Growth in the quick-serve, fast-casual space is very fickle. All the signs of a strong brand can be present, yet when a brand expands beyond it’s current turf, failure can be swift and fatal.
For the record, size doesn’t matter when it comes to success. There are small brands (under 500 locations) and larger brands (some with tens of thousands of locations) that have seem amazing and profitable growth. An each brand has a different approach to how it works with franchisees. Chick-fil-A as an example has a rule where operators my only have one location whereas others encourage multiple units.
The stomach wants what the stomach wants – when the stomach wants it.
There was once a time in this world where, after dinner, people would wind down their day and actually do the unthinkable – go to bed and sleep until morning. Then, one day, a restaurant had an idea that it would not just add a meal to the day, but also start a trend that would change our eating habits forever.
Taco Bell decided that Americans needed a fourth meal. They bought it and now we’ve got a mix of late night dominators trying to up their breakfast game and leaders in the QSR sector offering all day breakfast.
The Twilight Years of Soda are Upon Us. And That’s Not a Bad Thing.
It’s no surprise that global soda consumption is down – way down, in fact. It’s a trend that’s been going on for quite a few years now. But one drink segment that has managed to avoid this trend is that of premium beverages that are typically made in-house. We’re talking about drinks that include iced teas, bubble teas, cold-pressed juices, lemonades and smoothies.
These types of beverages have seen double-digit growth over the past year and have seen amazing growth (approaching 50%) in the past five years.
If you think brand loyalty is a thing of the past, think again. We hear talk of patrons going from brand-to-brand-to-brand and we just assume that it's because loyalty has jumped the shark when, in fact, the opposite is true. People leave brands because brands aren't giving them a good enough reason to stay. And in no place is those more true than in the quick-serve, fast-casual restaurant space.
So is there anything a QSR in today's market can do to lower the likelihood of a patron exodus in search of a brand that better-suits their needs? You bet. And we'll sum it up here in two words:
When people talk about restaurant and dining trends, they typically go right for the plate - meaning they talk about new foods, new ingredients, new food sources and the like. But restaurant trends these days go far beyond the plate - off the menu and into other areas you’d likely not think of right away.
So let’s jump into some 2017 trends that we see happening around the world and see if you saw them coming.