Jordan Melnick

Jordan Melnick is <em>QSR</em>'s online exclusives reporter.
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The Town-Gown Affair

Even with a customer base made up of transient students, college towns represent a major opportunity for quick-serve operators.

McAlister's college town locations seek life long brand customers.
An employee at a college-town McAlister's location helps the brand earn potential life-long customers. McAlister's Deli

Many college-bound students have one word on their minds: freedom. Restaurant operators associate another word with campus life: captivity.

And both groups are equally excited about it.

Hiring’s New Frontier

The exhilarating pace of technological innovation over the last decade has transformed the restaurant industry, but one long-standing problem remains: high turnover.

There are many reasons for the problem. Analysts trace its roots back to faulty hiring practices, inadequate training programs, compensation packages that fail to earn worker loyalty, and many restaurants’ failure to retain good employees by not providing them with exciting career opportunities.

Be Seen, Not Just Heard

By now, just about every quick-service brand and operator has figured out how critical social networking is to their business and has set about posting, tweeting, and sharing things important to their brand.

But with the growing prominence of image-based social networks like Pinterest and Instagram, restaurants might finally have tools uniquely suited to their strengths. After all, few things entice the eyes stronger than food, and a well-taken photograph of a cappuccino, cupcake, or hamburger has the power to lure customers from miles away.

Are Meat Pies Just a Pie in the Sky?

While the meat pie may not be as American as its apple-filled cousin, one quick-service entrepreneur is betting on the Australian street-food staple to become the next big thing in U.S. quick service.

Wayne Homschek is CEO of Pie Face, a meat-pie concept that opened its first location in Sydney, Australia, in 2003 and now has 72 locations Down Under. The first U.S. Pie Face opened in January in Midtown Manhattan, and five more are scheduled to open before the end of the year. By the end of 2013, Homschek plans to have 16 Pie Face locations up and running in New York City.

POS: Coming to a Smartphone Near You

With smartphones getting smarter, smaller, and speedier all the time, concurrent advances in mobile point-of-sale technology are presenting restaurants with the opportunity to make their POS systems mobile.

There are now numerous POS platforms that leverage the iPhone and other mobile devices, including Android-powered smartphones and tablet computers like the iPad, so that restaurants can process payments in the field with a credit-card reader. The readers either attach to mobile devices of the operator’s choice or accept payment through mobile applications like Google Wallet.

Burger King Aims to Reclaim Throne

Embattled burger chain investing a lot of money in its future to get past its recent troubled past.

With Burger King’s announcement of a $750 million, one-year investment in everything from menu to marketing, the burger chain is making a significant push to leave its recent troubles behind.

Supporting the company’s new slogan, “Exciting things are happening at Burger King,” the investment will focus on four priorities: a menu expansion designed to broaden Burger King’s appeal beyond its core of young males, a marketing campaign featuring various celebrities, store renovations, and operations improvements.

Local Flavor a Must at Big Airports

Airports across the U.S. are adding a more local feel to their concourses in an attempt to offer travelers a better sense of what that city has to offer.

National fast food brands should take note. As airports strive for more of a local feel, limited-service companies that are pushing nontraditional expansion and putting airport concourses in their crosshairs could be squeezed out of those locations.