My year-end top brand stories recap was well received last year, and I decided to do it again. I’ll break from my usual Q&A format to recap this year’s most important brand developments in fast food.
The women of foodservice are a savvy, confident, and—perhaps most importantly—growing group. They’ve fought their way to the top, led entire brands at young ages, chaired restaurant associations and organizations, and in some cases been the first female executive at their organization.
Despite a year filled with turmoil in Washington, the limited-service restaurant industry showed moderate growth and promise in 2013, thanks in part to creative new ideas and products, plus another good gain from fast-casual units.
With issues such as sequestration, a payroll tax increase, the government shutdown, and the Affordable Care Act hanging over the industry, it’s perhaps not surprising that gains have only been nominal, despite employment increases and an improving economy.
Q: What are the best ways to promote a new menu item?
A: Product innovation is no longer simply a positioning strategy; it's become a necessity for all quick serves. So it's smart to look into introducing a new menu item.
Today’s restaurant consumers are increasingly tech savvy and interactive, and much of the quick-service industry has catered to their habits and preferences with the launch of online or mobile ordering tools.
Until recently, that did not include burger concepts, which have struggled to integrate online ordering into established cooking systems. Now, however, more burger joints are figuring out how to incorporate online ordering and are rolling out platforms to improve the overall customer experience.
With everything from marketing and branding to menu development and promotions capturing the attention of quick-service brands and operators, it often seems like packaging doesn’t get its due. But as consumers become more sophisticated and discerning about where they spend their time and money, brands are discovering that packaging has the potential to be the differentiator that captures share of stomach.
Creating a simple brand image can be quite complicated—but it may also pay off.
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.
McDonald’s Corp. has confirmed that it will replace all polystyrene beverage cups with paper cups at its 14,000 U.S. outlets. The move comes in response to a shareholder proposal filed by As You Sow in 2011, asking it to stop using foam.
Michael Irgang has joined OSI Group as vice president and chief accounting officer as of September 9, 2013. Irgang has been employed by McDonald’s Corporation for the past twenty years where he most recently held the position of senior director, financial risk management, and concurrently served as treasurer of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). His past positions include treasury director for McDonald’s Latin America and manager, capital markets.