Panera Bread

The Bistro Solution

Several years ago, Marriott executives determined they were letting revenue walk out the front doors of their Courtyard hotels, which are tailored to frequent business travelers, or “FBTs.” At the time, Courtyard’s breakfast offering was the full-service buffet, familiar to almost anyone who has ever stayed in an American hotel, and their lunch and dinner offerings were negligible.

Rolling in Dough

There’s something about the smell and taste of freshly baked bread that triggers powerful, positive emotional responses in most of us.

Psychologists have noted that the aroma of baked bread evokes happy childhood memories, comfort, and even tender feelings of being loved. One recent survey found the fragrance of freshly baked bread is a favorite smell of both men and women.

This lesson is not lost on supermarkets, which for years have used the distinct aroma of bread baking from in-store bakeries to lure customers to buy more items.

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). 

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. 

The Fast-Casual Six

With hundreds of great concepts and thousands of great operators, the fast-casual segment certainly holds its own in terms of both innovation and leadership. The last 10 years can arguably be called “the decade of fast casual” due to the growth and flourishing of the segment.

The May issue of QSR had a great article on the most innovative people in quick service, but this column will focus on the most influential leaders in fast casual.

Souping Up the Menu

A strong and well-executed commitment to the soup category can play a significant role in helping quick serves increase check averages, enhance their guests’ perceptions of the healthfulness of all of their offerings, and keep guests coming back. Here are just a few benefits of having a strong soup offering on the menu, as well as some observations on what many successful soup programs have in common.

Increase Check Averages

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