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...
Chicken on a stick can expand a concept’s menu offerings.
Marc Halperin: Resident F&B Expert
It’s been breaded, fried, broken into its constituent parts and pieces, and served in a bucket. It’s been basted, grilled, broken into chunks, and layered over greens and vegetables. It’s been dressed, pressed, formed into patties, slapped on a bun, and served as a sandwich. And it’s been roasted,...
New survey shows consumers gravitate toward combo meals when offered.
Industry News
Combo and value meal deals are part of the DNA of fast food restaurants, but two researchers find that changes to the meals could help quick serves steer customers toward healthier offerings. Kathryn Sharpe of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Professor Richard Staelin of...
Industry News
  Starbucks’ ambitious goal to have 100 percent of its cups be reusable or recyclable by 2015 may have just gotten much easier. The company announced a successful test with paper cup manufacturer International Paper and pulp mill Mississippi River Pulp that used recycled cups from stores to create...
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 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...
Fast food kitchens must protect restaurants against food borne illness.
How to Improve Your Food Safety
Stories surrounding food-borne illness outbreaks in national quick-service restaurant chains have become very common, with many national brands having suffered at least one major food-borne illness outbreak. Whether the cause of the outbreak is due to contaminated food or unclean surfaces, food...
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...
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...