These days in the quick-service and fast-casual restaurant industries, the Millennial reigns supreme. The coveted demographic, approximately 20–35 in age and roughly 80 million members strong in the U.S., is the all-important target whose liberal tastes and propensity for all things digital and social media has forced the industry into a new era of innovation and transparency.
In an attempt to elevate their menu offerings, some quick-serve chains are teaming with professional chefs to revamp and upscale their food and beverage products.
Atlanta-based Great Wraps; Greensboro, North Carolina–based Biscuitville; and Emeryville, California–based Peet’s Coffee & Tea are three brands that have recently hired seasoned chefs to spearhead new-menu campaigns.
Great Wraps, an Atlanta-based fast-casual chain with 75 locations across the U.S., will expand into Boston with new franchise partner Fred Gamble. Gamble's commitment to develop three locations, all of which will feature Great Wraps’ new hoodless and fryer-less café operation, extends the brand's efforts to reach customers at high-traffic retail centers, office buildings, and universities.
As winter storms continue to wreak havoc in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast U.S., a bleak sales picture among limited-service restaurants is starting to emerge.
Foodservice sales in the regions most affected by snow and ice storms dropped between 7 and 8 percent in January and February, according to foodservice consulting firm Technomic. National foodservice sales declined between 3 and 4 percent overall as a result.
Great Wraps, an Atlanta-based hot wrapped sandwich, grilled sandwich, and fresh salads concept, has recently brought on Matthew DeBusk as vice president of brand development to lead its rebranding efforts and franchise expansion. “We and our entire franchise system are thrilled to have Matt join our Team," says Mark Kaplan, chairman of Great Wraps Inc. “He brings proven franchise experience and is already making a huge impact at all levels of the organization."