Since the advent of the modern quick-service drive thru—some would say in the early 1970s, though the idea of a pick-up window has been around for much longer—operators have tinkered with the nuts and bolts to create a drive thru that is as fast, efficient, and pleasant as possible. Innovations throughout the years, from wireless headsets and order-confirmation boards to dual lanes and pre-sell signage, have created a better drive thru capable of handling the 60–70 percent of business that now loops the exterior of most quick-service restaurants.
Looking for an edge against its quick-serve rivals, Burger King is introducing healthier french fries, dubbed “Satisfries,” today at all of its 7,200 U.S. outlets.
Satisfries contain 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than traditional fries, and 25 percent less fat and 20 percent fewer calories than standard Burger King fries, which remain on the menu. Satisfries will sell for $1.79–$1.99 a serving, compared with the $1.59 price of basic fries.
Quick-service operators are launching seasonal menu items earlier this fall in an effort to beat their competition to the punch. From pumpkin doughnuts to caramel apple frozen yogurt, fall-flavored menu items are popping up across the industry even before the season has officially begun.
“We usually launch [fall products] in October. But this year, for the first time, we are bringing them out in September,” says Lafeea Watson, spokeswoman for Krispy Kreme. “That’s what the industry seems to be doing.”
Two years ago, daily-deal sites such as Groupon, LivingSocial, and a host of other regional and national players boomed as customers clamored for discounted products and services. Many of the sites eventually closed up shop as the trend faded and the space became too saturated.
A leading restaurant software developer RTI announced that Burger King franchisees GPS Hospitality of Atlanta and Capital Restaurant Group LLC, of North Charleston, South Carolina, have chosen RTIconnect for their back office technology.
GPS Hospitality has 42 restaurants in Georgia and Capital Restaurant Group has 28 restaurants in South Carolina.
Quick-service operators increasingly have the ability to target their customers right where they are. The industry’s use of mobile marketing has grown exponentially over the last two years, and marketers are projected to spend $1.2 billion on mobile display advertising (not including smartphone apps, mobile coupons, and other mobile ads) by 2014, according to eMarketer.
Burger King hopes its new delivery service will be a great profit-driver for the chain, as the company is banking on customers to put in large orders for office lunches, birthday parties, and other gatherings in the select cities where the service is offered.
But it may not be the only brand with a careful eye on the BK Delivers service. Other non-pizza quick serves might be hoping for its success to validate investing in the space, which could open new sales opportunities in urban communities.
Forget quick-serve mainstays like burgers and fries. These days, limited-service brands are looking to coffee to beef up business, and Burger King is the latest chain to get in on the action.
Burger King’s customers can now enjoy 10 new specialty drinks, including iced coffees in a variety of flavors, roast coffees with a 100 percent Latin American Arabica custom blend, and lattes in multiple flavors.
Actions Services Group, a national lighting, sign, and electrical maintenance company, announced a service agreement with Strategic Restaurants Acquisition Company to provide exterior sign and lighting maintenance services for its 295 Burger King units.
The two-year maintenance program covers proactive, scheduled quarterly visits to Strategic Restaurants’ units under a fixed monthly fee.