Posts Tagged ‘fast food’

What are the Top Quick Service Restaurants in America?

October 6, 2011

This past August, Market Force (a Boulder, CO firm that researches consumer trends) surveyed 4,500 customers around the nation to find the most popular quick-service locations in the United States. Their finding? That it’s not always the quickest fast-food restaurants that are the favorites.


Who are America’s Favorite Quick Service Restaurants?


The Market Force survey asked respondents to rate the restaurants in areas like friendly service, atmosphere, food quality, healthful choices, cleanliness, kid-friendless, and greenness/sustainability.


“Minimalist” burger restaurant Five Guys didn’t dominate any single category. The chain did however score consistently near the top in every single category. Five Guys emerged as customers’ favorite over all others, coming in at 7%.


Coming in right behind them at 5.9% was West Coast burger chain In-N-Out Burger. Chick-fil-A came in third at 4.1%, with Panera Bread a close fourth at 4.0%.


Chipotle and Panda Express rounded out the “one percent and over” category with 2.7% and 1%, respectively.


But What About McDonald’s?


Fast food giant McDonald’s finished the overall survey with only 0.3% of the vote! But this rating only reflects the combined influence of several different categories.


McDonald’s actually scored second – just behind Sonic – for speed of service. Along with Burger King, Wendy’s, and Subway, however, it ranked close to the bottom of the overall list.


What gives? Aren’t these chains actually more popular than Panera, Five Guys, etc.? After all, you can’t find the top-scoring restaurants just anywhere; in fact, In-N-Out exists almost entirely on the West Coast! But you can find a McDonald’s in virtually every town in America.


We think it likely comes down to the fact that the most convenient choices aren’t always our favorites. After all, Panera may take a little longer to make your food than you’d wait to get that Whopper, but you’re a lot more likely to relax for a few minutes in the St. Louis-based bakery chain.


Could the survey be skewed? After all, Market Force’s clients include Five Guys, Panda Express, Panera and Sonic…


We think this is probably not the case, however. Market Force’s clients also include McDonald’s. If Market Force were going to skew its results in someone’s favor, our guess is that it would be McDonald’s. But this was obviously not the case. We’d like to offer our congratulations to Five Guys, In-N-Out, Chik-fil-A, and Panera!

USA No Longer Fattest Nation on Earth

March 3, 2011

American restaurateurs can rejoice. We are no longer the fattest nation on earth. In spite of the First Lady’s protestations, or perhaps in part because of them, the United States has been surpassed by the Middle Eastern oil barons of Kuwait for the title of fattest industrialized nation on the planet.

In fact, not only is Kuwait the top country for the world’s fattest people, but the United Arab Emirates, home to such storied places as Dubai and Abu Dhabi is also larger than us.

Pacific Islanders Also Quite Rotund

As if that wasn’t reason enough to quit worrying about that Big Mac and extra large fries on your plate, there are also some Pacific islands with fatter populations than the United States.

They have been rapidly introduced to Western diets and as such have had less time to get used to them than we have so that their populations have grown fatter at a higher rate.

Not Really Such Good News

Of course, just because our country no longer claims the title of fattest nation on earth doesn’t mean that we don’t have an obesity problem here. A recent episode of the new scripted drama Harry’s Law in fact did an expose on the subject.

The show offered a glimpse of how fast food restaurants do seem to proliferate in poor neighborhoods, offering residents there fewer choices for healthy eating than the rest of us may enjoy.

One in Nine Obese

The numbers by the way are actually pretty scary – it turns out that one in nine people the world over are obese and the rate of obesity, especially in developed nations is still increasing at an alarming rate.

So, while we may take a small measure of pride in knowing we’re no longer the fattest nation on earth, we do have quite a ways to go and as such, we should continue to offer healthy options for our diners.

Fast Food Is Unhealthy and Kids Love It – But it Doesn’t Have to Be That Way

November 29, 2010

And in the realm of things we already know but can still try to pretend to feign some shock at, it turns out that kids’ fast food is still unhealthy and still popular. Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity released a report recently where they looked at a dozen different restaurant chains across the country and came to the shocking conclusion we mentioned above. They looked at 3,000 kids meals and found a mere dozen to actually be healthy choices.

Why We Don’t Offer Healthier Options

This is a blog aimed at the restaurant and food service community, so let’s be perfectly blunt – we’re not here to set public policy, we’re not here to try to make our world a better place. We’re here to try to earn a living while giving our patrons a good time when they come to eat in our establishments.

And like it or not, fast food, including French fries and greasy hamburgers taste good and kids love them, so we keep offering them to our patrons. That said, maybe there is a better way.

Healthy Food For Kids that Still Tastes Good

The report also mentioned, as we said, that there were twelve kids meals that did make the grade for being healthy options for fast food. One of them that we thought was interesting was Burger King’s macaroni and cheese meal. It comes with apple slices and fat free milk.

The total cost of the calories in the thing? 285 calories. Compare that to the 973 calories that Dairy Queen was offering their young patrons and it makes us wonder – isn’t there some way we can offer healthy options as well?

Yes, We’re Trying to Make a Living, But…

Okay, we know, you’re not in business to set public policy. You try to offer what your patrons want to eat. Then again, if those patrons are young, they are often going to come in with their parents. We image (we hope) that their parents will want their kids to make healthier choices. Why not at least make healthier choices an option on your menu?

Make your Menu More Inviting and Try Offering New Salads.

July 22, 2010

More than ever before, Americans are trying to find healthy things to eat. As much as we still love our Big Mac and fries, Americans in droves are looking for salads instead. However, many people feel turned off when they see all that green. Wendy’s has come up with a new idea for salads and it’s one that you may want to try as well.

Try Completely New Menu Ideas

Wendy’s is calling their salads “totally reinvented and they certainly sound like it. Instead of the traditional green lettuce and red tomatoes topped with a piece of chicken, one of the new salads from Wendy’s includes red and green apples, blue cheese crumbles, pecans, cranberries and of course the requisite chicken fillet.

Now we’re not saying to copy the new Wendy’s salad fruit for fruit. Instead, we’re suggesting you get together with your staff and start trying to think of new ways to create salads that never existed before and that will include things people really want to eat.

A Strong Market for Salads

Salads now represent a significant and growing portion of the market for fast and slow food. That’s why virtually every major fast food joint has started offering leafy greens on their menus. However, those leafy greens may never attract the diner who likes things sweet and crunchy. For them, consider using ideas like the ones Wendy’s used. Start creating brand new salads that reflect the tastes of your clientele.

Taste Test First

Of course, before you start selling your new salad creations to unsuspecting customers who may say horrible things about your place if they don’t like them, be sure to test the salads first. Look for friends, family, staff members or regular customers that you know will tell you the truth and ask them what they think. You may also want to hire a professional market research company to test the salads if your budget allows for that.