Mary Avant

The Cost of Higher Wages

Proposed minimum wage increases have operators worried about labor costs.

Proposed minimum wage increases have operators worried about labor costs.
Proposed minimum wage increases could mean lower employee turnover but also lower job creation. CKE

Brands and operators in the quick-service industry are not looking forward to proposed minimum wage increases that are being seriously considered by states, local municipalities, and the federal government, especially following President Obama’s most recent State of the Union address.

After encouraging Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 in 2013, the President expressed interest in increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10, though some cities and states are being pressured to increase to as much as $15.

Feeding the Frenzy

Sophisticated palates and a demand for local goods change the game for live-event foodservice providers.

Fast food options at sports stadiums like MetLife feature innovative menu items.
Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New York City will feature innovative foodservice options, like this noodle and dumpling stand.

With chicken wings, nachos, and pizza at the ready, more than 100 million fans will be piling into homes, restaurants, and bars across the country to watch the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks battle it out in Super Bowl XLVIII.

A Global Game-Changer

Since the days when fliers, posters, and billboards ruled the marketing world, brands have searched high and low for the newest, smartest, and easiest ways to connect consumers with their products. And for several years, sports marketing has provided quick-service concepts the ability to reach a widespread audience while investing in something consumers are passionate about.

Philly’s Big Comeback

Cheesesteak chain Wit or Witout finds new ownership, launches franchising program.

Cheese steak fast food chain to grow through new franchising program.
Wit or Witout was named home of Philadelphia’s best cheesesteak by Food Network star Guy Fieri.

Philly cheesesteak competition may be fierce in the City of Brotherly Love, but one budding concept is ready to rise above the rest and bring Philadelphia’s world-famous product to the masses.

Wit or Witout—as in, “You want that ‘wit’ or ‘witout’ onions?”—is a two-unit, Philadelphia-based cheesesteak concept founded in 2009 by Nicole DiZio, the wife of Philly Soft Pretzel Factory creator Dan DiZio. The brand spent several years under the DiZios’ ownership before being purchased by veteran restaurateur Tony Altomare in March 2013.

Here Come the Holidays

Quick serves prepare for higher traffic, increased staff this holiday season.

Fast food brands are using marketing, staffing, and menu items to boost traffic.
HoneyBaked Ham is offering a number of seasonal sandwich options to capitalize on holiday traffic.

It comes as no surprise that the holiday season rakes in big bucks for retailers. They hauled in nearly $580 billion in 2012 alone, according to the National Retail Federation. But shopping centers and big-box retailers won’t be the only businesses to cash in this holiday season, as quick serves are preparing to see their fair share of the action, too.

Poultry Goes Premium

For some brands, losing the long-held title of No. 1 limited-service chicken chain would feel defeating. But when KFC gave up its leading role this year to fellow quick serve Chick-fil-A, it wasted no time in getting back on its feet by introducing Original Recipe Boneless Chicken—a platform it hopes to make the brand’s biggest focus over the next few years—and, perhaps most noteworthy, by unleashing KFC eleven.

Under the Umbrella

Brands, investment firms leverage one another’s strengths and expertise.

Successful relationships are a two-way street, with both sides participating in a give-and-take that benefits each partner. That relationship is no different in collaborations between limited-service brands and their investment firms.

In Like a Lion

Burger King, fellow quick serves go big on new-product marketing.

Burger King promoted its new Satisfries french fries with a big marketing.
Burger King jokingly changed the name of some restaurants to "Fries King" to promote its new Satisfries.

Burger King has something big on its hands, and the brand isn’t letting it fly under the radar.

Its newest product, Satisfries, is the first of its kind in the industry—healthier french fries with 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than competitors’ fries. To tout the milestone, the burger brand is putting as much marketing might behind the product rollout as possible.