Wendy's

10 Trends for 2013

The menu items, promotional tools, and business strategies that will affect quick serves this year.

Menu items like Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad use popular buzzwords.
Wendy's used the popular buzzword "fresh" to promote its Berry Almond Chicken Salad. Wendy's

What would the start of another year be without predictions? Whether analyzing politics, the silver screen, or stock markets, experts try to offer a peek at the trends we can expect in the coming year.

The restaurant industry is no different. Throughout 2012’s fourth quarter, various consultants, chefs, and operators gazed into their crystal balls and forecasted the hot restaurant ideas and issues of 2013.

The following 10 trends, according to those experts, seem most likely to impact quick-service and fast-casual restaurants this year.

Fancy Fast Food

The days of dingy, dull, and outdated fast-food joints may soon be a thing of the past. Quick serves are meeting the demands of an evolving consumer base to remain competitive with the fast-casual sphere, using everything from sleek interiors with comfortable booths and flat-screen televisions to healthy, fresh food and drink offerings.

Strikes Hit the Big Apple's Largest Fast Food Chains

New Yorkers saw 200 workers on strike this week at the city’s largest fast food chains, as employees at dozens of McDonald's, Burger Kings, and Taco Bells held a one day strike to call for higher wages to support their families and the right to form a union without interference.

For Wendy's, It's a Whole New World

The Wendy’s of tomorrow isn’t your parents’ fast-food joint. With an all-encompassing brand transformation program in place—which includes everything from a new logo and store design to upscale menu developments and attention-catching ad campaigns—the chain is delivering everything today’s demanding customer desires.

“We feel that all brands have to move forward,” says Wendy’s chief marketing officer Craig Bahner. “You can’t stand still. You’re either getting better, or you’re getting worse.”

2012 QSR Drive-Thru Study

How the best drive-thru operations in the industry make the wheels go ’round.

Taco Bell has the second fastest drive thru in quick service.

The drive-thru operation of a quick-service restaurant may seem relatively cut and dried, but operators aren’t resting on their laurels when it comes to their outdoor business. For many brands in the industry, the drive thru can account for anywhere between 50 and 70 percent of sales—no small number in a $200 billion industry.

Cracking the NFL

The league’s signage rules are strict, leading brands to take advantage of TV broadcasts.

Wendy's tops list of restaurant brands fighting for broadcast exposure in 2011.
Wendy's topped list of restaurant brands fighting for broadcast exposure in 2011.

Now that football teams across the country are facing off in the NFL’s 2012 season, which kicked off last week, many quick serves are beginning a gridiron contest of their own.

Marketing and advertising efforts designed around the NFL are an increasingly hot commodity in the industry. But in the NFL, which has strict rules on branded stadium signage, getting in front of viewer eyeballs without buying commercial airtime is a tricky proposition. This has led several brands to develop broadcast partnerships as part of their NFL strategy.

Wendy's Operator Finds Back-Office Help in RTIconnect

Mike Allen is a believer in the “value menu," and not just on his restaurant menuboards. After struggling with a frustrating and costly back-office software system, the Florida operator replaced it with RTIconnect in his Wendy’s restaurants. The value-rich payback, he says, is more accuracy, more information, more convenience—and at a fraction of the price he paid before.

Starbucks Holds $87.4M in Impact Media Value

Starbucks is the top quick-service restaurant brand with $87.4 million of Impact Media Value according to General Sentiment’s Q2 2012 QSR MediaMatch report.

McDonald’s ($39.4 million), Taco Bell ($38.7 million), Burger King ($37.4 million), and Chipotle ($29.5 million) round out the top five. The top six brands in the rankings have remained unchanged since the last report.

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