Firehouse Subs

FROM THE FLOOR: Fast Casual is Talk of the Town

Fast-casual exectuives discuss the booming category during a panel at the National Restaurant Association's annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

 

Fast casual continues to be the hottest segment of the restaurant industry, so there’s no surprise that it’s drawing plenty of attention during the National Restaurant Association’s annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

The Writing on the Wall

Change is afoot at the drive-thru window. While the principles of the drive thru have remained the same for decades, new technology and tighter operations are ensuring that menuboards and broader menu strategies will evolve as brands attempt to maximize the outdoor lane.

One important drive-thru innovation came roughly 25 years ago, when King-Casey, a retail consulting and design firm, worked with Burger King to place pre-selling signs along the path to purchase, where customers wait to get to the drive-thru ordering station, says Tom Cook, principal at King-Casey.

The Tipping Point

Operators debate whether a gratuity option at the point of sale is right for their brand.
Quick service chains consider adding tipping function to point of sale.
Jersey Mike's new point-of-sale terminal gives franchisees the option of adding a gratuity request to customers' orders.

While tipping has never been a customer expectation in the limited-service restaurant industry, some chains have implemented gratuity options with their new, higher-tech point-of-sale systems, like counter payment terminals or mobile apps. But not every brand is certain whether tipping is appropriate in the category.

New Study Reveals America’s Favorite Quick-Service Chains

Pizza segment rankings from Market Force Information survey. Market Force Information

With new limited-service brands emerging at a rapid pace, consumers have more dining choices than ever, and their preferences are proving that established national concepts could learn a thing or two from these smaller, younger chains. According to a nationwide study on consumers’ favorite quick-service chains from Market Force Information, brands like Firehouse Subs, Qdoba, and Papa Murphy’s rank better for customer satisfaction compared to more established category players like Subway, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.

What Great Brands Do

Q: What does it take for a quick-service brand to become a great brand?

A: I get this question all the time. Many people look at superstar brands like Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Nike and mistakenly conclude those companies achieved their successes as a result of good timing, great advertising, or just plain luck. But I’ve found that these companies have employed specific, somewhat surprising, techniques that have turned them into industry icons.

What Burger Brands Can Learn from Sandwiches

2013 Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark Study Empathica Inc.

The burger segment could learn a thing or two from its more malleable brother, the sandwich. Despite the surge of better-burger companies, consumers are not as satisfied with burger brands as they are sandwich concepts, according to a quick-service restaurant benchmark study from Empathica Inc., a Mindshare Technologies company.

Show Me the Money

Most people are familiar with the process of getting a home or car loan. But for franchisees hoping to finance their first restaurant, fifth location, or even a remodeling project, securing a loan is a totally different ball game, one that can be difficult to navigate.

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