Quick service brands like Umami Burger growth with smartly executed plans.
Alan Philips: Trends to Watch
Umami Burger is a highly successful chain of burger joints founded in 2009 by Adam Fleischman. Having read about umami (the “fifth taste”) in food blogs and books—and as a fan of In-N-Out Burger—Fleischman thought he could successfully apply its principles to the classic American burger. He was...
Loyal customers spend 67 percent more at restaurants than new guests.
Outside Insights
Identifying, rewarding, and retaining your best customers is one of the hardest challenges for any restaurant. It’s both a marathon and a sprint, and with loyal customers spending 67 percent more than new ones, it’s a race you can’t afford to lose. The right loyalty program can help get more...
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Women in Foodservice
Though many women dream of striking out on their own in the foodservice industry, others envision working alongside their spouse or launching a new concept with the help of their siblings. For women looking to partner up in a restaurant brand, family members often make great allies: They know what...
Growth
After college graduation and an eight-month stint supervising the post–Hurricane Katrina cleanup, Justin Harris wasted little time in taking on the quick-service industry. Harris, like so many others in the field, signed on with Dickey’s Barbecue Pit without any prior ownership or operations...
Healthy Denver based fast casual offers fresh instead of processed ingredients.
Emerging Concepts
When Patrick Fox opened Cava Greens in 2002, he fashioned it to be the anti–quick serve. The food court–based eatery inside Denver’s 56-story Republic Plaza dishes up custom, hand-tossed salads alongside a range of fresh and natural offerings. The store resists processed foods in favor of dozens of...
Quick service brands like Tropical Smoothie Cafe move to college real estate.
Growth
Millennials. Ever heard of ’em? Of course you have. Millennials are all anyone in foodservice can talk about right now, the crème de la crème of today’s coveted customer demographics. Depending on whom you ask, they might be 20 years old or they might be 35 years old; studies vary on what, exactly...
Some quick service chief executives also double as brand franchisees.
Executive Insights
Quick-serve leaders have a lot of their plate, whether it’s finding ways to boost the brand’s growth or looking out for all of the people and operators in their care. Still, for some CEOs, running the company isn’t the only thing they’re concerned about; they’re also focused on making their own...
Food trucks present a threat to traditional quick service restaurants.
Competition
Competition is fierce in the restaurant industry, and quick serves are facing yet another threat in the fight for share of stomach. A recent study from the NPD Group, a global information company, revealed that when consumers opt for a food-truck visit, it often replaces a visit that otherwise...
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...
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...
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 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...
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...