Burger King

Washington May Not Have the Economy Pegged Just Yet

Timothy Geithner is “welcoming” Americans into the recovery, but restaurant operators aren’t feeling the hospitality.

On August 2, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote an op-ed in the New York Times with the title, “Welcome to the Recovery.” Despite the brash headline, Geithner was cautiously optimistic about the direction of the economy.

“Recoveries that follow financial crises are typically a hard climb,” he wrote. “That is reality. The process of repair means economic growth will come slower than we would like. But despite these challenges, there is good news to report.”

Local Heroes Top Golden Arches

In a recent survey, local brands, fast casuals, and (of course) Chick-fil-A rank at the top of consumer satisfaction list.

Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, and Panera Bread rank among the best quick serves in the country in customer satisfaction, according to a study J.D. Power and Associates released on Tuesday.

The 2010 U.S. Restaurant Satisfaction Study evaluated consumer responses to an online survey that measured four aspects of customer satisfaction: price, environment (ambiance, cleanliness, convenience of location/hours), meal (quality/taste of food, meal presentation, portion size), and service (speed, wait staff courtesy/friendliness). 

One Sauce Doesn’t Fit All

Using ketchup to dip or slather french fries is a long-established American tradition. The pairing has not only provided consumers with a distinct flavor, but it has given diners the ability to choose how much of the condiment to use, based on their own tastes.

It turns out that this flavor-control ritual also served as the restaurant industry’s foreshadowing of a much larger concept—individualization—that has been sweeping across the industrial world for the past couple of decades.

Blister Packs are Overrated

Back in the fall of 2007, I took the liberty in this space of calling for quick-serve operators to consider consigning standard-issue, blister-pack condiments to history’s dustbin.

The basis for this potentially unpopular position lay in my belief that while chains of all types had made enormous strides in quality, presentation, and variety over the last 10–15 years, condiments had evolved barely a whit. 

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