Five Guys

How to Incentivize Your Crew

The quick-service industry is notorious for its 100-percent-plus turnover levels. But with the costs of hiring and training new employees—both in money and time—stealing precious resources away from operators in a still-lagging economy, many are relying on employee incentive programs to keep their crew around.

Many operators are finding that such programs can address not just turnover, but also a range of personnel issues, such as attendance problems, customer service levels, and even average ticket size.

Interpreting the Top 100

Every year, many of us anxiously await the release of Technomic’s Fast Casual Top 100 report. Technomic’s Darren Tristano, one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, gave me an interview and a sneak peek at the report. Here are his thoughts, followed by a few of my own.

Darren, what is the size of the fast-casual segment (2010)?

LIVE: Freestyle Innovation Continues at NRA

Coca-Cola Co. has partnered with a technology company to allow the new Coca Cola Freestyle fountain dispensers to work hand-in-hand with radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips imbedded in beverage cups.

The tagged cups will trigger the computer software in Coca Cola Freestyle machines to pour the customer's beverage. Without the chip, the dispenser won't work.

Exclusive First Peek! Fast-Casual Top 100

Last week QSR's in-house fast-casual expert, George Green, snagged the interview of the season with Darren Tristano, executive vice president at leading research firm Technomic. Not only did he get Tristano's coveted insight on the fast-casual industry, he gained exclusive access to the highly anticipated Fast Casual Top 100 Report.

Below is Green's first-hand account of his time with Tristano as well as his own analysis of the study, which comes out next week.

The Fall of Pizza

What’s happened to pizza’s major players?

In 2000, the QSR 50 Report, this magazine’s annual ranking of the nation’s top quick-service brands, showed a robust American appetite for pizza, a category trailing only burger joints in representation. With pizza chains claiming four of the list’s top 15 slots and 12 of the top 50, the segment seemed poised to maintain its spot as a 21st century quick-service staple.

Five Guys Franchisee Finds Some Financing Help

United Capital Business Lending, a subsidiary of BankUnited, announced that it is providing $2 million in financing to Five Guys Burgers and Fries owner Craig Cohen. United Capital refinanced three existing stores for the Brooklyn, New York–based franchisee and will also provide funding to open two additional Five Guys locations. With the new sites, Cohen will own and operate five Five Guys restaurants.

Trickle-Down Theory

There was a time when the only place you could find Black Angus beef on a menu was at some of the nation’s finest steakhouses. But these days, Angus burgers are served at McDonald’s, Back Yard Burgers, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, and Smashburger and are just one of many fine-dining menu items, ingredients, and techniques that were adopted by quick-service and fast-casual restaurants over the last decade.

Cheap Marketing Tips that Work

In the teeth of the recession, Back Yard Burgers developed a new, slimmed-down marketing strategy. The roughly 200-unit, Nashville, Tennessee–based chain cut costs across the board, developed a slick-looking website, and created a social media strategy centered on Facebook and Twitter.

But Ken King, a senior consultant with National Restaurant Consultants Inc., says this was a disaster.

“Their same-store sales in some stores are down as much as 20 or 30 percent,” King says. “They’re just not reaching the public at all.”

These Spuds Aren’t Duds

Potato fries may have originated in Europe, but Americans have certainly embraced them as their own.

After all, nearly 8 billion servings of french fries were sold in U.S. restaurants during the 12 months that ended in June, according to statistics from NPD Group, a global market research firm. That represented 15.5 percent of all restaurant orders.

Pages