Lauren Caggiano

Breaking Out of the Mold

Restaurant brands are turning to daypart expansion as they seek new growth channels, with many operators zeroing in on breakfast, the fastest growing daypart, according to The NPD Group. But with all of the opportunities a new daypart offers, it also brings with it operational challenges like added equipment and staffing.

When Taco Bell debuted its breakfast menu on March 27, igniting a competition with McDonald’s in what has been dubbed the “breakfast wars” by mainstream media, the brand’s executives believed it was the right time for the expansion.

Burgers From Your Palm

Burger concepts are competing more in the online and mobile-ordering space.

Burger quick service chains like Jack's rolling out mobile ordering platforms.
Burger chain Jack's rolled out a new online ordering platform designed to help customers' tailgating experience.

Today’s restaurant consumers are increasingly tech savvy and interactive, and much of the quick-service industry has catered to their habits and preferences with the launch of online or mobile ordering tools.

Until recently, that did not include burger concepts, which have struggled to integrate online ordering into established cooking systems. Now, however, more burger joints are figuring out how to incorporate online ordering and are rolling out platforms to improve the overall customer experience.

When Customers Go Bad

Wave of employees in national spotlight reminds brands to focus on training, customer service recognition.

National news headlines have recently been peppered with stories of quick-serve customers behaving badly and employees keeping their cool. From last year’s video of a Chick-fil-A drive-thru employee smartly handling an irate customer to this year’s story of a Dairy Queen crewmember who stood up to a woman after she took money from a blind man, quick-serve employees have been thrust into the national spotlight by offering shining examples of good customer service.

Hungry for Change

Restaurants join the fight against hunger in the U.S.

Shake Shack is one quick serve brand that contributes to the anti hunger effort.
Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti (behind check, right) poses with the restaurant that raised the most money for Share Our Strength. Shake Shack

While the obesity epidemic has received a lot of attention in the U.S., hunger, particularly childhood hunger, is a serious problem that tends to be less understood by the American masses. More than 16 million kids (one in five) in the U.S. do not have access to the food they need, according to hunger-relief charity Feeding America.

But in the last few years, restaurants have become a powerful tool in the fight against hunger, and several programs are capitalizing on foodservice partners—including quick-serve restaurants—to bring food to those in need.

Restaurants Get REAL

Certification program gives operators infrastructure to go healthy.

Fast casual Energy Kitchen is one restaurant using the REAL certification.
Jarrett Waller, general manager of Energy Kitchen in Washington, D.C., stands by the REAL Certification plaque.

Several quick-service restaurants are doubling down on their health and wellness efforts thanks to the new REAL Certification program from the United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC).

Established in 2011, the USHFC is a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to fighting obesity, diabetes, and other food-related diseases by increasing access to healthful, affordable, and sustainable food and beverages. The USHFC works toward its mission through the REAL Certification, nutrition analysis, menu labeling, and recipe consulting.