Name any quick-serve giant, and a signature dish with a time-honored formula comes to mind. From McDonald’s Big Mac to Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich, such historic menu items have defined brands for decades, catapulting both sales and brand awareness.
Since its 1960 founding, Domino’s Pizza relied on a pizza formula that delivered millions of customers and an unmistakable national presence. In December, however, the Ann Arbor, Michigan–based pizzeria announced it was dropping its 50-year-old pizza recipe and starting anew.
In March of 2008, Subway launched a value deal nationwide that already had explosive success in a number of the chain’s South Florida stores. The introduction of the $5 footlong deal across the U.S. was intended to be an answer to the $1 value menus of industry standard-bearers such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s and a new direction for the brand in the wake of its advertising success with Jared Fogle.
Ask any quick-serve operator who’s been through a crisis. He will be able to tell you the exact date, time, and day of the week the fate of his concept came under attack. Whether it’s a food scare, a rodent infestation, a food-borne illness, or a product recall that threatens a brand’s reputation, its every detail—along with a feeling of peril—is emblazoned into his memory.