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...
Read Full Story // read more about: Outside Insights
Fried chicken quick service brand dishes high quality Southern inspired meals.
Emerging Concepts
Slim Chickens has at least one thing in common with the likes of Apple, Google, and Nike: It can trace its roots to a garage. President and CEO Tom Gordon concocted the idea for the fast-casual chicken concept in CMO Greg Smart’s garage. “We got the idea that no one was doing fresh chicken tenders...
Wolfgang Puck Express was one of the first fast casual brands run by a fine-dining chef.
Industry News
When Wolfgang Puck opened his first Wolfgang Puck Express in San Francisco’s Union Square Macy’s in 1991, the James Beard Award–winning chef redefined what guests could expect from a quick, takeout meal. Now, with the rollout of three new fast-casual concepts, Puck, who many consider a fast-casual...
Health and wellness restaurant CEO shares his history in starting nutritious brand.
Start to Finish: What Inspires Execs
I worked in the fashion business, so I became super focused and super aware of the importance of health and wellness and looking great in front of cameras through my first job out of college. And I basically surrounded myself with a bunch of these mom-and-pop delis in Manhattan that were catering...
Health and wellness are at center of Washington DC based salad concept Sweetgreen.
Charitable Giving
The classroom isn’t just for learning the A, B, Cs and 1, 2, 3s—more kids these days are also introduced to concepts like nutrition, the environment, and sustainability thanks to a crop of new partnerships between limited-service restaurants and public schools. Fast-casual concept Sweetgreen is one...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Burger chain Shake Shack sees phenomenal growth from commitment to product and charity.
Three Lessons in Charitable Giving from Shake Shack
No doubt you’ve heard about Shake Shack’s successful IPO and its $1.7 billion valuation. The burger stand that started in New York’s Madison Square Park and now has locations in places like Moscow, Istanbul, and Dubai has had a very big year. What you may not have heard is the equally big news the...