Jennifer Gregory

Expect the Unexpected

No operator wants to think about his restaurant catching on fire, a tornado destroying his roof, or an armed robber walking through his front door.

But to successfully deal with unexpected emergencies, quick-serve restaurants must have a plan in place long before an event happens.

The decisions operators, managers, and staff make in the heat of the moment can save the business and, even more importantly, potentially the lives of employees and customers.

Coffee is King

Forget quick-serve mainstays like burgers and fries. These days, limited-service brands are looking to coffee to beef up business, and Burger King is the latest chain to get in on the action.

Burger King’s customers can now enjoy 10 new specialty drinks, including iced coffees in a variety of flavors, roast coffees with a 100 percent Latin American Arabica custom blend, and lattes in multiple flavors.

Healthy Is Hip

The spotlight on healthy eating is growing brighter, and now even the youngest eaters are taking notice. A recent study by children’s research firm KidSay and The Marketing Store Worldwide (TMSW) showed the majority of children ages 5–11 think they are healthy eaters, with more than 80 percent of kids saying healthy eating was “cool,” up from 59 percent in 2004.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Customers are constantly complaining about employees bickering with one another, serve times and incorrect orders are growing every day, and three of your best employees have quit in the last month. All of these problems have one thing in common: They can be the result of a staff that isn’t working together as an effective team.

“It’s not just how we serve the customer, but how we service each other. Customers really notice that,” says Bruce Schroder, executive vice president and COO at Jamba Juice.

Experience is Everything

Fancy table linens and candles aren’t typically found in most quick-service restaurants, but incorporating them could be the secret to a happier customer.

During a recent Cornell study, one group of customers ate in a standard dining room at a Hardee’s restaurant in Champaign, Illinois. A second group dined in a Hardee’s resembling a fine-dining restaurant with linen tablecloths, candles on the table, and soft jazz music playing.

Customers in both groups ordered the same amount of food from the menu, but patrons in the fine-dining section rated the food quality higher.