Subway

Washington May Not Have the Economy Pegged Just Yet

Timothy Geithner is “welcoming” Americans into the recovery, but restaurant operators aren’t feeling the hospitality.

On August 2, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote an op-ed in the New York Times with the title, “Welcome to the Recovery.” Despite the brash headline, Geithner was cautiously optimistic about the direction of the economy.

“Recoveries that follow financial crises are typically a hard climb,” he wrote. “That is reality. The process of repair means economic growth will come slower than we would like. But despite these challenges, there is good news to report.”

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). 

Subway, Unscripted

When 17-year-old Fred DeLuca decided he’d try to earn his college tuition by launching a sandwich shop, he and partner Peter Buck set a goal of opening 32 outlets in 10 years.

“We fell a little short,” DeLuca recalls 45 years later. “I think we had 24 open” by 1975.

It might’ve been the last time his brainchild, now known as Subway, would miss an expansion target. Last year, at a time when the restaurant industry appeared to be contracting, the chain grew by 1,153 units in the U.S. alone. That’s roughly an opening every eight hours.

Quality Control

Timothy Howes is tired of hearing about product quality—at least the way most owners and operators frame the topic.

“If I hear one more restaurant owner say, ‘We serve quality food,’ I think I’m going to scream,” says Howes, a principal consultant and management expert for performance consultant Spyglass Strategies. “Quality food is not a differentiator. It has to be more than that. What restaurant would ever tell their customers that they serve mediocre food?”

Could a Salt Mandate Be Next?

Restaurants are doing all they can to stop federal regulations of salt from becoming a reality. But is it working?

With the release of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report recommending the government regulate the amount of sodium in the nation’s food supply, the restaurant industry says it wants to take action—on its own.

“The industry supports a voluntary, incremental approach to reducing sodium levels in menu items, and would have concerns about any potential government mandate that creates a one-size-fits-all rule to ingredient standards,” the National Restaurant Association said in an April 20 statement, released the same day as the IOM report.

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