Direct and fair trade are the two main ways to source coffee.
Outside Insights
Light and sweet; milk, no sugar. It seems as little as 20 years ago, people cared more about how they took their coffee than where it was from and how it was grown. Now we have choices and people are more informed. But how can we be sure that we’re buying ethically grown and processed coffee that...
Papa Murphy's slowed restaurant expansion due to the down economy in 2008.
Growth
The history books detailing the recent Great Recession will include plenty of obvious chapters: the subprime mortgage crisis, Wall Street bailouts, housing bubbles, and skyrocketing unemployment. But those volumes might miss a less visible element of the economic collapse: the crippling credit...
Grilled cheese sandwiches at Cheeseboy offer innovative take on traditional food
Ingredients & Dayparts
There’s nothing cheesy about fromage. Cheese is one of the most ancient man-made food products, dating back thousands of years. Today, it’s among the most popular ingredients in cuisine, with hundreds of varieties from dozens of countries around the world. “When you talk about a food category,...
McAlister's Deli uses a table tracking system to improve restaurant operations.
In the Store
In an age when, according to Pew Research Center, one in three Americans owns a tablet and most adults use the Internet on their cell phones, it’s no surprise that businesses of all shapes and sizes are bringing in technology to bolster sales. Innovative technologies are nothing new at quick-...
Industry News
Taco Bell made news early this week with CEO Greg Creed’s announcement that the brand would scrap kids’ meals and toys by January 2014—all in the name of kicking up its edgy image and resonating with its target Millennial customers. Though the move isn’t likely to create big waves financially—Creed...
Fast casual Energy Kitchen is one restaurant using the REAL certification.
Industry News
Several quick-service restaurants are doubling down on their health and wellness efforts thanks to the new REAL Certification program from the United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC). Established in 2011, the USHFC is a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated...
A Jersey Mike's franchisee used communication and influence to grow top unit.
Franchising
Cathy Brown graduated from college as a mechanical engineer and spent time working with a government contractor to create guidance systems for cruise missiles. At one point she was also a high-school math teacher. She eventually landed in the quick-service industry, and in 2009, Brown was tasked...
Industry News
Caffeine-packed energy drinks may get their fair share of flak, but today’s on-the-go consumers continue to seek a quick and tasty pick-me-up. And with its new Pure Recharge Smoothie, beverage brand Smoothie King thinks it has the solution—without all of the artificial ingredients common in many...
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...
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...
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...