Marlee Murphy

Where Are They Now?

Each month, QSR singles out the quick-service and fast-casual brands we think will make a splash in the industry. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re… well, not. So which Ones to Watch brands are still on fire, and which ones have had their growth hopes doused? Here’s a look back at 15 Ones to Watch brands we’ve featured since 2007—those that are hot, those that are not, and those that are somewhere in between.

HOT

Toppers Pizza

Originally featured: July 2008

Key to Millennial Engagement

Traditional and social media are no longer sure-fire ways to attract younger consumers.

Taco Bell sponsored a film focused on popular rock band Passion Pit.
Indie band Passion Pit perform as part of Taco Bell's new film "Hello Everywhere."

Today’s young adults and teenagers—Millennials and Gen Z—are a coveted consumer demographic in quick service and are driving industry trends. Reaching these consumers, however, is an evolving process, especially since some experts believe traditional media and Facebook use are on the decline among members of those demographics.

A few quick-serve and fast-casual concepts have caught on to the trend and are trying outside-the-box marketing tactics to attract younger consumers.

Allergic Reaction

Some worry that the healthy eating movement hasn’t done enough to promote allergy-friendly menus.

Some operators have been slow to incorporate allergy-friendly menu options.
Though some operators have made allergy-friendly options a priority, others in the industry have been slow to change their menus.

Cutting calories, lowering fat content, and providing healthy, fresh ingredients have become increasingly commonplace in the limited-service industry over the past few years. But while U.S. quick serves have embraced the healthy lifestyle movement, some wonder if operators are still overlooking the need to offer allergy-friendly menu options.