Though McDonalds has long ruled fast food, Chipotle is now the chief industry influence.
Fast Casual
McDonald’s has long served as a de facto leader of the limited-service restaurant space. Far and away the largest quick-service company in the U.S. by system-wide sales, the Golden Arches has for generations been the model for fast-food stability and achievement, the benchmark against which all...
Industry News
1. 8 Fast Food Trends for ’14 There is always excitement at the beginning of a new year, with renewed hopes of health, wealth, and happiness. It’s no different in the limited-service industry, where a year ago, brands were studying up on potential trends to ensure a prosperous 2014. These eight...
Quick service brands innovate soda beverage menus to differentiate product mix.
Menu Innovations
Soda sales aren’t exactly bubbling at restaurants these days. In fact, they’ve been declining for years. Despite that, there’s fizz remaining in carbonated beverages as operators look toward craft sodas, new technology, homemade beverages, and creative concoctions to put effervescence into their...
Quick service restaurant icon KFC is improving menu options while focusing on consistency.
Industry News
Images of the late Col. Harlan Sanders are everywhere as you walk through the Louisville, Kentucky, headquarters of KFC and its parent, Yum! Brands. Not only are there plenty of photos and videos of the company founder and creator of the world’s most popular fried chicken recipe, but there are also...
Quick service restaurant brands hire and train employees to offer great customer service.
In the Store
It’s mid-September and Thom Crosby is on the road again. Every six months, Crosby, the CEO of Pal’s Sudden Service, a 26-unit chain with stores across Tennessee and Virginia, joins Pal’s founder Fred Barger for a road trip. The pair visit all 26 stores, leading quality and system audits at each...
Quick service operators offer alcoholic beverages to eliminate customer veto vote.
Menu Innovations
When news that more quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants were experimenting with alcohol beverage service emerged in the last decade, many operators and experts followed it with a skepticism chaser. Analysts warned that costly liquor licensing, regulatory details, and staffing issues were just a...
Quick service restaurant brands ready health care plans ahead of January deadline.
Human Resources
Come next month, the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health-care reporting provision for businesses with 50 or more full-time employees kicks in. Experts say operators must be certain if they fit into the category of Applicable Large Employer (ALE) or Small Business. “The law combines companies with a...
San Francisco pizza quick service executive learned from movie catering business.
Start to Finish: What Inspires Execs
I never thought I would be an owner of a quick-service restaurant brand; I actually received my economics degree at Stanford. Being in the San Francisco area, however, I happened to wander onto a movie set that was shooting in the Bay Area. After witnessing the movie-catering business, I ended up...
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...
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...
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...