As with many nontraditional settings, college campuses have a lot of built-in advantages. There’s a captive audience of busy, hungry students with disposable income. But getting a quick-service brand into the college environment isn’t a sure thing. Competition is stiff, and college students are more discriminating than ever.
While historians and quick-service industry veterans alike still hotly dispute the exact origin of the drive-thru window, one thing is certain: The rise of the auto industry revolutionized the fast-food business. Quick-service restaurants evolved in tandem with Americans’ growing use and purchase of the automobile—from the drive-in experience of the early ’20s and ’30s to the boom in the ’40s and ’50s of brands like
In-n-Out and Jack in the Box, which were specifically built around the drive-thru lane.
Once a hallmark of classic fast-food joints, the drive-thru operation is getting a fast casual–style facelift thanks to chains like Dallas-based Which Wich. The customizable sandwich concept opened its second drive-thru unit this summer in Crystal Lake, Illinois, to offer more convenience, says Jeremy Cook, senior vice president of real estate and construction.
The back-to-school season signals a return to more regular meal routines for families, and quick-service and fast-casual restaurants are working hard to be a part of those routines. Many limited-service brands are entrenching themselves in and around elementary schools, high schools, and the lucrative university market as students across the U.S. head back to school.
When it comes to developing a quick-service concept, Wingstop CEO Charlie Morrison understands that the economic model remains a large piece of the puzzle. In creating a strong franchise deal that fosters company growth, however, Morrison and many other quick-service leaders know that many other tiles complete the mosaic, including corporate support, marketplace differentiation, and sales momentum.
Roll tape. Two women behind a cluttered counter smile into the camera, a range of designer outfits framing the wall behind them. They talk of a dream to open a business, a love for their corner of Washington, D.C.
Cut to individual glimpses of two men, one laughing as he sits on an orange leather sofa, the other staring contentedly into the camera, a disheveled artist’s studio enclosing him, paints splashed on the background wall. Voiceovers talk of music, of art, of the investment the community makes into these things.
When it comes to all-American food like salads, sandwiches, and burgers, we all have our own version of perfect.
Assembly-line quick-service concepts are making sure customers have the ability to create that perfect menu item. By offering an array of fresh, quality ingredients—from conventional to gourmet—with the option to start from scratch or customize an existing menu item, build-your-own brands are introducing flavors and flavor combinations that engage, entice, and satisfy every palate.
Which Wich has come a long way in its short existence. Ten years after QSR put founder Jeff Sinelli on its cover and called him a “branding phenom”—before a single Which Wich had even opened—the sandwich chain is franchising internationally for the first time.
The brand, with its “Superior Sandwiches” tagline, will be setting up shop in Panama, Mexico, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates this year.
Colorado Wich LLC, d/b/a Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, an award-winning, national sandwich concept celebrated its recent award of Franchisee of the Year at the annual Which Wich corporate convention in January. More than 143 franchises were in consideration for the prestigious honor. Additionally, Colorado Wich received the award for Highest Annual Sales for its unprecedented growth in 2012 as the top restaurant in the Which Wich system. There are currently 12 Which Wich restaurants across the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs.
Aside from all being west of the Mississippi River, Denver; Waco, Texas; and Yuma, Arizona, have seemingly little in common. One is a thriving cosmopolitan metro nestled on the rim of the Rocky Mountains; one sits in the shadow of much larger and more heralded Lone Star markets; and the other perches quietly on the nation's southern border.
Each has its own charm and character, but all share one distinction: high potential for quick-service restaurant growth, according to QSR’s third-annual Growth 40 report.