go snack, according to data from consumer market research firm The NPD Group.

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