When it comes to business, everyone wants to be in the middle of the action, which is why quick-serve brands like Shake Shack, Fatburger, and McDonald's establish their corporate headquarters in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, respectively.
Chicken Salad Chick
Small But Strong
One stay-at-home mom’s quest to find a nearly perfect chicken salad recipe led founder Stacy Brown to develop the young-but-growing Chicken Salad Chick, a concept with not just one, but 15 separate chicken salad recipes for guests to choose from.
One morning this past May, Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed opened up his copy of USA Today and found a quarter-page story about his brand staring back at him. But it wasn’t a piece about the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla—launched that month—or even the endlessly buzzing Doritos Locos Tacos.
It's a sad reality that many find difficult to accept: A shocking number of U.S. veterans are struggling to find a job and, even worse, are often left homeless.
Miles removed from the nearest highway, shopping mall, and chain restaurant—or any restaurant at all—lie 40,000 acres of forest, meadows, and pastures, home to wildlife of all sorts and 1,400 head of Red Angus cattle. The herd, property of Meyer Company Ranch, roam free under the big sky of Montana, munching on grass and mineral supplements, moving leisurely from one field to the next to avoid over-grazing. Rounded up by real-life cowboys just one day a year for vaccines—not antibiotics, not hormones—the cattle have little reason to stress.
In February, Taco Bell made the long-awaited announcement that it would soon launch the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, a follow-up to 2012’s fanfare-inducing and record-shattering Doritos Locos Taco.
But it didn’t break the news through a press release or company statement. Instead, its nearly 10 million Facebook fans and close to 400,000 Twitter followers were privy to the information before any media outlet or competitor got their hands on it.
No longer is local sourcing just a utopian ideal. It’s a practice coming to life and continually gaining momentum in foodservice, with the number of local ingredients on menus growing by 73 percent over the last four years, according to market research firm Mintel.
But, at its most basic level, it’s a tale of two industries.
Given the option to serve products that are considered fresh, high quality, and superior in taste—products that consumers crave and feel a connection to—operators generally don’t have to think twice. That’s why many limited-service brands are jumping on board with the local-foods trend, opting to purchase many of their ingredients straight from the source, whether it’s a cheese maker 100 miles away or a strawberry producer right down the street.
Imagine a market of 173 million potential customers. Seventy-eight million of them are female (often the primary decision-maker in the family), 61 million are college students, and 29 million have an income of more than $100,000.
Seems like a no-brainer for operators, right?
Now more than ever, quick-service executives are opening their eyes to the wealth of opportunity that lies beyond U.S. borders, realizing that abroad is where the growth is—and for good reason.
“Domestic is one country; international is every other country,” says Bob Kaufman, vice president of business development for Southern California–based The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL).
“Of course international is huge, because of the sheer number of people and markets and opportunities.”