Four in five customers would avoid a restaurant if the bathroom is dirty.
Outside Insights
As the quick-service market becomes more hypercompetitive, many brands are upgrading their brick and mortar facilities as a means of improving the consumer experience and differentiating themselves from the competition. Within the last three years, industry behemoths including McDonald’s, Wendy’s,...
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Blaze Pizza has 150 units in the pipeline.
Competition
All Rick and Elise Wetzel wanted was to have some pizza for lunch. It was a mid-2011 weekday, and the Wetzel’s Pretzels founders were enjoying their 17th year in the pretzel business, a year in which their concept would enjoy roughly $65 million in sales at 192 locations, according to Technomic...
Viral video campaigns like Smithfield's build marketing campaigns online.
Social Media
At Arby’s, it was “legendary detective” Bo Dietl delivering a meat slicer to a competitor’s drive-thru window, reminding viewers and Arby’s fans that many competitors don’t slice on site. At Quiznos, it was a look-alike of famed gymnastics coach Béla Károlyi rating its Chicken Bacon Dipper sandwich...
Subway's new payment processing program saves franchisees millions of dollars.
In the Store
Many brands are happy to leave credit-card processing to the pros, but sandwich chain Subway is going against the grain. The brand’s Independent Purchasing Cooperative (ipc), its purchase and supply chain management arm, recently brought all payment processing in house. The new system processes two...
Industry News
Thirty-five years ago, Taco Cabana opened its first restaurant in Midtown San Antonio. Soon, that original location will be the center of attention as Taco Cabana celebrates 35 years as the “Original Mexican Patio Café” and the grand re-opening of its newly remodeled first location.   To...
Zaxby's new Cobb Zalad offers premium fast casual menu item for a higher cost.
Industry News
The fast-casual category has been the fastest-growing restaurant segment over the past two years, according to market research firm Technomic, as operators in the category continue to effectively balance higher-quality, convenient foods with a more upscale environment. This success has come even as...
Industry News
Take-and-bake pizza chain Papa Murphy’s is on the search for a way to create a stronger brand image, and it’s doing just that with its new CREATE store design. The new restaurant model puts a spotlight on both personalization and transparency—literally—with an open kitchen layout that lets guests...
Your Pie franchisees build restaurant business by marketing healthy menu idea.
Franchising
After years of working in the furniture industry and spending time owning, operating, and eventually selling his stores, Paul Childers entered the quick-serve world in 2009 when a hot tip from a good friend turned Childers on to a new pizza concept called Your Pie. Today, Childers’s two franchised...
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...
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...
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 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...