Quick service restaurant brands experiment with premium and artisanal pizza ingredients.
Marc Halperin: Resident F&B Expert
According to Datassential’s Menu Trends report, more than 35 percent of the nation’s restaurant menus feature pizza among their offerings. At quick-service chains, the figure is slightly higher, at 38 percent. And those are just the outlets that actually use the word pizza to characterize their...
Menu Innovations
Panda Restaurant Group is applying the auto industry’s concept-car theory to innovate in the American-Chinese fast-casual landscape. In July, the company introduced the Innovation Kitchen store in Pasadena, California, to test new menu items that, given positive customer reception, may claim a spot...
Competition
What do you get when you pair a James Beard award–winning chef, his rising-culinary-star son, and a veteran restaurant company? Surprisingly enough, a Houston-based fried chicken joint called Funky Chicken. Acclaimed chef Bradley Ogden; his son, Bryan; and the skilled team at Bradley Ogden...
McDonalds is one major fast food chain to incorporate Apple's new mobile tool.
Industry News
Although the concept of consumers using their smartphones to pay for food at limited-service restaurants is nothing new, the mobile payment industry is expected to get a huge boost with last month’s launch of Apple Pay. The payment service is available with Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus....
Outside Insights
Frozen-yogurt shops are reaching critical mass as sales and momentum start to slow down. The next obvious step in this fad is for the segment to reach its breaking point when weaker brands begin to fall away leaving only the strong to survive. Change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean change has...
Outside Insights
Within the quick-service restaurant industry, there is an urgent need for more effective and quantifiable marketing. The current use of conventional advertising and promotions does not work—it certainly does not work easily or affordably—and there must be a way to better engage consumers. The goal...
Quick service pizza brands innovate with menu using on trend toppings.
Menu Innovations
Over the past century, Americans have developed a special craving for certain foods, both at home and in restaurants—items like burgers and fries, sandwiches and fried chicken. And then there’s pizza. One of the nation’s most beloved meals, pizza is the sum of varied parts: crust, sauce, cheese,...
Outside Insights
Don’t you get tired of hearing about the impending minimum wage increase? It is no longer if it is going to happen, but rather when is it going to happen and what will the magnitude be? The reality is that nobody really knows, but if you look around, isn’t it already beginning to happen? In some...
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Fast food restaurant companies innovate supply around farm drought conditions.
At Mother Nature’s Mercy
Kevin Kester’s family has been farming in the U.S. for generations. And it’s not just a couple of generations they’ve been farming; more like generations upon generations, way back to the 1600s, specifically in California since the 1860s. Today, Kester owns a 22,000-acre beef cattle ranch in...
More Wall Street investors look to buy stock in fast casual and quick service concepts.
The Push for Public
When fast-casual chain Zoës Kitchen Inc. debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last April, the Plano, Texas–based Mediterranean-style eatery recorded its initial public offering at $87.5 million. Satisfying an investor appetite for investments within the trendy fast-casual space, Zoës’ strong...
Quick service restaurant executives run charity effort to raise funds for cancer research.
A Personal Connection
When Lori Newcomb found out she had stage III ovarian cancer last year, she made it her mission to learn more about the disease and help other women fighting the same battle. She sat down with her husband, Chris Newcomb, cofounder and CEO of Southern quick-service chain Newk’s Eatery, and together...
Quick service brands add sustainable seafood items to fight ocean climate change.
Sea Change
Though U.S. consumption is well below other proteins today, seafood will likely be an increasingly important part of the American diet in the years to come. The country’s population is predicted to grow by 89 million between 2010 and 2050 to 401 million people. More people require more food—and...
10 Challenges for Fast-Casual Leaders
While the fast-casual category continues to be the fastest-growing industry sector, the road in 2015 will be bumpy. We will see constant change and challenges around every corner. For industry leaders, there are issues that will keep even the most seasoned executive awake at night.  Here is my top...
The One-Stop Shop
Convenience stores are increasingly taking a larger slice out of the quick-serve pie with fresh food offerings. It’s become such a lucrative business for C-stores that Sheetz, the Pennsylvania-based C-store chain that this week opened its 500th location, is planning stores designed more as fast...