Asking how a chain and an independent restaurant differ may seem like a deceptively simple question, with the most obvious answer being that independents have one unit—or maybe two, according to an official definition from The NPD Group—while chains are larger in both size and scale.
With minimum wages, menu legislation, joint employer standards, and more called into question over the last several years, many foodservice brands and franchise owners are more concerned than ever about the future of the franchise industry and their role within it. That’s just one of the reasons the International Franchise Association (IFA)—the oldest and largest organization to represent the franchise industry across the globe—launched the Franchise Action Network (FAN) in June.
In an age when consumers’ choices have never been broader, it’s critical to stand out among the sea of other brands and offerings. That may be one reason why companies from practically every industry are spending hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars to develop and execute marketing campaigns that resonate with their target audience, drive sales, and cement brand loyalty for years to come.
One would imagine that many things change in the course of five decades in the restaurant business. And in terms of the limited-service landscape, consumer habits, and technology, they certainly have.
For many brands, the startup years are full of operational struggles, sourcing issues, and slow, if any, growth. But that hasn’t been the case for New York–based Luke’s Lobster, a concept that’s cornered its own niche within the fast-casual industry in five short years.
In the last half decade, Luke’s has paired an entertaining narrative—fresh Maine seafood with roots in a father-son team’s entrenchment in the lobster industry—with a high-quality product in a market where the core menu item, the lobster roll, does not exist in a large-scale fashion.
Charlotte, North Carolina–based Bojangles’ may fall into the chicken quick-service category, but as any executive, operator, employee, or loyal fan will tell you, it’s all about the biscuit.
And for good reason: The item is included or featured in nearly 80 of the brand’s menu items, a fact that explains how more than 3 billion biscuits have been served at Bojangles’ since its inception in 1977, says senior vice president of marketing Randy Poindexter.
Upholstered booths, a brighter color palette, a clean layout, carefully curated radio stations. These may all be components of an average restaurant redesign, but there’s more to them than meets the eye. In fact, design changes like these are often made with strategic and subtle purposes in mind.
Call it a reflection of consumers’ growing desire for local fare or their increasing demand for cleaner food with minimal processing and fewer ingredients. But one thing is for sure in foodservice today: What’s old is most decidedly new again.
On the heels of the latest jobs report, which revealed that restaurants added more than 30,000 jobs in March—the 49th consecutive month of growth for the industry—limited-service operators are well positioned for the incoming summer season.
In the post-recession economy, major quick-service players are still struggling to find new ways to drive traffic and capture the attention and loyalty of the all-important Millennial consumer.
Now some of the biggest brands in the business, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, think they’ve found the way to do it: mobile payments.