Knowing building and permitting details can help speed up construction time.
Outside Insights
Opening a quick-service restaurant in a challenging economy can feel like venturing into a risky commercial real estate development; there are heavy capital expenditures, significant operating costs, and months without revenue. So, more than ever before, operators are seeking ways to open their...
Read Full Story // read more about: Design
Ken Switzer is Marco’s Pizza’s CFO and developed Marco’s Assurance.
Executive Insights
When banks wanted a third-party guarantee who didn’t have to sell their house to repay franchisee loans, Ken Switzer, CFO of Marco's Pizza, stepped in with an unusual idea. As a result of the frozen credit market, Switzer developed Marco's Assurance, which offers a $50,000 guarantee on franchisees...
Read Full Story // read more about: Finance, Franchising, Growth
Consumers are buying more restaurant gift cards.
Industry News
For most retailers, the days after Christmas are awash with returned gifts. But many quick-service operators are seeing a flood of gift cards. Consumer spending for prepaid cards at limited-service restaurants soared this year, and the growth was even stronger during the holiday season, according...
There is a fine line between terrific and terrible cheap restaurant marketing ef
Promotions
In the teeth of the recession, Back Yard Burgers developed a new, slimmed-down marketing strategy. The roughly 200-unit, Nashville, Tennessee–based chain cut costs across the board, developed a slick-looking website, and created a social media strategy centered on Facebook and Twitter. But Ken King...
Seven trends will effect the way operators do business in 2011.
Industry News
Restaurant operators have spent 2010 in wait-and-see mode. The economy seems to have survived the financial collapse of 2008—survived being used quite literally here, as in, not died—and is even slowly growing. But consumers are still pinching pennies, and staying afloat in the restaurant industry...
Wendy's new Dave's Hot 'n Juicy Cheeseburger is being advertised by Wendy hersel
Industry News
Two decades ago, as Wendy’s was mired in a sales slump, the burger chain turned to its founder, Dave Thomas, to serve as its advertising voice. The move proved fortuitous. After a shaky start, Thomas evolved into the folksy, self-effacing face of the company—and a beloved American character. He...
Charlie Morrison went from interim to full-time executive at Pizza Inn.
Executive Insights
In an economic climate full of uncertainty and change, many businesses have turned to interim executives to right the ship. The quick-serve industry is no different. In June, Denny’s Corp. named chairwoman Debra Smithart-Oglesby interim CEO after Nelson Marchioli left the company. In August, El...
Pei Wei's menu is inspired by food from five Asian nations.
Industry News
There’s nothing unusual about a quick-serve concept doing a little bit of R&D homework in the culinary environment that inspired its menu. So when Chef Eric Justice, executive chef of Asian concept Pei Wei, visits Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, and Korea next year to do some menu...
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...
Quick service restaurants relaunch to build franchising program.
Franchise Fixes
Companies have good reasons for acquiring franchise brands. Often they see potential in a brand and hope to use their own resources to build it into a national contender. Many brands, though, need a healthy dose of TLC after acquisition. And some companies have found that a good rebranding can...
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...
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...
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...