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.
Rich Hicks has reached the height of success in the restaurant industry, with his quick-service concepts being heralded with accolades and catapulting him into the spot of a top-ranked entrepreneur. And like so many other leaders in the business, his career began at the bottom, working as a dishwasher.
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.
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.
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.
As with many nontraditional settings, college campuses have a lot of built-in advantages. There’s a captive audience of busy, hungry students with disposable income. But getting a quick-service brand into the college environment isn’t a sure thing. Competition is stiff, and college students are more discriminating than ever.
For years, Richard Pink mused about expanding his family’s iconic Pink’s Hot Dogs beyond its famed Hollywood location. But he was turned off by the daunting idea of building out the company, hiring more employees, and keeping tabs on franchisees. So he found another way.
Forget the rock-hard pretzels and suspicious-looking hot dogs that cart vendors were once known for. Nowadays, the mobile foodservice space is populated by specialty coffee concepts, gourmet popcorn carts, and Korean barbecue on wheels. And business is booming for these operators as they look to economize and get in front of consumers in new ways.
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.
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.